A former official at the Tokyo metropolitan government plans to run throughout the nation to call for the prevention of child abuse.
Yukio Inoue, 61, of Ome, western Tokyo, will start the run from Yokohama in October, and plans to cover about 10,000 kilometers over about one year.
"I hope to make the run an opportunity for people to join hands for children's sake," he said.
Inoue started track and field when he was a middle school student and continued through university.
He joined the metropolitan government in 1981.
Inoue worked for a total of 28 years at facilities that help young people become self-reliant and child consultation centers, where he saw many children facing hardships.
A female student who had stolen was raised in a single-mother household, and she was left unattended at night by her working mother.
A boy who physically assaulted other children at a facility said to Inoue, "I was beaten regularly too while I was growing up."
"Child neglect and child abuse are underlying causes of juvenile delinquency," Inoue said.
Children subject to abuse are temporarily taken into protective custody and separated from their abusive parents, but that alone does not solve the problem.
"Municipalities, relevant school officials, area residents and others need to cooperate with each other to support such children and their parents," Inoue said.
He wondered how could he raise awareness about child abuse in various communities.
Then seven years ago, he took part in a relay race aimed at raising awareness for child abuse.
After the event, Inoue started dreaming of running all throughout Japan to call for children's protection.
His plan started taking shape after he retired from work.
In the evening of Oct. 26, he will set off from Yamashita Park in Yokohama and run through Tokyo and 46 prefectures.
Inoue also plans to visit child welfare facilities along the way.
"By interacting with many people, I think I'll be able to win wider support," Inoue said with a smile.
Inoue is looking for people to run part of the route with him to support his message, and people to help transport his luggage to the places he will stay.