Japan: The Aftermath of Japan’s Ratification of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction:

An Investigation into the State Apparatus of the Modern Japanese Family The Aftermath of Japan’s Ratification of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction: An Investigation into the State Apparatus of the Modern Japanese Family



Author: Takeshi Hamano, University of Kitakyushu, Japan
Published: August 4, 2017
Citation: Hamano, T. (2017). The Aftermath of Japan’s Ratification of the Hague Convention on Child Abduction: An Investigation into the State Apparatus of the Modern Japanese Family. IAFOR Journal of Asian Studies, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijas.3.1.03


The aim of this paper is to discuss the ways in which a recent international dispute has evoked an inquiry about the family ideology of modern Japan. Initially, it explains a recent issue on Japan’s ratification to the Hague Convention on child abduction. In April 2014, the Japanese government finally ratified the Hague Convention on child abduction, an international Convention to resolve disputes on international parental child abduction. However, skepticism toward Japan still remains, because, in order to put the international Convention into practice, Japan has not proceed to radical family law reform at this stage. To recognize this incongruent situation, this paper explains that the present Japanese family law is incompatible with the principle of this international Convention. Although the Convention premises shared parenting in the grant of joint child custody even after divorce, Japanese family law keeps the solo-custody approach, which is necessarily preserved in order to maintain Japan’s unique family registration system: the koseki system. Arguing that the koseki system, registering all nationals by family unit, is an ideological state apparatus of Japan as a modern nation state since the nineteenth century, this paper concludes that recent international disputes regarding parental child abduction in Japan inquires about a radical question on national family norm of Japan.


If you have any questions or concerns regarding a child abducted to or from Japan please feel free to contact us 24 / 7.  We are always available at contact@abpworld.com or by calling our offices – +1 (805) CHILD-11 (+18052445311)

Mothers in Hague plea – Call to govt not to sign child abduction convention

August 22, 2016

Source: telegraphindia.com

A group of women who fled abusive spouses abroad with their kids have appealed to the government to not sign the Hague Convention on child abduction, which will force them to return.


It was in 1983 that The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction came into force, ensuring that any child wrongfully removed from the place of habitual residence is returned.

India has yet to sign the convention despite pressure from the US and UK where a large number of Indians migrate to. But the women and child development ministry has, for the first time, proposed a legislation to clear the decks for the government to sign on the dotted line.

This would mean that if India were to receive a request from another country to return an “abducted” child, an Indian court would be urged to comply. This would be despite the fact that under Indian law, a child in the custody of either parent is seen to be in lawful custody and is not defined as an “abducted” child.

“Most of us are educated, working in mid to senior management level positions in the US when we had to leave with our children for India. We did so because we were married to abusive, alcoholic men and feared for our and our children’s lives.

“How can the government force my child to go back to such a man?” asked a young woman from Mumbai who recently returned from the US with her child and is now embroiled in a custody and divorce case.

The Telegraph spoke to many women who have returned with their children over the past few years but all refused to be identified with location and case history on the ground that their cases were sub-judice. They have written to women’s minister Maneka Gandhi and started a petition online.

“The repercussions for us will be grave if India signs this. We will lose our children because most of us have already lost custody cases abroad because we were absent during the proceedings,” said a mother who fled the US after she found her husband sexually abusing her daughter.

The mothers said they did not opt for custody battles in the US as under American law it was a rarity to grant sole custody to a parent. The courts generally granted shared parenting or visitation rights for a spouse, even if accused of domestic violence.

“In such cases where parenting rights are shared or when the abusive spouse has visitation rights, women are stuck in that country for their children. They are not allowed to take their kids out of the country and it becomes a very difficult situation,” said a woman, whose husband was granted custody of their child by a New York court in her absence.

Some women said they knew of cases where, despite multiple complaints against husbands to the authorities abroad, no action was taken.

Another mother of a toddler in Bangalore said she was fortunate to have survived domestic abuse in California. Her husband routinely choked and threatened her as she and her parents had refused dowry demands, she said.

Another young mother spoke of the psychological wounds inflicted on her and her child. Her spouse would lock her child in the car for half an hour on cold wintry nights as a punishment.

“The problem abroad is that if a woman reports a case of domestic violence multiple times, instead of taking action, they ask us to leave the house with the child and go to a shelter home, thus making the woman helpless.

“Other times, the child protective services would remove the child from the home. So, in most cases, women don’t even complain about domestic abuse,” said a woman, who had her child removed by the child protective services.

Also, under the Hague Convention, the burden of proof rests with the “abducting parent”, who is required to provide “clear and convincing evidence” of abuse of the child.

The Japanese government deliberated for years about signing the convention, and only did so with the caveat that children exposed to adult domestic violence would be considered at “grave risk” of harm in that country.

There are reports that international family lawyers in the US are planning to submit an appeal to amend the International Child Abduction Remedies Act to ensure that American law properly distinguishes between parental “abduction” and “flight to safety”.

Officials in Maneka’s ministry, which has put up the legislation for consultation, said talks would be held with these women and civil society groups before a decision is taken.

“We are in no hurry to sign the convention,” an official said.


Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

Testimonials from our clients

profile pic.jpgdroppedImage_7TM

download (2)

ABP World Group™ Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail ( contact@abpworld.com )

Skype: abpworld

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

Court orders Korean dad to return children to separated Japanese wife

February 15, 2016

Source: The Korea Herald

A Seoul lower court Monday ruled that children moved abroad without the consent of a parent holding custodial rights must be returned to the residence country if the couple remains separated. This marks the first case to follow the international convention on the abduction of children.


Seoul Family Court ruled in favor of a 39-year-old Korean-Japanese woman who filed a lawsuit against her Korean husband, who had taken their children to Seoul without her approval.

The international couple, married in 2005, has been separated since 2013. While they agreed that the wife would keep the parental rights in the divorce agreement, they did not complete the divorce process.

In July last year, the 41-year-old husband took the children to Seoul, saying he would like them to see their hospitalized grandfather. He promised to bring them back to Japan the following month.

The husband, however, severed contact with his wife and changed the residential address of the kids to Korea.

The court said the children must be returned to Japan according to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Child Abduction Recovery Services

Enacted in 1980, the Hague convention covers international parental child abduction. Its application can be made when a child is taken or retained across an international border, away from the habitual residence, without the consent of a parent with custody rights. The two countries of the parties must be members of the convention.

There are 93 country members of the agreement currently. Korea joined the agreement in 2012 and Japan in 2013.

“The wife seems to be the actual fosterer of the children, as she raised them in Japan. The husband broke the promise to bring their children back in August last year, breaching the wife’s custody rights. Therefore, the husband has the obligations to return the children to his wife,” the verdict said.

By Lee Hyun-jeong (rene@heraldcorp.com)

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

Testimonials from our clients

profile pic.jpgdroppedImage_7TM

download (2)

ABP World Group™ Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail 

Skype: abpworld

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

Inside the Movement to Keep Missing Kids Missing

February 13, 2016

Source: newsweek.com

Several hours after Newsweek published this article, the FBI announced that authorities had located Sage and Isaac Cook in the state of Sinaola, Mexico and that they had reunited with their father and returned to Washington state. Faye Ku has been deported to the United States and is scheduled to appear in court on February 16 on charges of international parental kidnapping, the FBI said.


Sage, left, and Isaac Cook, right, were missing from August 2015 to February 2016. Law enforcement and the boys’ father said it was possible their mother, Faye Ku, got help in abducting them.

After her sons didn’t return to their father after a visit with their mother last August, police discovered several typed letters while searching Faye Ku’s home. One, addressed to a friend and signed by Ku, said to cancel her phone plans and sell or get rid of her belongings, even the jewelry and cash. Another letter was addressed to her ex-husband, David Cook, the father of their boys, Sage and Isaac: “The children and I are safe among friends. Please do not send strangers who can only make life more dangerous for us.”

The FBI believes that Ku abducted the two boys when they visited her in Los Angeles. Their father, who lives near Seattle, had custody. With few traces to follow—Ku left behind her credit cards and driver’s license and her and the boys’ electronic devices—the FBI is picking apart her letters. Indicating the three of them are “among friends” suggests that Ku has help keeping herself and the boys underground, and law enforcement is focusing efforts on parts of the U.S. and abroad where she is believed to have connections.

The boys’ father says he thinks “some organization is helping her or just some individuals are helping her.”

“God only knows who she’s associating with,” says Helen Cook, the boys’ stepmother.

According to the United States Department of Justice, an estimated 203,900 children were abducted by family members in 1999, the most recent year for which estimates exist. That figure is three and a half times the amount of stranger abductions. In 21 percent of those family abduction cases, the child was gone for a month or longer. Only 28 percent of children were reported to law enforcement as missing.

“Oftentimes, I think people dismiss that as not a serious matter because children are with somebody who ostensibly loves them and cares about them,” Ayn Dietrich, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Seattle division, which is overseeing the Cook case, says about family abductions.

The number of family abductions in which an abductor has assistance is elusive, but if Ku does have help, it would place her within an underground movement that for decades has worked to keep missing kids missing.


The FBI believes that Faye Ku, left, abducted her sons Isaac, center, and Sage, right. Ku’s son Zephyr, by a different father, is also considered missing.

“Don’t look anything like yourself. We’ll meet you at the station. Leave everything behind that might remind you of your past life, including pictures and credit cards and your driver’s license. Forget who you are.”

The network that became known as Children of the Underground once gave these instructions to a runaway mother, People reported in 1989. Family abduction experts widely consider that group and its leader, Faye Yager, as the face of a movement that once helped men and women take their kids into hiding in order to escape partners they alleged were abusive, and whom the courts had granted custody.

Yager formally started helping parents in 1987; in 1992, she told The New York Times that she had helped hide some 2,000 families. Reports have described her network as “a vigilante labyrinth” of “homemakers, ministers and ordinary working people.” People magazine called it “the new underground railroad,” one that involved nervous pay-phone conversations, Greyhound buses, wigs and pillows stuffed under clothing. Runaways stole names from the birth certificates of deceased people. The network apparently consisted of at least 1,000 safe houses.

An underground had previously existed that helped parents and children go into hiding, but Yager turned it into a movement, says Amy Neustein, a sociologist who knew Yager and who is the co-author of From Madness to Mutiny: Why Mothers Are Running From the Family Courts—and What Can Be Done About It. “Faye’s role was to show that the system was so desperate, that it was failing so miserably, there was no choice other than to run,” Neustein says. “And Faye’s whole purpose was to publicize this.”

Neustein says the network consisted of people involved in domestic violence shelters, churches and women’s groups. Former nuns would often hide people, as would abuse survivors. “She scrutinized the women very carefully,” Neustein says of Yager’s potential runaways, to “see who had the mettle, the constitution to run.” Yager would only take cases that involved documented abuse, and she helped fathers run too.

Yager’s movement gained momentum at a time when the country was growing increasingly concerned with children and abuse: Congress enacted the Missing Children Act in 1982 and established the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 1984; in 1990, the government declared child abuse “a national emergency”; in 1994, Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act, which gave added protections to victims of domestic violence. In March 1984, Newsweek put child abduction on its cover, writing, “Kidnappings of children are distressingly easy to commit and notoriously difficult to solve.”

But by the turn of the millennium, Yager’s critics and lawsuits against her from left behind parents were piling up. Parents accused her of kidnapping, interfering with custody and coaching kids into alleging abuse. She once faced 60 years in prison on charges of kidnapping and cruelty to a child. Bipin Shah, a wealthy businessman, appeared on the cover of Time in 1999 when he sued Yager for $100 million for allegedly helping his ex-wife abscond with his daughters. Shah dropped the lawsuit when the girls were found, and soon afterward Yager stepped out of the spotlight. Like the parents she had helped, she seemed to simply disappear.

Yager, whom Time called “a legendary, sharp-tongued Atlanta belle on a holy crusade,” now runs a 14-room bed-and-breakfast with her husband in Brevard, North Carolina—population 7,600. A plaque on the 19th-century home, which contains claw-foot bathtubs and antiques, says it is on the National Register of Historic Places. She was first tracked down there last fall by Minnesota’s Star Tribune.

Now 68, Yager tells Newsweek that she only retired from the public eye, and that she and her network are just as busy as ever.

“My group still exists,” she says in her Southern drawl. “It’s much harder,” she adds, but she’ll still use phony documents and disguises if necessary. “You can still do it, you’ve just got to have a lot more—I don’t want to get into that too much. The FBI just seizes the moment with that, especially where I’m concerned.”

Despite being a media fixture decades ago, appearing in countless magazines and on television, Yager says she never sought the attention. “I felt like it cost me my ability to help these children in the way that I thought they really needed help.”

So now she keeps her work quiet. The number of people she’s “helped,” she says, is “probably over 7,000 now.”

“And when I say helped, I mean not every single family I’m involved with packs up a bag and runs,” she says. “I cherish the calls that I get when the woman calls me before she makes that decision.” Of those people, she estimates, “probably about 3,400 people went on the run.”

Though her phone no longer rings “off the hook” with calls for her assistance, as she says it once did, she still gets two or three “serious” calls per week. But the network is stronger than ever, with even more safe houses than the estimated 1,000 reported decades ago, she says.

“Listen, there’re so many people involved. I wouldn’t have any trouble hiding anybody. I could call up, I could send a family to any battered women’s shelter or anything in this country, and I assure you, they would disappear and families would hide them. It’s that easy. It’s very easy,” she says.


Newsweek ran a cover story about child abduction in 1984, at a time of heightened attention to the issue of child abuse in the United States.

The digital age has made it harder for parents and their kids to go underground, but technology also makes it easier to find support. Those willing to help are no longer confined to hushed conversations in church basements—they’re posting openly online.

Since Sage and Isaac Cook vanished, anti-family-court activists and “protective parents” have taken to the Internet to support Ku. One blogger praised her as a “folk heroine,” and others have posted words of support: “Stay hidden”; “Kick patriarchy in the ass”; “Run far and fast”; “If I see them, I will hide them”; “I will aid and abet if need be.”

Cindy Dumas, executive director of Safe Kids International and the Women’s Coalition, which she describes as social-media-based organizations that aim to alter the family court system, wrote “don’t turn this mom in” online about Ku’s case. In another post, she wrote: “If you see them do NOT contact authorities!…Good mothers are losing custody in epidemic numbers to controlling and abusive fathers.”

Dumas became an advocate after hiding with her sons in the mid-2000s. Unlike members of the “protective parent” movement, which aims to stop family courts from granting custody to abusers, she tells Newsweek that she sees family court injustice as “a civil rights crisis” in which the system is rigged to keep power in the hands of fathers.

That’s why Dumas supports Ku—even though not once in the 700 pages of family court testimonies from Ku’s custody case does anyone allege that Cook was abusive.

“Mothers who are the primary nurturer of their children should retain primary custody,” Dumas says. “That is what is best for the children, that is what’s best for the mother, and that is regardless of whether there’s abuse. For 200 million years, we have been evolving for females to be the ones to nurture their offspring.”

Dumas says she has never directly helped a mother go into hiding, but when women call begging for help, she refers them to people she knows. “It’s a very loose movement, and it’s very fluid. And that’s the only way it can survive.”

This underground network has evolved since it made headlines in the 1980s and ’90s, she says. “It’s just done in a different way. It’s done in a smarter way, in a more elusive way. It’s like an arms race, you know? They have come up with ways to catch us, and we have to come up with ways to not be caught,” she says. Dumas compares the people who hide parents and children to those who hid Jews during the Holocaust.

Neustein, the sociologist, also says that the underground still exists, and that she has heard in recent years from parents who have received help hiding their children. “Now it’s much more demure, covert, it’s not publicized,” she says. “Human nature never changes. So just as many are trying self-remedy when they become disgusted with the courts.” Thanks to online groups and postings, she adds, “the validating experience is happening much sooner. They’re realizing they’re not crazy, that there’s a whole movement afoot.”

In Minnesota, a case allegedly involving the contemporary underground is underway in which a mother, a couple that owns a ranch and another woman are facing charges of parental alienation for allegedly helping to hide teenage sisters Samantha and Gianna Rucki for two and a half years. One of those facing charges in the case, Dede Evavold, runs a website that criticizes the family court system. She has denied any involvement in a formal network, but has acknowledged that she and the others facing charges all know one another. Lawyers for the ranch owners also deny that the couple is involved in any network. They are scheduled to next appear in court in March.

Robert Lowery Jr., vice president of the missing-children division at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, has acknowledged to Newsweek that the center has “had some experiences” with people or groups that help noncustodial parents hide their kids. “We just want to find the children and make sure they’re safe,” he has said.

But Child Find of America, another missing-children agency, is hesitant to label who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong in these situations. “Maybe it is very likely that those groups are the only thing keeping the child who was being abused safe,” says program director Shari Doherty. “Unfortunately, sometimes ‘safe’ isn’t legal.”


Sage, right, and Isaac Cook, left, disappeared in August 2015 and are believed to be with Faye Ku, their noncustodial mother. Their father and stepmother have joined the ranks of parents struggling while their children are missing.

Ku met Cook when they were students at the University of California, Berkeley. They married after they’d graduated, and eventually moved to the Seattle area. He got a job at Microsoft, and she stayed at home or worked occasional odd jobs while they raised their boys. Sage is now 15, and Isaac is 9. The couple separated in 2008 and divorced a year later.

“We realized we were incompatible, we didn’t cooperate well, that we fought all the time about trivial things,” Cook says. “Her behavior and her views seemed odd to me, but I thought maybe that’s how it always was, that couples have to cooperate and have to try to see things from each other’s point of view.”

Sage and Isaac split time living with both parents until 2012, when Ku decided to allow the boys to live with Cook full-time. On paper, however, they shared custody, and they disagreed about how to raise the children. Ku would later claim in court that Cook was not a nurturing father, in part because he has Asperger’s syndrome. He acknowledges that he has been informally diagnosed, but maintains that he is a loving father.

In 2013, Ku told Cook she wanted to take the kids for the summer to Taiwan, where she was born. He agreed, but only if they put the travel plans in writing—an agreement that never materialized. On June 13, 2013, Ku unexpectedly picked up the boys from school and told their nanny and Cook that she was taking them for an overnight visit.

Cook told his lawyer about the unplanned overnight, and the lawyer discovered there were one-way plane tickets to Taiwan booked under the boys’ names. So Cook rushed to the airport and informed the police, who arrested Ku before takeoff. Cook got temporary full custody, and Ku was allowed visitation.

A year later, Ku petitioned for custody and testified in family court that she hadn’t intended to kidnap the boys, and that she had thought that Cook had agreed to the trip. Cook told the court that he was worried that if he sent the boys to L.A. to visit her, she would take them.

One year later, Cook’s fear was realized.

Ku had a vast Internet presence, and Cook thinks it’s possible that people she met online are helping her hide. Additionally, Ku’s son Zephyr, a toddler, who has a different father, is also considered missing. There are multiple websites registered in her name, and she appears to have posted in various online forums, frequently with the pseudonym “littlefaith.”

In 2014, she wrote in a series of cryptic Facebook status updates, “I’m a standard deviation away from every kind of normal that you can think of.… I AM THE EXCEPTION TO YOUR RULE.” In 2015, months before disappearing, she wrote, “The problem is I am not in the box, and the people in the box can’t see the box.”

Parental Kidnapping Rescue abducted children recovery

Ku even commented on a post about a family court awarding custody to an alleged abuser, just two weeks before her disappearance, expressing wariness at first (“How do we know what is really happening in this case?”), but then writing: “I’m against our current system of having police involved in families, even in cases of molestation or physical abuse. It only increases the danger and tragedy for everyone.”

Newsweek’s attempts to contact Ku were unsuccessful. The lawyer who represented her in the custody case, Terry Zundel, says Ku was appealing for custody and likely representing herself at the time she went missing.

Dietrich, the FBI spokeswoman, says the agency is monitoring the online support for Ku and that such postings help “drive another set of leads. It means there’s other people that we want to talk to, people that might be connected with that movement or people who are familiar with how those work.”

One friend, Maureen Sklaroff, says, “She’s very nice and very caring about other people. Very smart.” Other friends offered similar testimony in family court.

But the father of Ku’s son Zephyr says that “she’s narcissistic and doesn’t believe fathers have intrinsic rights.… She is a loving mother but sociopathically selfish when it comes to co-parenting.” He says she did not let him have a relationship with his son. He asked that Newsweek not print his name because he did not want it associated with the missing-children case.

“She definitely questions every societal norm,” Sklaroff says. Ku posted on Facebook about being against vaccines and “government control,” and intensely advocated for homeschooling.

One place where law enforcement believes Ku and the boys may be is her native Taiwan, which does not belong to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, an agreement among 72 countries and additional territories to aid in the return of abducted children.

Following the recent deadly earthquake in southern Taiwan, Sklaroff posted on Facebook, tagging her friend Ku: “If you happen to be where there was an earthquake recently, I hope you all are okay. It sounds like the worst damage was not near where you might happen to have been, if you were somewhere that had an earthquake.”

But with the Cooks and the FBI poring over posts like that one, it’s possible that she may have only been trying to confuse things further.

“I think they’re afraid to be found,” Cook says of the boys. “They wouldn’t go away and intentionally not see us anymore, but I think they believe they’re in a situation where they have to choose.”

Several hours after Newsweek published this article, the FBI announced that authorities had located Sage and Isaac Cook in the state of Sinaola, Mexico and that they had reunited with their father and returned to Washington state. Faye Ku has been deported to the United States and is scheduled to appear in court on February 16 on charges of international parental kidnapping, the FBI said.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

Testimonials from our clients

profile pic.jpgdroppedImage_7TM

download (2)

ABP World Group™ Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail 

Skype: abpworld

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

Complaint to President of the European Parliament about office of international child abductions

February 11, 2016

Source: familiefamilienrecht.wordpress.com

Subject: Parents complaint about the mediator’s office for cases of international child abductions

Dear President Martin Schulz,

Dear President Pittella,

Dear President Weber,

Dear Vice-Presidents,

I am a European citizen and a parent, among the many others signatories of this letter, whom requested assistance to the Office of the Mediator for cases of international child abductions.


I appeal to your political consciousness and I rely on your authority in order to take adequate action toward the scandalous conduct of the current Mediator for cases of International Child Abduction, Mairead McGuinness, who is abusing the delicate Role she has been delegated to, for the sole purpose of her personal political propaganda but who has proven not to have any interest in our children and not and not up to perform conscientiously and with competences her role.


In particular, as EU citizens and parents whom dealt directly with the Office, We would like to point out that the only person who showed competence and dedication to the cause and who served with the utmost professionalism and humanity all our cases, is Simona Mangiante, who assisted us egregiously. She proved to be very competent in the field, being beyond an official of the European Palriament a qualified international lawyer and lastly legal Advisor of ‘Ombudsman’s office.

Ms Simona Mangiante, who was dedicated to our cases for a long time (she is aware of all of the intricate details of international legal cases that affect us), has recently informed us that she can no longer take care of our cases because MsGuinness removed her from the function !!!

Let me say that it is outrageous !!! The only person working with competence and dedication is removed from the function? How is it explained?

As parents we are lost now, as we keep receiving “formal” and empty” answers from the same Office and we lost our reference, Simona Mangiante, because of an arbitrarious decision of Ms McGuinness?

Are you aware of the impact of depriving us of the assistance of the person who is following us with great competence and dedication since years? Which is the contribute of Ms McGuinness, other then using this role as an “honor” to exhibit?

Ms McGuinness evidently has no substantial interest in the office, otherwise she would be aware of the essentiality of Ms Mangiante for all of us and that without Ms Mangiante the service apparently does not exist at all!!

At the light of the above, we would like to stress the following:

Why the European Parliament advertise on the internet a service as sensitive as the one offered by the Office of the Mediator for cases of international child abductions, without then being capable of ensuring the continuity in this service? This is criminal Why the European Parliament leaves to the discretionally of the political representative the power to remove essential qualified people of the administration, as Simona Mangiante, to replace them with unqualified people, such as the woman who is now replacing Ms Mangiante? Why you would remove a qualified professional already working on our cases since years? Therefore We urgently ask: – to reintegrate Simona Mangiante in this service to remove Ms McGuinness from the role of Mediator. We are sure there are many better politicians, among you to represent the Office of the Mediator.


Best regards,

Marco Di Marco

Richard M.Holmes

Roberto Nocciolini

Andrea Tonello

Alessandro Avenati

Luigi Renato Zardo

Salvatore Basile

Volpe Liberato

Andrea Cavalcanti

Leonardo Rassu

Hartmut Buchholz

Thomas Karzelek

Anatol Jung

Uwe Mertens

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

Testimonials from our clients

profile pic.jpgdroppedImage_7TM

download (2)

ABP World Group™ Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail 

Skype: abpworld

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

U.S. official calls for direct meetings between parents, children ‘abducted’ to Japan

October 27, 2015

By TAKASHI OSHIMA/ Correspondent

A senior U.S. official called on Tokyo to give American parents “direct, in-person contact” with their children living in Japan during custody battles with Japanese parents under a child abduction treaty.


Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Karen Christensen called for such one-on-one meetings in referring to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which stipulates what member nations should do when mothers or fathers take away their offspring without the consent of their spouses.

Read more about his case here

“We believe that the Japanese central authority really does take its responsibilities in the Hague Convention very seriously,” Christensen said in a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun in Tokyo.

“When we say ‘meaningful access,’ in the end we mean direct contact and unsupervised contact,” Christensen said. “We have not yet seen that kind of direct, in-person contact that we’re looking for. We would like to see this happen quickly.”

According to Washington, more than 30 Americans have requested meetings with their children living in Japan since Tokyo joined the Hague Convention in 2014.

Elementary school children on field trip pose for the camera, Ritsurin-koen (garden), Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture, Japan

Although some of the U.S. parents have talked to their children in Japan through video conferences or met them in the presence of observers, no in-person, unmonitored contact has been provided so far.

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Japanese parents concerned about the risks of unmonitored meetings with their children have requested that such meetings be done through video conferences or under supervision.

“We will continue our proper support based on laws to realizing person-to-person contact,” a Foreign Ministry official said.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook


profile pic.jpgdroppedImage_7TM

download (2)

ABP World Group™ Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail 

Skype: abpworld

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA) Awareness Month

May 23, 2013

Source: blogs.usembassy

Did you know that May is International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA) Awareness Month?

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is committed to preventing international child abductions. The State Department places the highest priority on the welfare of children who have been abducted across an international border and is encouraging foreign governments to join the U.S. as parties to The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
The Hague Abduction Convention is the primary civil law mechanism for parents seeking the return of the children from other treaty partner countries. The Convention does not address who should have custody of the child; it addresses where the custody case should be heard. Today the U.S. is a treaty partner with 70 countries (Hague Abduction countries).

May is also an important month for children because May 25, 2013 is the 30th annual Missing Children’s Day. The first annual Missing Children’s Day was proclaimed by President Reagan in 1983. Although we remember the plight of missing children particularly on this day, it is important to remember that all year long organizations in the U.S., like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), are working to promote children’s rights and protect them. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Childrenopened in 1984 to serve as the nation’s clearinghouse on issues related to missing and sexually exploited children. Today NCMEC is authorized by Congress to perform 19 programs and services to assist law enforcement, families and the professionals who serve them. Organizations like NCMEC and the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs are both working hard to prevent child abductions and serve the needs of children.

Special Advisor to Children’s Issues Ambassador Susan Jacobs spoke to the US Congress on May 9, 2013 about International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA) Issues. Here is a link to her testimony, as well as the testimony of members of Congress and parents who have been victims of IPCA.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

profile pic.jpg

ABP World Group Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

(646) 502-7443 United States

069 2547 2471 Germany

020 3239 0013 United Kingdom

01 442 9322 Ireland

031-753 83 77 Sweden

Japan: Cabinet approves child abduction treaty

March 17, 2013

Source: Japantoday


Japan moved one step closer to adopting a long-delayed treaty on child abductions on Friday when the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave its approval, a government spokesman said.


Japan is the only member of the Group of Eight major industrialised nations that has not joined the 1980 Hague Convention, which requires children be returned to their usual country of residence if they are snatched during the collapse of an international marriage.

Hundreds of non-Japanese parents, mostly men from the United States and elsewhere, have been left without any recourse after their estranged partners took their children back to Japan.

Unlike Western nations, Japan does not recognize joint custody and divorce courts usually award custody of children to their mothers.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said following cabinet approval, the government would swiftly submit the necessary legislation to parliament.

“It is important for our country to join the Hague Convention that sets international rules on dealing with illegal kidnapping of children, now that the numbers of international marriages and international divorces have increased,” he said.

Last month, Abe visited U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington and promised that Tokyo would join the treaty.

For the past few years, Japan has promised to join the treaty, but has never moved it through parliament.

U.S. lawmakers have repeatedly demanded action from Japan on child abductions, one of the few open disputes between the close allies.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

Contact us here: Mail

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

(646) 502-7443 United States

069 2547 2471 Germany

020 3239 0013 United Kingdom

01 442 9322 Ireland
031-753 83 77 Sweden

Abducted to Greece: Mom battles to rescue son held in Greece by father

February 18 2013

Source: usatoday

Father ignores legally binding divorce decree when he doesn’t send son back to U.S. after a 2011 visit.


Alissa Zagaris hopes an international arrest warrant filed against her ex-husband will allow her to get her son Leo, 12, back home from Greece, where he allegedly has been held against his will since August 2011.

INDIANAPOLIS — In June 2011 Alissa Zagaris drove her then-10-year-old son, Leo, from their home in Noblesville, Ind., to Chicago and put him on a plane for Greece — just as she had done four times before.

It was a long-distance visitation arrangement set forth by the couple’s divorce agreement struck in a Hamilton County, Ind., court. Leo would fly over, spend some time with his father, Nikolaos Zagaris, then fly back.

No big deal.

STORY: N.J. father, son adjusting after Brazil abduction drama

STORY: Documentation for traveling in Europe with children

But on this fifth journey, things went wrong when Leo, now 12, did not come home. His father kept him in Greece — despite the legally binding divorce decree that awarded Alissa custody.

Leo soon would become embroiled in a protracted and messy bureaucratic morass that would involve two nations, the FBI, Interpol, the State Department, international treaties, courts on two continents and one angry and heartbroken mom.

Unlike so many other incidents when one parent keeps a child away from the other, this was not a custody case. This was an international abduction. This, authorities ultimately concluded, was kidnapping.


Nevertheless, prodding authorities in Athens, Washington and Indianapolis to take up her case has been a long, frustrating journey for Zagaris. In December, in a Greek court, Zagaris finally got the chance to tell her side of the story — and she was reunited with her son for a brief, supervised visit.

When she saw Leo for the first time in 19 months, all her fears and anxieties — stemming from his recent comments about hating America — melted away.

“My little boy jumped in my arms,” Zagaris said. “He is this tall on me now (holding a hand up to her shoulder) and he lunged at me and held my hand the whole time. “We sat together on the couch and I just rubbed his skin. His skin is fine like mine. I always rub his back. And look into his eyes.”

The Dec. 13, 2012, visit lasted for about 45 tense minutes as Nickolaos and his mother watched.

‘Left behind moms’ unite

Many of the more than 350 or so friends and followers of Zagaris’ two Facebook pages — her personal page and one she set up to publicize her son’s kidnapping — call themselves “left behind moms” or “left behind parents.”

They are the husbands and wives who fight the same battles Zagaris has fought during the past 19 months.

According to the Bring Sean Home Foundation, founded in 2009 as a support group and resource hub, more than 4,700 American children were abducted outside the United States between 2008 and 2010 by a parent or guardian,

Getting them back is rarely quick and never easy. Zagaris found that out in the fall of 2011 when it became clear to her that her ex-husband had no intention of sending Leo home.


She contacted the U.S. State Department, office of Consular Affairs, and reported what had happened. They urged her to file an application with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction — a necessary step in any case that spans international borders.

The Hague Convention, designed to make the process work more smoothly, is contingent on both countries agreeing to its terms — which provide a framework for communicating the facts of a case and agreeing to abide by the laws of both countries.

In other words they need to get along, which can be a sticky situation depending on the state of world affairs.

“Sometimes they cooperate in getting a child back to the country,” said Wendy Osborne, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Indianapolis. “But some countries don’t play by the rules.”

Osborne declined to comment on Zagaris’ case — an agent in Indianapolis is heavily involved and filed the affidavit that led to charges being filed by the U.S. District Court.

But Osborne said the FBI is involved in hundreds of cases like this across the country.

“At one time I was working on six myself, involving Mexico, Syria, other countries, all at the same time,” Osborne said. “And these are very difficult cases because they are so emotional.”

According to the Bring Sean Home Foundation, children abducted abroad are often traumatized, losing contact with a parent and finding themselves in unfamiliar surroundings, forced to live in a country where they may not know the language or the culture.

Leo, does not speak Greek, Zagaris said. And despite assurances that he would be enrolled in an English-speaking school, she suspects that has never happened. Experts also say abducted children are often told lies about the other parent or guardian and the country from which they came.

Love, marriage, violence

A younger “Nick” and Alissa met in 2000 when he was a weekend waiter at a Greek restaurant, and she, a nutritionist and caterer by trade, was a manager. One thing led to another.

“It was mainly a physical relationship,” she said. “I had no intention of getting serious. But then, lo and behold, I’m pregnant.”

Attempts to reach Nickolaos Zagaris through his attorney for this story were unsuccessful.

Alissa said Nickolaos, a Greek citizen, was looking for a way to stay in America. He had come to the U.S. on a student visa and studied at the University of Indianapolis. But that visa had expired.

Not long after their wedding in July 2000, Leo was born. Zagaris said things changed once the pressures of parental responsibility set in.

“Nick changed,” she said. “Before that it was just me and him. The day Leo was born, everything changed.” As the baby grew, Zagaris said, Nick grew physically abusive toward her. In 2008, Nick was arrested and charged in Hamilton County with domestic battery and felony strangulation. Before he would stand trial on those charges, he fled to Greece.

Zagaris filed and was granted a divorce (without her husband present) in Hamilton County. The court granted custody of Leo to his mom. Despite the charges pending against him, the court allowed for a clause in the divorce decree that not only gave Nick visitation rights, but guaranteed visits to Greece.

In exchange, Nick Zagaris would maintain child support payments and put $5,000 into an account controlled by his attorney as a sort of “insurance clause” that he would have to give to his ex-wife should he ever fail to return Leo in a timely fashion.

According to the State Department, Zagaris was lucky her ex-husband had not taken their son to a non-compliant nation such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, France or Poland — countries on the State Department’s “enforcement concerns” list when it comes to child issues.

Greece, however, is known as a country that works well with other countries.

She had other facts in her favor. Nick was not only a fugitive from a felony charge in Hamilton County, he was violating a court-ordered divorce agreement that specifically gave her custody.

The Greek courts set a hearing date for April 6, 2012.

During the delay, Zagaris also filed charges against Nick in Hamilton County, based on the violation of the custodial agreement. Hamilton County issued a warrant for his arrest.

She wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, pleading for the White House to do something to help.


Not much happened.

“I used to be a very clear, organized thinker,” Zagaris said. “But I’ve lost my mind.

“There is a very high suicide rate with our kind. It’s very hard. We have to fight through every obstacle, every hurdle just to get our cases taken seriously.

“It’s like our children are wrapped up in this diplomatic nightmare.”

The State Department spokesman told The Indianapolis Star on Friday that it is working as quickly as it can.

“The Department of State is aware of the Zagaris case and is providing all appropriate assistance,” the spokesman said. “We will continue to monitor the case and the welfare of the child through close coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Athens and the Greek Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention.”

A final dagger?

With two legal victories in Greek courts, Zagaris was counting the days when she could bring her son back.

But on Jan. 9, the State Department sent Zagaris an email saying that the Greek Central Authority told U.S. officials that because of “recent judicial strikes” in Greece a final and formal decision could take up to two years to be published.

After that, her ex-husband would have 30 days to file yet another appeal, with the Greek supreme court, the email said. Another appeal would mean another long delay.

However, the State Department told her that it was working with Greek officials who seem to be willing to move forward with returning Leo to Indiana despite any future appeal … “and will be in touch as soon as the situation is clarified.”

Zagaris was stunned.

“It’s just back and forth, back and forth,” she said. “I’m frustrated. I’ve won the right twice now from Greece. I’ve got the acknowledgments from the courts.

“It’s been 19 months.”

While all this was happening, Zagaris said she received an angry phone call from her ex-husband. According to an FBI affidavit, Nick Zagaris threatened to “take (him) to the United Arab Emirates” — a nation not part of the Hague Convention.

Not long after that call, an FBI special agent filed the paperwork and U.S. Magistrate Judge Tim Baker signed the formal federal charges against Nikolaos Zagaris for international parental kidnapping.

Those charges have been filed with Interpol, the international police community comprising 190 countries, including Greece. Greek authorities now (or soon) will have the authority to simply arrest him on those charges.

But now all Zagaris can do is wait for the words that will finally end a mother’s nightmare.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

Contact us here: Mail

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443

UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013

German Phone Number: 069 2547 2471

Or you can call our 24h Emergency phone number: +44 20 3239 0013

Child Abduction Statistics

February 10, 2013 Source: masonichip.org

Parental child abduction – We offer needed support
Contact us via Skype: abpworld, or email contact@abpworld.com
For US clients call 805 CHILD 11 or email contact@abpworldusa.com

The National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART) has placed cases into five categories…… Children 1. Family Abductions – A child was taken in violation of a custody agreement or degree, failed to return a child at the end of a legal or agreed-upon visit, with the child being away at least overnight. An attempt was made to conceal the taking, or the whereabouts of a child, or to prevent contact with the child. The child is transported out of state, or there is evidence that the abductor had the intent to keep the child indefinitely, or to permanently alter custodial privileges. 2. Non-Family Abductions – Attempted abductions, for example luring of a child for the purposes of committing another crime. Coerced and unauthorized taking of a child into a building, a vehicle, or a distance of more than 20 feet, the detention of a child for a period of more than one hour. 3. Runaways – Children that have left home without permission and stayed away overnight and during the course of their runaway episodes, were without a secure and familiar place to stay. These also include children who have run away from a juvenile facility. 4. Thrownaways – These are children who have experienced any of the following situations:

  • The child was told to leave the household.
  • The child was away from home and the parent/guardian refused to allow the child back.
  • The child ran away, but the parent/guardian made no effort to recover the child, or did not care whether or not the child returned.
  • The child was abandoned or deserted.

5. Lost, Injured, or Otherwise Missing:

  • Children missing for varying periods of time, depending on their age, disability, and whether the absence was due to an injury.
  • Parental Kidnapping / Family Abductions – A child was taken in violation of a custody agreement or degree, failed to return a child at the end of a legal or agreed-upon visit, with the child being away at least overnight. An attempt was made to conceal the taking, or the whereabouts of a child, or to prevent contact with the child. The child is transported out of state, or there is evidence that the abductor had the intent to keep the child indefinitely, or to permanently alter custodial privileges.

More than 350,000 family abductions occur in the U.S. each year, that is nearly 1,000 per day ! 163,000 of these cases involve the concealment of a child, transporting out of state, or intent to keep the child permanently Parental Kidnapping Study Results:

  • The child has experienced serious mental harm in 16% of the cases (56,000)
  • The child has experienced physical abuse or harm in 8% of the cases
  • (The University of Maryland found a 24% incidence of physical abuse)
  • The child is sexually abused in 1% of the cases (The University of Maryland found a 7% incidence of sexual abuse)
  • Mothers flee with children in 54% of the cases
  • Fathers flee with children in 46% of the cases

Case settlements:

  • one-third of all cases settled within 30 days / 80% of all cases settled within a year
  • one-half of all cases settled within 60 days / 90% of all cases settled within two years

Factors Contributing to Parental Kidnappings:

  • In 1998, there will be an estimated 1 million divorces, affecting more than 1 million children
  • There are 10 million children, living with a single parent who is separated, or divorced 150,000 divorces, or 1 in 7 involve child custody battles
  • Today’s average marriage will last about seven years
  • Single-parent families has quadrupled since 1960
  • Divorces have tripled in numbers since 1960

(Source: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) The National Crime Information Center (NCIC)

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook


profile pic.jpgdroppedImage_7TM

ABP World Group™ Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail 

Skype: abpworld

NOTE: We are always available 24/7