Harley-Davidson motorcyclists dressed as Santa Clauses took to the streets in central Tokyo today as part of their annual anti-child abuse parade, noting that more children were vulnerable in 2020 due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
This parade is a worldwide tradition at Christmas time. In Tokyo, the event is hosted by members of the Harley Santa Club, founded in 2008.
As the participants pointed out, this year's parade is more important, because more children were vulnerable to domestic violence due to the new coronavirus crisis.
"Especially because of the new coronavirus pandemic this year, I think there are a lot of cases of child abuse that have not come to light," said Takashi Mine, the event's co-ordinator.
"It is very possible now that parents are venting the stress they feel on their children, having lost their jobs, so I think, especially during the pandemic, we should have done this parade," he said.
The number of child abuse cases in Japan per month increased by up to 20% in January-March compared to last year, as more families stayed at home due to the pandemic, writes the newspaper Asahi Shimbun.
Usually, hundreds of motorcyclists take part in the parade, however, this year, due to Covid-19, about 100 were present.
However, the excitement was not lacking, with motorcyclists planning to visit four children's hostels in Tokyo to offer toys and sweets to 400 children.