Japan is one of the safest places in the world, according to crime prevention statistics. There is less crime in Japan than almost anywhere else where statistics are not lies. The secret is a combination of ubiquitous police and popular high morals.
Even if you include active volcanoes, the risk of tsunamis, tornadoes (yes, Japan does have them), frequent heavy rain and thunderstorms, Japan is a safe place. And it has a well functioning welfare system, which even if stingy makes sure that children do not have to go without food and clothes. Where we live, the city pays the hospital bills for children.
Money is not usually the main objection in Japanese society, though. This is the third richest country in the world (assuming China is not fiddling with the statistics). But wealth is more evenly distributed than in China, perhaps even than in the US.
The general attitude towards children is a bigger problem. There have been isolated instances of violence towards children by people who are angry at them being noisy. Children will not be quiet and sit in a corner unless they are sick or mentally if not physically beaten into submission, but that is how they should be according to many (elderly) Japanese. Children screaming loudly in trains and restaurants will be given the same welcome as children screaming on airplanes.
That Japanese, outside the immediate family circle, are giving children the cold shoulder is one reason that Japan has so few children. Contrast that with two very different places with very different attitudes to children, which we also have some experience from: Honolulu and Bangkok.
It was a complete surprise to find food banks adverising the need of children to get a decent evening meal. According to the food bank advertisements, one in four children in Hawaii have to go to bed hungry.
If that is not disgraceful in the richest country in the world, it is doubly disgraceful in a culture which prides itself on how it values the Ohana - the family. How can you even imagine letting your child starve, or even the child of your neighbor?
I am Wisterian Watertree, recently moved from Bangkok to Tokyo, with a brief visit to Honolulu on the way. I write about travel, especially with our three beautiful kids (two girls and one boy, soon turning four and a half - yes. they are triplets). Travel is education and fun rolled into one, and if you are like me, that is something you want to give to your kids. If you want more tips and want to find out when I will publish something, get it from my email list. If you want to be personal, drop me a note on firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you want general tips, follow me on Twitter @wisterianw.