Children of celebrities also attend… “Attempted suicide of a daycare worker” and “allegations of cover-up of abuse” at a celebrity daycare center in Motoazabu, Minato-ku. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Children of celebrities also attend… “Attempted suicide of a daycare worker” and “allegations of cover-up of abuse” at a celebrity daycare center in Motoazabu, Minato-ku.

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Prime Minister Kishida and Chairman Okamoto breaking the sake barrel at the Tums Group’s 30th anniversary party held at a hotel in Tokyo on March 4, 2011 (photo: from a desk calendar distributed to Tums Group employees).

The photo above shows a party for a medical corporation held at a hotel in Tokyo on March 4, 2011. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (66) is on the stage holding a mirror, and on the right is Kazuhisa Okamoto (60), chairman of the board of directors of Kiriwakai Universal Medical Service (hereinafter referred to as “Tums Group”). He is the head of the Tums Group, which unites about 70 facilities, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and nursery schools. At a party held to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the group, he invited Prime Minister Kishida, an alumnus of Kaisei High School, who also delivered a speech.

The Motoazabu Nursery School in Minato Ward, Tokyo, operated by the social welfare corporation Haruwakai, which is part of the Tamms Group, celebrated its graduation on March 23. After that, however, an unusual message regarding the resignation of a staff member was sent to parents under the name of the preschool’s director. A parent of a child who attends the school revealed, “The message was sent to the parents of 12 children, including the three vice preschool directors.

The message stated that 12 nursery school employees, including the three deputy directors, would be leaving the school, and reassured the parents that the school would create an environment in which nursery school employees could work comfortably. More specifically, I heard that more than 20 childcare workers have quit every year for the past three years since the daycare center was established in 2008. I am sure each of them has their own reasons, but it seems like too many.

According to the “Designated Management Facility Evaluation Sheet” published by Minato Ward, Motoazabu Nursery has 80 employees. The number of retirements was 25 in ′20 and ′21, and 20 in ′22. Including the 12 childcare workers who resigned in the previous year, a total of 82 people have resigned.

Motoazabu Nursery School accepts children from 0 to 5 years old. It is the first nursery school in Tokyo’s 23 wards to offer classes for “children with medical care” and “children with disabilities. In order to meet the diversifying needs of ward residents, Minato Ward decided to utilize the know-how and ideas of private businesses, and in 2006 publicly solicited corporations to operate the nursery as a “designated manager. From among several candidates, the Tamms Group’s social welfare corporation Haruwakai was selected as the designated manager for a period of approximately 10 years, until the end of March 2009. A person involved with a nursery school in Minato Ward revealed, “Haruwakai is a medical corporation group.

Haruwakai is under the umbrella of a medical corporation group, and I believe that Minato Ward, which wanted to open classes for “children with medical care” and “children with disabilities” in its nursery schools, chose Haruwakai as the designated manager because it operates a hospital, and the smooth transfer of doctors, nurses, and childcare workers from facilities under its umbrella would be an advantage.

Motoazabu Nursery School is located in a quiet residential area with foreign embassies and other facilities nearby, and is an unprecedented two-story building with a site area of nearly 3,000 m2. The land and building together cost nearly 5.5 billion yen. Since the area is populated by families with sufficient income, it seems that in the past the school has been attended by actress A, who has appeared in an NHK drama series and is currently appearing in commercials; veteran actor B, whose family has been known for two generations; and the son of musician C, who once sang the theme song for a drama series.”

Why was it that so many childcare workers were retiring from the school in spite of its favorable location and support from Minato Ward?

After graduating from Kaisei High School, Chancellor Okamoto went on to graduate from the Faculty of Medicine at Chiba University, and was originally a radiologist. A nurse who has worked at one of the Kiriwakai hospitals revealed, “When Chancellor Okamoto was a young man, he was a patient at my hospital.

When Chancellor Okamoto was young, one of his patients had dementia, and when I heard that he had been hospitalized, I went to check on him and found that he had been placed in a closed ward of the psychiatric department. At that time, there were patients who were refused hospitalization or not seen simply because they had dementia. He had doubts about this and decided that he wanted to create a group or facility that could take care of people throughout their lives, from birth to death.

This ideal motivated him to create various facilities, from hospitals to rehabilitation facilities and nurseries. In ´93, he opened a clinic in Shinozaki, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo. In ´06, he created a hospital specializing in dementia in Kawaguchi, Saitama. To date, the company has expanded its business to about 70 facilities with approximately 6,000 employees, but the on-site staff became exhausted as the next new business venture was launched before the newly launched medical facilities got off the ground.

The chairman of the board of directors is a man who is obsessed with numbers. For example, if there are 80 beds in a ward, if 50 beds are not filled, there are strict demands on the frontline. We even joked among ourselves that the patients’ faces looked like the “¥” symbol.

It is said to cover an area of approximately 3,000 m2 and cost nearly 5.5 billion yen for the land and building.

Motoazabu Nursery School, which opened in ’19, attracted attention when “children with medical care” and “children with disabilities” were opened in the school, and many people from all over Japan came to inspect the facility. President Okamoto also came to see how things were going with gifts for the staff when the preschool first opened, but as there were numerous other facilities, he gradually lost his footing, and it seems that he was no longer able to keep a watchful eye on things. A childcare worker who had worked at the former Azabu Nursery School revealed.

“More and more day-care workers could not communicate well with the director. The director is very strict with the staff, telling them to send in reports immediately if there is an accident, but if something is inconvenient for him, he tries to cover it up.

 One childcare worker who could not communicate with the director was so tired of his coercive “recommendation to resign” that he attempted to take his own life. There was another employee who attempted suicide. Fortunately, they did not die, which is a relief, but it is a big deal in normal circumstances.

 The Minato Ward has been aware of the various problems since the opening of the school, and based on information received privately, the Minato Ward has instructed the corporation and requested that the director be replaced, but the corporation seems to be hostile to the Minato Ward, and as a result, the director has not been replaced and the school has been able to continue without any change.

At the end of September last year, a girl in the 3-year-old class suffered a large wound on the back of her left shoulder, and the girl’s mother asked the day-care center the next morning for an explanation of what had happened. One of the nursery staff at Motoazabu Nursery School revealed, “We received a complaint from the mother.

One of the nursery school nurses at Motoazabu Nursery revealed, “After receiving a complaint from the mother, there was a hearing at the nursery school for the nursery school staff. When the girl didn’t listen to our warnings, the nursery teacher tried to pull her arm, and her hand accidentally caught the back of the girl’s left shoulder, causing the nail to hit the back of the girl’s shoulder.

The wound was not simply a scratch caused by a childcare worker’s hand; the area behind the girl’s left shoulder became a purple bruise that did not disappear even after a few days. A nursery school teacher at a daycare center in Tokyo explained, “A three-year-old is old enough to talk and understand.

A nursery school teacher working at a day-care center in Tokyo explained, “A three-year-old is old enough to talk and understand, so when a child tries to pull your arm, it is considered inappropriate childcare. Depending on the severity of the damage inflicted on the child, it could be called abuse.

In addition to the fact that the girl was injured, the subsequent response of the headmaster was also problematic. A person involved with the nursery school who knows what happened reveals, “The rules of a nursery school in Minato Ward are very strict.

According to the rules of day-care centers in Minato Ward, when there is an incident like this, no matter how small, it must be written down in the work diary and reported to the Minato Ward the following month. The director also told me to report any accidents immediately, so I reported verbally to the director immediately what had happened after hearing about it from both the nursery staff and the girl, but it was not written down (in the logbook).

The director did not write it down, saying, ‘It’s OK because the accident report has not come back from the 3-year-old’s homeroom teacher,’ even though the other nursery school teachers who had noticed it asked him, ‘Is it OK if I don’t write it down? The director would immediately report any inappropriate behavior toward the child by the parents to the Child and Family Support Center, but if a child care worker, one of his “subordinates,” injured the child, he would suddenly slow down. It is no wonder that he was accused of trying to cover up the situation…”

An actual case of trauma caused by abuse. (Excerpted from “A Guide to Initial Response to Child Abuse for Multidisciplinary Professionals Involved with Children” (Japan Children’s Health Association). It has nothing to do with this article.)

Since the above occurred at the end of September last year, the Motoazabu Nursery School should have reported the incident to Minato Ward by the end of October of the same year. However, the day-care center was reluctant to give a report on this matter. Then, Minato Ward, which had obtained the information through another route, visited Motoazabu Nursery School about one month after the injury to the girl to confirm the facts. Another former nursery school teacher with knowledge of the situation revealed the following.

“Some Minato Ward officials came to me and asked, ‘Is there anything you are hiding?’ ” They said, “No. In the end, the director admitted that there was a reportable incident that had harmed a 3-year-old child, but that he had concealed it and failed to report it. The ward representative cautioned the director, “This is a ward day-care center, so please don’t keep it to yourself and consult with us if you have any doubts. That is the worst thing you can do.

Finally, Motoazabu Nursery School reported the incident to the Minato Ward on November 30.

Why did Motoazabu Nursery try to conceal the situation to the extent that the ward suspected a “cover-up”? What did they think of the nursery environment, where a large number of nursery workers quit every year and even attempted suicide? Why is Haruwakai, the operator of Motoazabu Nursery School, unable to improve the guidance to the director or replace him?

Motoazabu Nursery School, in response to repeated contacts from FRIDAY Digital, has always responded, “I will have the person in charge call you back,” or “I cannot answer your questions because I am not the head office. The person in charge never contacted us, and did not even attempt to accept the questionnaire we had prepared.

The Childcare Business Department of the Tamms Group of Haruwakai, which operates the daycare center, gave no clear answer , saying, “We are in discussions with the Minato Ward, and it is difficult to give a response (by the deadline), including whether or not we will respond to your questions.

What does Minato Ward, which selected Haruwakai as the designated manager, think about this?

We take this situation very seriously, with a large number of retirements occurring since fiscal year Reiwa 2020, and based on the retirement situation at the end of the same fiscal year, we are discussing ways to secure personnel for the designated manager and to improve operations. Since April Reiwa 2022, the ward staff has been providing guidance and advice, and since August of the same year, we have been dispatching specialized advisors on childcare who have expertise in areas such as children’s rights. In April last year, the “Minato City Childcare Quality Improvement Committee,” consisting of three academic experts and ward employees, was established to promote efforts to improve the quality of childcare services at childcare facilities in the ward.

Minato Ward is working to improve the quality of the childcare environment by inviting outside experts as well as ward employees, but as for the possibility of changing the director or other personnel matters, “The designated manager will take the lead in the management and operation of the facility, and the decision to change the director will be left to the designated manager,” he said, indicating a stance of leaving the matter to Motoazabu Nursery. The designated manager will take the initiative in the management and operation of the facility.

However, according to the “Annual Agreement for the Management and Operation of Minato Motoazabu Nursery School” (for the fiscal year 2022), a total of 38,273,735,730 yen will be paid as the designated management fee for the year starting April 1, 2010. This is all tax money collected from ward residents. As it stands, it is no wonder that the current situation has drawn the ire of the ward residents. Now that Motoazabu Nursery School and its operator, Haruwakai, are not sincerely trying to address the problems that occurred, unless Minato Ward intervenes in some way to improve the situation, the tragedy of the mass retirement of nursery school workers and the cover-up of child abuse will repeat itself.

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An actual case of trauma caused by abuse. The scar was made when an electric cord was looped and whipped. (Excerpted from “A Guide to Initial Response to Child Abuse for Multidisciplinary Professionals Involved with Children” (Japan Children’s Health Association). It has nothing to do with this article.)
Exterior view of Motoazabu Nursery School
  • PHOTO Excerpts from "Child Abuse Initial Response Guide for Multidisciplinary Professionals Involved with Children" (Japan Children's Health Association) (3rd and 4th pages)

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