25 babies left at 'unwanted baby' hatch in Japan
A total of 25 babies were left at a "baby hatch" for "unwanted" newborns inside a hospital in Japan's Kumamoto in 2008, up from 17 in the facility's inaugural year 2007, officials said on Monday.
The latest figure brings the total number of babies and infants left at the baby hatch in the Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto to 42 since the start of its operation in May 2007.
None of the cases developed into criminal issues, such as child abuse, they said.
The hospital set up the hatch, called "konotori no yurikago" (stork cradle), after studying the system in Germany. The hatch is designed to enable parents who cannot raise children because of economic or other reasons to leave babies anonymously.
It is equipped with an incubator and is designed to alert hospital staff when opened.
While the baby hatch is serving as an emergency shelter, the rising figure highlights that the situation surrounding pregnancy and childbirth remains difficult in Japan, they said.
After they are confirmed as being in good health, the infants would be raised at foster homes.