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Risk is big in Japan when you’re young, but forget it when ...

World

Risk is big in Japan when you’re young, but forget it when you’re older

In a country that subscribes to children standing on their own two feet, its adults are surprisingly conservative

Gearoid Reidy

Japan has been a little bemused to find a long-running family-favourite TV show, Hajimete no Otsukai (My First Errand), has suddenly achieved international fame on Netflix as Old Enough. 

The programme, which features preschoolers running errands by themselves, has triggered worldwide debate about parenting standards. One article in the UK blasted the reality show as “bizarre”, quoting a child psychologist who described it as “exploitative and dangerous”. The US’s National Public Radio (NPR) felt compelled to warn parents not to let their offspring emulate children on the show lest they run foul of local laws. 

The Japanese are tickled that the heavily scripted show, which has aired in the country for three decades, is seen as “dangerous”. After all, this is a country where children frequently ride trains solo to get to primary school, squeezing in among business people at rush hour. ..

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