Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Foundling

~from Canadian Press

A toddler was found in an anonymous drop box for unwanted children set up by a Roman Catholic hospital in southern Japan, news reports said Tuesday.

The boy, believed to be three or four years old, was found Thursday - the day the Jikei Hospital opened the baby drop-off in the southern city Kumamoto to discourage abortions and the abandonment of children in unsafe public places.

The hospital notified local authorities about the boy, who appeared to be in good health, Kyodo News agency reported, citing unnamed officials. The boy said his father took him to the hospital. Public broadcaster NHK carried a similar report.

A small hatch on the side of the hospital has been set up to allow people to drop off babies into an incubator 24 hours a day.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki told a regular news conference he could not confirm the reports but he said abandoning a child is not acceptable.

"Parents have the obligation to raise their children. We find this extremely regrettable," he said.

Officials at the hospital were not immediately available for comment.

The drop box, called "Stork's Cradle," was created after a series of high-profile cases in which newborn babies were left behind in parks and supermarkets.

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