The humankind made clear in the “Declaration of the Rights of the Child” and the “Convention on the Rights of the Child” adopted in 1959 and 1989 respectively at the United Nations General Assembly that children have the rights to enjoy special protection in family and society.
In our country, the Party and the state consistently assume full responsibilities for upbringing, education and even future of the children since their birth, in the midst of the increasing sanctions and the isolating and stifling maneuvers by the hostile forces.
All children are taken care of in the nurseries and kindergartens at the expense of the state and society as a result of the adoption in 1976 of Law on the Nursing and Upbringing of Children. And all schoolchildren are benefiting from the 12-year compulsory and free education system to learn and bring their hopes and talents into full bloom without knowing any worries and discrimination.
All over the country covering even remote islands and mountain villages, modern facilities for care and education of children and palaces for schoolchildren – bases for extracurricular education – are built at the best places, and baby homes, orphanages, primary and secondary schools for orphans are splendidly built, all of which serve the needs of the children to grow up healthily and happily. These are the result of full embodiment of the noble policy of our Party for cherishing the new generation and the future.
Foreigners who have witnessed the reality of our country are unanimously saying in praise that the DPRK is really a children’s kingdom where the children are upheld as kings of the country; the DPRK’s system of child nursing and upbringing is a unique epitome; and it is the best of the best that is hardly possible to imitate.
It is now scores of years since the adoption of relevant international declarations and conventions. But, when it comes to Japan, a lot of children are falling victim to all forms of social evils such as poverty and maltreatment, yet the solution of child issues remains serious and distant.
According to a recent report by the Japanese press, the number of maltreated children in the country has increased by 8.9% to 106, 960 in 2020, as compared to the previous year.
It is no mere coincidence that in February 2019, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child urged the Japanese authorities to enforce relevant measures, expressing concerns over the alarming rate of maltreatment and other violence against children in Japan.
The state of children in Japan is so serious that an establishment of “Children’s Agency”, a consolidated organization under the direct state control, is on the agenda as a way out for preventing birth rate reduction and child maltreatment and lifting poverty and disparities in education.
Continuous cases of violence and abuse against children in families and schools, juvenile crime and suicide etc. as well as new coinages such as “child on the waiting list” and “suicide culture” speak to the reality of the Japanese society where children are withering away even before coming into bud.
Upbringing of new generation, a matter of having direct bearings on the national prospect, can be said to stand for a mirror reflecting the future of the society.
Our blessed children are growing up singing aloud “We are the Happiest in the World” under the protection of the state, which allows no shade in their faces, whereas the children in Japan are fading away in desperation and suffering, bereft of dreams and hopes. This is the stark reality which presents great contrast between the two societies to be seen through their children.
If Japanese plan for “Children’s Agency” ends simply by establishing an organization, the birth rate reduction and the widespread tragedies such as child abuse, violence and suicide will not subside to an indefinite time, but will remain as an institutional chronic disease.
Institute for Studies of Japan
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea