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"Baby hatch" highlights Japan fears over adoption

"Baby hatch" highlights Japan fears over adoption
Sun Jul 8, 2007 11:09pm EDT
By Isabel Reynolds

TOKYO (Reuters) - When a newborn baby girl was left in Japan's controversial "baby hatch" last week, the child's life may have been saved, but her chances of finding new parents were slim due to a cultural aversion to adoption in Japan.

The baby is one of four tots -- one of them three-years-old -- so far left at the "stork's cradle" baby hatch at the Catholic-run Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto, southern Japan.

A small door in the outside wall of the hospital opens to reveal a tiny bed inside, allowing parents to leave their child safely and anonymously. Once they do, an alarm goes off to alert hospital staff to the new arrival.

Similar facilities exist in Germany, where babies are offered for adoption after an eight week period during which birth parents can change their minds....