Japan’s First Community-Supported Children’s Hospice to be Built in Osaka

The Nippon Foundation, together with the Children’s Hospice Project (CHP) and UNIQLO Co., Ltd., will build TSURUMI Children’s Hospice for seriously ill children, in Tsurumi Ryokuchi Flower Expo Memorial Park in Tsurumi Ward, Osaka. The facility is being established as a private foundation and corporate partnership, and will be Japan’s first community-supported hospice for children, operated by local volunteer medical practitioners, school teachers, and nursery staff. Construction is set to begin in mid-March, with completion and the commencement of operations scheduled for December 2015.

The world’s first children’s hospice, Helen & Douglas House, opened in Oxford, UK, in 1982, and similar facilities have been established around the world since then. Unlike hospices for adults, which mainly provide palliative care to patients with diseases like late-stage terminal cancer, children’s hospices also support the continued growth of seriously ill children, and respite care to reduce the burden of caregiving on the child’s family. TSURUMI Children’s Hospice will also play a central role in the community, with sections open to the public to allow patients to play with local children, and to serve as a meeting place where the children’s families can interact with the local community.

The two-story facility will have total floor space of 979 square meters built on a 2,000 square meter site, and will offer playrooms, living areas, kitchens, and accommodations, with open spaces to give the children and their families a feeling of living at home. The children will be visited and looked after by volunteers including doctors, nurses, teachers, and nursery staff, who will support the children’s growth with a variety of opportunities for learning and play. Services will also be available for parents, who are under 24-hour stress as caregivers, and siblings, who are bound to experience loneliness. The facility will be free to use, with the costs of operations to be covered by corporate and individual donations.

There are approximately 200,000 children in Japan aged 15 or under who have critical diseases like cerebral palsy or childhood cancer. Medical advances are saving many lives, but this also means that the number of children with illnesses that require intensive medical treatment is growing every year, and an increasing burden is being placed on families by the home nursing care these children need after leaving the hospital.

CHP applied to UNIQLO’s Clothes for Smiles project, which solicits ideas from around the world to support the dreams and aspirations of children, in 2012 with a proposal to support these children and their families by establishing a facility in Japan modeled on the Helen & Douglas House. Of the more than 700 proposals submitted, CHP’s was one of eight selected. An agreement was reached between UNIQLO and the Nippon Foundation, which had already been supporting CHP, to jointly fund the building and operation of the facility, and in 2014 the City of Osaka selected CHP’s proposal for construction on an available plot of land in Tsurumi Ryokuchi Flower Expo Memorial Park.

Facility Overview

Supporters The Nippon Foundation, UNIQLO Co., Ltd.
Address 707, Hama 1-chome, Tsurumi-ku, Osaka
Site area 2,000 m2
Building area 640.57 m2 (ground floor)
Total floor space 979.11 m2(1F: 589.94 m2; 2F: 389.17 m2
Construction Wooden
Floors 2 Floors total (both above ground)
Design Taisei Corporation architectural office
Construction Taisei Corporation
Construction commencement March 2015
Construction completion December 2015 (scheduled)


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