Jun Tachibana, who has led the Tokyo-based nonprofit group Bond Project for over ten years, has talked with thousands of girls and young women in Japan about their problems, reports Takehiko Kambayashi.
Tachibana started her career as a writer for media outlets before launching a free paper called Voices, which, says Kambayashi, is geared toward vulnerable, troubled girls. In response to increasing calls and emails from girls and young women asking for help, Tachibana founded the Bond Project in 2009.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he wants to “create a society in which all women shine.”
Girls and women in trouble are “invisible” to many, Chieko Watanabe, president of the organic cotton business Avanti in Tokyo and a longtime supporter of the Bond Project, told CSM. “But their circumstances mirror the problems of society and cannot be ignored.”
Many of these women are dealing with complex issues such as poverty, drug addiction, abuse and unwanted pregnancies—problems that are not often discussed in male-dominated Japan. Via hotlines, consultation over the internet, and a counseling room, Tachibana and others provide critical “listening” as well as practical support by connecting those in need with other services, including those offered by government agencies and hospitals.