CNN Cries for Japanese Recession 'Orphans'

December 15th, 2008 5:36 PM

Orphan. The very word conjures images of dirty and destitute children living on the streets Oliver Twist-style, or in the abusive hands of Miss Hannigan in "Annie."

It certainly doesn't bring to mind a cute, clean toddler whose mother stays at home with her while her father works.

Yet that is exactly what CNN "Newsroom" meant on Dec. 15 as "Recession ‘Orphans'" was plastered to the screen.

"In these uncertain times many people with jobs are working longer hours hoping to stay employed a bit longer. And that leaves little time for little ones," Kyra Phillips said to introduce Kyung Lah's report on the Takayama family in Tokyo.

Yoshinori Takayama is a computer engineer working 12 - 14-hour days to make sure he retains his job. His wife Tomomi "doesn't work so she can raise her daughter full time."

While it is unfortunate that Mr. Takayama cannot spend more time with his daughter, Lah's report lacked perspective. The CNN reporter highlighted statistics from the Japanese government that said 30 percent of fathers are home after 9 p.m. and 25 percent of father never see children awake (during the work week.) But that means that a majority of fathers are home before 9 p.m. (70 percent) and see their children awake (75 percent). Not exactly the crisis portended by the "recession ‘orphans'" headline.

Lah did at least admit that "getting fired" was the real "nightmare" possibility, and was worse than missing out on quality time with kids.