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Tuesday, July 13, 2004

LIFELINES

Adoption and no-charge credit cards


Adopting

Dave and his Japanese wife want to adopt a baby.

"Actually, I'm keen, my wife less so but willing to think about it. Where should we start?" he asks.

Japanese do not as a rule adopt outside their bloodline. Inside families it is a different matter, and tots are sometimes passed around between relatives with little consideration for children's rights.

Also, it is fairly common practice to adopt an elder daughter's husband in the event that there is no son to inherit, so that he may take over familial responsibilities on the death of his father-in-law.

Japanese orphanages are full of children, but again there is a tendency for parents to leave them there, refusing to allow adoption, and then collecting them at 16 so that they can go to work and bring in income.

Again, parents' rights are uppermost; sad to say children are largely still regarded as property, insurance for the future.

Though Dave is in Kansai, he may like to contact Adoptive Families of Tokyo by e-mail at adoptivefamiliestokyo@hotmailcom.

Also he can check out Kansai Time Out; this monthly magazine may well list a similar group down your way that can offer some assistance.

AFT is a non-profit organization which meets with speakers every third Monday at St Albans Church in Roppongi, from 7.30-9 p.m. Members meet from September through May, and break for the summer, so sadly Dave will have to wait a few months before he can make contact and ask for advice on where to start.

For those in the Kanto area, meetings are held in English, and most members are interested in adopting children from Japan or other countries. Several already have adopted children, and they share their stories, advice, etc. AFT also organizes social events.

Maybe Dave and his wife can use the time until the next meeting to do some local research to share with us to help other readers down south.

AFT says many adults think about adopting while they are here, so you are not alone.

Free credit cards

Regarding the question in Lifelines of June 22 on no-charge credit cards, Michael writes: I don't know about bank options, but since I came to Japan 9.5 years ago I have had and used a Saison Card International VISA which has no fee.

I essentially use it like a charge card, with the monthly balance coming out of my Citibank account the month after I get the bill.

This option was recommended to me by a Japanese friend before I came to Japan, and I think I got the application form at a Seibu (or related) store.

The card and bills actually come from Credit Saison, and they do have a points system for small gifts (though I have never gone to the trouble each year of trying to redeem mine).

The bills and information are all in Japanese, but it is convenient, especially when I purchase things abroad and want to have a yen rate for expense accounts here.

Send your queries, questions, problems and posers to: lifelines@japantimes.co.jp


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