The battle of nature vs. nurture continues to impact lives. More than whom we wish to be, we are shaped by our environments and a string of situations. Therefore, it is important that children are brought up in healthy surroundings; not just a stable household, but a country with protective measures for sustainable development. Every country in the world offers some positive aspects that cater to specific people. But is there any one country that has an overall umbrella of benefits for children?
Starting with low infant mortality rates, Japan is one of the best countries in terms of low infant deaths. About 2.4% of 1000 infants die annually, which is a lot less compared to the astonishing figures of several other regions. This shows that Japan has a better level of health administration. In the sense that, their health care facilities and policies concerning child rearing are much more advanced.
While Asian education systems are generalized for their competitiveness and pressure to perform well, they contribute a great deal towards making children more independent and all rounded. Online reports depict a competition between South Korea and Japan in terms of best education. With Japan holding the 2nd position, it is safe to deduce that children brought up in Japan have proper access to education. They are culturally ingrained to be accountable and responsible towards their academics, setting reasonable goals and working hard to attain those. The Japanese education system contains unique methods and practices that make the children sharper and smarter. They encourage good peer rapport and believe that if you teach what you learn, you are more likely to retain a majority of your acquired knowledge.
Concerning their group oriented approach, a study elaborates that “…a spreading tendency among youth to neglect society. This tendency is not totally unrelated with young people’s declining association with society. It can be traced partially to a social trend placing too much emphasis on individual freedom and rights…. This phenomenon of the thinning socialization of children is thought to be leading to a decline in young people’s sense of respect for rules and models and further aggravating their tendency to neglect society or recede into a “world of solitude”. (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, 2002) From the aforementioned quote, we can ideate that the Japanese values of collective belonging help children in being attuned to the bigger picture.
Japan ranks in the top 10 countries with best Global Peace Index. Their quality of life and safety factors indicate that the Japanese society is a relatively peaceful one, devoid of a lot of violence and external agitation. The standard of life in Japan is said to be good. Japan has a literacy rate of 99% drawing from the fact that children in their primary years are enrolled in compulsory classes. A non-governmental organization called Save the Children released a report in 2012 that analysed the best countries for children on the basis of three aspects – nutrition, education and health. Japan ranked at the top of the list with a score of 0.35, where lowest score meant that the country was extremely child-friendly.
Japan’s rapidly increasing progress provides great future prospects for the children, such as access to better medicine, technology, beneficial policies etc. The dietary intake in Japan helps reduce or minimise the chances of several chronic diseases. Children are less prone to becoming obese by following a nutritious Japanese diet which consists of several sources of vitamins, proteins, minerals and such essentials. The life expectancy is high and their culture encourages collectivism, both of which are integral to children being brought up in a healthy manner. While collectivism instils the values and morals of responsibility and familial togetherness in the children, it is also important that they build their own sense of self. So Japan is beneficial for children up till a certain age. The climate in Japan is moderate, which means that children can adapt to the weather.
Many sports like Soccer, Baseball and Gymnastics are very popular in Japan. Children have the scope of getting into one of these arenas from an early age because of the extent of its importance. Lastly, there are tons of recreational amenities for kids in Japan, which would enable them to have a memorable childhood. The famed Hello Kitty, Nintendo, Samurai culture have all originated from here. It is also the home of anime – a form of cartoon that makes use of exaggerated expressions to heighten its appeal. With ample gardens, showrooms, museums, zoos, amusement parks and other discovery centres, Japan is a dream for children who are innately inquisitive and enjoy learning new things.
There may be many other regions that provide good environments for children, but Japan seems to be offering a lot more benefits, in terms of education, health and entertainment. Children would surely have a gala time during their stay in Japan.