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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 November 2006, 10:45 GMT
Japan hospital plans 'baby hatch'
A Japanese hospital plans to set up a "baby hatch" allowing mothers to anonymously drop off their newborns so they can be put up for adoption.

The drop-off at Jikei Hospital in southern Japan will consist of a small window in an outside wall, which opens on to an incubator bed, officials say.

Once a baby has been placed inside, an alarm bell will alert staff.

Hospital director Taiji Hasuda told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper he hoped it would lead to a reduction in abortions.

The newspaper said Jikei hospital, in Kumamoto state, had decided to set up the programme after learning of similar ones in Germany.

The "baby hatch" could be up and running by the end of the year if it wins local approval. "By installing the hatch, we want to rescue both parents and babies," a hospital official was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

"Maybe there are some people who are suspicious about it, but we should not pretend not to see them and let them die. Babies are innocent."

Abortion rates are relatively high in Japan, while adoptions have traditionally been rare.

Country profile: Japan
26 Sep 06 |  Country profiles

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