Japan's collective responsibility for its children's safety has allowed the kids to enjoy an extraordinary amount of independence.
The recent school shooting in Nashville, where a shooter killed three elementary school students and three teachers, has once again put the spotlight on the need for better safety measures for kids in the United States. Many parents are asking why more steps have not been taken to protect children, from improving gun control laws to providing better mental health support. One father, Timm Chiusano, recently posted a video on TikTok after returning from a vacation in Tokyo, Japan. There he witnessed firsthand how Japanese society takes responsibility for keeping children safe.
In his video, Chiusano describes his surprise when he saw a young child, who looked to be around six years old, get off the subway by herself. He soon realized that this was not an isolated incident; many young kids in Japan are encouraged to be independent at a very young age. Children as young as three or four are sent on errands. Also, elementary school children often walk to school without adults. Chiusano learned that this independence is possible because Japan has made a conscious decision as a society to take responsibility for the safety of its children.
“In Japan, the idea is that the children are the collective responsibility of society to keep safe. I’m going to repeat that: children in Japan have an extraordinary amount of independence because they have decided as a society it is their collective responsibility to keep their children safe,” Chiusano says in his video.
Also, Chiusano notes that Japan has strict gun control laws, where only the police and military can own handguns or rifles. Hunters and marksmen may own shotguns, but only under strict conditions. As a result, Japan had only nine reported gun deaths in 2018, compared to the United States, which had about 40,000. According to Scary Mommy, while some argue that Japanese culture is the reason for their low rates of gun violence, others point to their strict gun laws. Whatever the reason, it is clear that Japanese society is committed to protecting its children and this commitment has allowed kids to have more independence and freedom.
Chiusano’s video has sparked a conversation about what the United States can learn from Japan when it comes to keeping children safe. One of the key takeaways is that society as a whole needs to take responsibility for children’s safety. It means implementing policies and programs that prioritize children’s well-being and creating a culture that values children and their futures.
It is also important to note that gun control is a crucial part of this equation. The United States has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the world, which has contributed to its high rates of gun violence. As long as guns are easily accessible, it will be challenging to ensure the safety of children.
Ultimately, the key to keeping children safe is a multifaceted approach that includes gun control, mental health support, and a commitment from society to prioritize children’s well-being. By looking to countries like Japan, the United States can learn valuable lessons about creating a safer and more supportive environment for children.