Parental Child Abduction to Japan – ‘Racist’ cartoon issued by Japanese ministry angers rights activists


17 September , 2014

Source: scmp.com and CrnJapan.net 

Pamphlet issued by Tokyo to Japan’s embassies in response to Hague convention is criticised for depicting a foreign man beating his child.

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Human rights activists in Japan have reacted angrily to a new pamphlet released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that they claim is racist and stereotypical for depicting white fathers beating their children.

The 11-page leaflet has been sent to Japanese embassies and consulates around the world in response to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction going into effect in Japan on April 1.

Tokyo dragged its feet on ratifying the treaty, which broadly stipulates that a child should be returned to his or her country of habitual residence when they have been taken out of that country by a parent but without the consent of the other parent.

But manga-style images of foreign fathers beating children and Japanese women portrayed as innocent victims have raised the hackles of campaigners, both those fighting discrimination against foreigners and non-Japanese who have been unable to see children who have been abducted by Japanese former spouses.

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“It’s the same problem with any negotiations in which Japan looks like it has been beaten,” said Debito Arudou, a naturalised Japanese citizen who was born in the United States and has become a leading human rights activist.

“After being forced to give up a degree of power by signing the Hague treaty, they have to show that they have not lost face and they try to turn the narrative around,” he said. “It’s the same as in the debate over whaling.

“The Japanese always see themselves as the victims, and in this case, the narrative is that Japanese women are being abused and that the big, bad world is constantly trying to take advantage of them.”

Arudou is particularly incensed by the cover of the publication, which shows a blond-haired foreigner hitting a little girl, a foreign father taking a child from a sobbing Japanese mother and another Japanese female apparently ostracised by big-nosed foreign women.

“It is promoting the image that the outside world is against Japanese and the only place they will get a fair deal is in Japan,” said Arudou.

The rest of the pamphlet takes the form of a conversation between a cartoon character father and son, but with the storyline showing the difficulties of a Japanese woman living abroad with her half-Japanese son.

Arudou says the publication then “degenerates into the childish” with the appearance of an animated doll that is the father figure’s pride and joy, but also dispenses advice.

“As well as promoting all these stereotypes, why are they not talking about visitation issues for foreigners whose half-Japanese children have been abducted by their ex-wives?” asked Arudou.

Several foreigners who have been unable to see their children for years have already contacted Arudou to express their anger, with a number of US nationals saying they would pass the document onto lawmakers.

Arudou’s post on the issue on his website has also attracted attention, with commentators describing the pamphlet as “racist propaganda”.

“This is disgusting,” one commentator posted. “Pictures are powerful, more powerful than words. And the only time I’ve ever seen anything remotely like this is when I did a search for old anti-Japanese propaganda.

“Of course, that was disgusting too, but it was wartime!”

Another added, “What a pathetic advert for an ‘advanced’ country.

“As for the text – not wasting any more bandwidth on such utter racist, xenophobic, patronising, paranoid nonsense.”

Other links related to the case: http://www.mofa.go.jp/files/000034153.pdf and http://www.crnjapan.net/english-mofadoc.pdf

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Parental Child Abduction – A father’s hunt for his missing son


September 9, 2013

Source: Vancouversun

Maximus Kawabata-Morness is five. Max would have started kindergarten on Tuesday. But 42 days ago his mother abducted him and took him to Japan. Kris Morness has no idea where exactly his son is. Morness is heartbroken, frantic. But, sadly, he is not really surprised.

Ever since he and Chie Kawabata separated at the beginning of 2011, Morness has been dreading and expecting this.

Japan is a black hole for abducted kids. It does not recognize Family Court orders from other jurisdictions and has become a safe haven for parental child abductors. More than 300 Canadian-born children and 3,000 or more American-born children who have been abducted by their parents and hidden away there.

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“I know I can’t reach her [Kawabata] through the law,” says Morness, who lives in Vancouver. “Japan is effectively immune.”

In desperation, the video game developer has taken the unusual step of crowdsourcing help through a website called http://www.ChieKawabata.com.

Morness hopes strangers will help him locate his son. And, because his ex-wife also works in the tech industry, Morness wants her current employer and any prospective employers to know that Kawabata contravened a court order forbidding her from taking Max to Japan and that police are recommending that Kawabata be charged with first-degree custodial interference in Washington state where she had been living.

(If convicted, Kawabata could be jailed for up to five years and fined up to a $10,000.)

Posted on the site are court documents and transcripts from the couple’s messy and lengthy divorce and custody proceedings, along with the police report confirming that Kawabata abducted Max on July 26 and Kawabata’s last email to Morness on Aug. 2.

In it, Kawabata says that she is in Osaka and has taken a leave of absence for the month of August to visit her cancer-stricken mother.

“The torment I have endured in recent years have left me (and therefore Max) emotionally ruined and have forced my hands to take this step that I wish I did not have to take,” she wrote, adding that Skype calls with Max could be resumed the next week “as I have never wanted to deprive you of time with Max”.

But since Aug. 2, Kawabata hasn’t replied to any of Morness’s daily emails.

(Kawabata also did not respond to my attempts to reach her via email and through social media.)

The website hasn’t yet resulted in any breakthrough tips. But news of Max’s abduction has been posted on various gamers’ websites, tech eZines and blogs.

 Missing Max: A fathers hunt for his missing sonOver the past three years, Morness has spent close to $80,000 in legal fees getting court orders to ensure that Max would spend half of his vacation time with his dad plus every other weekend in Vancouver and that three times a week, they would connect on Skype.

In March 2012, Kawabata went to court asking for permission to relocate to Japan with Max. The judge ruled that would not be in Max’s best interest.

A year earlier, Morness registered Max in a U.S. state department’s children’s passport issuance alert program for kids at risk of abduction.

Under that program, when a passport application is submitted for a registered child, the department and/or the passport agency must alert the other parent.

But somebody screwed up.

When Max’s passport came up for renewal in March, Morness gave the passport book to Kawabata.

Instead of only applying for a passport book, Kawabata applied for the book and a card, which is valid for American residents travelling to Canada and Mexico.

Regardless, Morness was not notified that Kawabata had applied for the two different travel documents. He found out only after Kawabata gave him Max’s card, but not the passport.

The department admitted the error, but refused to revoke the passport.

“I even went to the border to tell them my story and provided them a copy of all the relevant materials. They did nothing,” says Morness.

“I even asked the court to force her to surrender it, but they [the court] didn’t do it. And then she used it to leave.”

On July 26, Kawabata and Max boarded a plane in San Francisco bound for Tokyo.

Nobody stopped Kawabata. Unlike in Canada, the United States has no exit controls, no requirement for a parent to prove that the other parent is aware that the child is leaving the country.

On Aug. 9, the Superior Court of Washington granted primary custody of Max to Morness and instructed Kawabata to hand Max over to Morness and his passport within 72 hours of returning from Japan.

That’s not likely to happen.

Japan has yet to implement the 33-year-old Hague Convention. It passed the necessary legislation in June, but it is not yet in force.

Morness worries if his son doesn’t return soon, Max may be lost forever.

Without regular contact, the five-year-old might forget him.

Although Max has used Skype almost all his life, he needs help logging on. Max can’t read yet, so he isn’t able to find the website Morness has created, the photos Morness has uploaded to YouTube or respond to an email.

Worse, the longer Max is gone, the more likely it is that he will forget how to speak English. Morness only speaks English, yet it is Max’s third language.

Max’s first language is Japanese. Even though Kawabata was educated at American universities, she speaks only Japanese to Max and, up until last summer when Morness insisted that he go to an English-speaking daycare, Max had been going to one where only Japanese was spoken.

Max’s second language is Spanish, which is the language his nanny spoke to him.

With time working against him, Morness sends Kawabata an email every day requesting a time and date that he can speak Max via Skype.

Every day, he hopes for new information about the police investigation, Kawabata’s location and for news of Max.

Every day, Morness waits and hopes that Kawabata will have a change of heart.

 

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Japan: Cabinet approves child abduction treaty


March 17, 2013

Source: Japantoday

TOKYO

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.

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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.

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Dads doubt Tokyo’s commitment to child abduction treaty


March 7, 2013

Source: dw.de

Tokyo is inching closer to signing the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, but foreign parents who have not seen their children for years have little faith the treaty will help them.

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In the last 18 years, Walter Benda has only managed to see his two daughters once. That was for a few moments on a street in a Japanese town in 1998 after a private investigator managed to track down the girls and their mother.

His Japanese wife spirited the girls away to Japan after seeing him off to work in Virginia, USA, one morning and rebuffed all his efforts to make contact with them. And as soon as he did find them again, they vanished once more.

Benda’s case is far from unusual. Critics of the Japanese judicial system accuse it of abetting Japanese nationals who want to leave their foreign spouse abroad and prevent them from staying in touch as the children grow up. And as Japan is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Japanese courts set the rules on access.

The situation is largely about foreigners living abroad with their Japanese partners who return to Japan, but the issue also affects foreign nationals who marry Japanese and opt to live in Japan. Unsurprisingly, foreign parents have been given short shrift in legal efforts to see their children in Japan. An estimated 20,000 children are born to mixed-nationality couples here every year.

Currently, Washington is dealing with 47 cases of US children being abducted to Japan, 30 cases involve Canadian citizens and British officials admit to dealing with around 10 cases.

Promises from Tokyo

A mother and her child waitat the airport (Photo: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)The US is investigating nearly 50 cases of abductions to Japan

When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with US President Barack Obama during his recent trip to Washington, the issue came up. The Japanese leader promised that politicians in Tokyo would soon sign the Hague Convention into law, bringing the country into line with 89 other signatory states.

Of the Group of Eight nations, Japan is the only one not to have signed the agreement. But even if Tokyo does sign the pact, foreign parents do not believe that Japanese courts will be even-handed.

“I believe it is quite possible Japan will sign it this year, but I feel it will just be window dressing, as is the case with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that Japan ratified in its entirety in 1994,” said Benda, the joint founder of the Japan chapter of the US-based Children’s Rights Council (CRC). “That agreement provides for regular, direct contact between children and both parents, but Japan does not honor it.

“I’m not very optimistic. I believe Japan is doing this more for symbolic reasons to satisfy its foreign allies rather than out of sincere concern about children’s rights.”

Benda’s experience with Japan’s appalling track record on child abduction dates back to July 21, 1995.

A normal farewell

“I had no clue that this was going to happen,” he explained. “It was the first day of school vacation, so the children were still at home when I left for work in the morning.

“I remember hugging both my daughters at the front door of our house before I left. When I returned home that evening, I immediately sensed something was wrong when I noticed that the children’s bicycles, which were normally parked in front of the house, were gone, and their shoes, and their mother’s shoes, were all gone.

“As I walked into the house I noticed a lot of the furniture, paintings and appliances were gone as well,” he said. “There was a note from my wife, along with a business card for an attorney, on the dining room table. In the note, my wife asked me to forgive her for leaving me.”

Talking to Japanese friends, however, he felt confident that he would be seeing his children soon and that the system would handle the situation in a similar way as is done in the US.

He was quickly to come face-to-face with the rules of parental abduction in Japan. Even though he remained legally married and shared equal custody of the children, it took Benda three-and-a-half years to even find out where they were living as none of the Japanese authorities would help locate them or provide information about their health or school situations.

He approached the local police, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, the local city office, the health and welfare ministry, schools and education officials, the US Embassy, INTERPOL and various other organizations set up to assist foreigners in Japan. None were willing or able to help and he was forced to approach authorities in the US to have his children registered as missing and have an international arrest warrant issued against his wife for kidnapping.

No visits with daughters

“I have pursued custody and visitation rights through the Japanese courts twice now, each time appealing my case all the way to the Japanese Supreme Court,” said Benda. “I have never been granted a single scheduled visit with my daughters.”

A Japanese baby girl plays with a Japanese flag as her mother holds her (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)Foreign fathers are often powerless in finding their children

In the US, the Justice Department has indicted his former wife under the International Parental Kidnapping Act as the girls are US citizens being retained overseas. The Japanese government, however, refuses to recognize the charge and will not take any action on the extradition request.

“I feel very angry and misled by the Japanese legal system,” he explained. “The Japanese Constitution guarantees the husband and wife equal rights in family matters and the Japanese have signed international treaties which guarantee children regular direct access with both parents.

“The reality is, the Japanese courts thumb their noses at these legal obligations.”

At the root of the problem, CRC of Japan believes, is that Japanese judges do not have very strong enforcement authority in family law cases. That means that even if the abducting parent is ordered by the court to ensure the other biological parent has access to the child, the court is essentially powerless if that arrangement is not adhered to. In other jurisdictions, if a parent is ordered to allow visitation and refuses to do so, that person can be charged with contempt of court and be imprisoned.

Pressure on Japan

CRC believes it is only the cumulative effect of international publicity and increased public awareness that have led the US and other foreign governments to put pressure on Japan.

In many ways, CRC Japan co-founder Brian Thomas admits, he and Benda are relatively lucky as they have at least sufficient financial resources to contest the legal cases through the courts and devote time to supporting other parents in similar situations. The majority of international marriages in Japan are between Japanese men and foreign women from other Asian nations. When those relationships hit the rocks, the women have fewer resources to fight for their right to see their children.

Parental abduction not only affects international marriages. Because there is no equivalent organization to fight for the rights of parents, CRC of Japan has several cases on its books of Japanese couples seeking access to their children as well.

Thomas moved to Japan from South Wales in 1988, two years after meeting his wife Mikako. Their son, Graham Hajime, was born in January 1990, but Thomas has not been permitted to see him since April 1993. He carries his son’s photo with him at all times.

And he is not optimistic that Japan signing the agreement will bring about meaningful change for him or other parents in his predicament.

“I hope that Japan can change for the better, for the sake of its own people, and I would like to be optimistic,” he said. “But history does not lend itself to optimism when dealing with Japanese matters of this nature.”

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Abe tells Obama Japan will join child abduction treaty


February 23, 2013

Source: Japan Today

WASHINGTON —

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday that Tokyo would join a treaty on child abductions, addressing a major concern for lawmakers in Washington.

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Japan is the only member of the Group of Eight major industrialized nations that has not signed the 1980 Hague Convention, which requires nations to return snatched children to the countries where they usually reside.

“From the perspective of children, there is an increasing number of international marriages, meaning that there will be some cases where marriages will break down. Therefore we believe it is important to have international rules,” Abe told reporters after talks with Obama.

“We will make efforts in the Diet so that the Convention can be approved. I delivered this message to the president,” Abe told reporters after his meeting with Obama.

However, Abe did not set a timeframe. The previous DPJ government also said it wanted to enter the treaty but did not move ratification through the Diet.

Unlike Western nations, Japan does not recognize joint custody and courts almost always order that children of divorcees live with their mothers.

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

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

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The Hague Convention – Japan says it will sign child abduction treaty


January 19, 2013

Source: Japan Today

WASHINGTON —

Japan’s foreign minister said Friday that the new government would sign a treaty on child abductions, addressing one of the few rifts in relations with its main ally the United States.

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Japan has not signed or ratified the 1980 Hague Convention, which requires the return of wrongfully held children to the countries where they usually live, but a previous left-leaning government had said it planned to do so.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, whose conservative Liberal Democratic Party returned to power last month, said on a visit to Washington that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government would take the same stance.

“The government of Japan is intending to go through the necessary procedures for early signing of the treaty,” Kishida told a news conference with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton said she hoped that Japan’s parliament would pass legislation on the Hague treaty during its upcoming session.

Japanese courts virtually never grant custody to foreign parents or to fathers, leaving few legal avenues for fathers whose former partners have fled to Japan with their children.

U.S. parents have pursued at least 120 cases in Japan to seek access to half-Japanese children, invariably to no avail. The U.S. Congress has repeatedly pressed Japan to take up the issue.

The previous Japanese government’s position had initially heartened U.S. officials, but their hopes dimmed as Tokyo delayed action on the Hague treaty and indicated that a ratification would only apply to future cases.

Japanese critics of the Hague convention have previously argued that the country needs to protect women from potentially abusive foreign men.

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Parents urge Clinton to press Japan to take action on child abductions


July 9, 2012

Source: Japantoday

TOKYO —

About 50 foreign and Japanese parents held a rally in Tokyo’s Ginza area on Sunday, urging visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to call on Japan to ratify The Hague treaty on the issue of child abductions in child-custody disputes.

Although Clinton was not in the vicinity, the group held up signs asking her to press the Noda administration to ratify The Hague treaty and stop child abductions.

In March, the Japanese government submitted a bill to endorse the 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction but there have been no deliberations in the Diet yet, nor has any schedule been set.

The issue has been a long-time source of tension between Japan and many other countries.

Western nations have voiced concern for years over citizens’ struggles to see their half-Japanese children. When international marriages break up, Japanese courts virtually never grant custody to foreign parents, especially men.

Japanese critics of The Hague treaty often charge that women and children need protection from abusive foreign men. Japanese lawmakers are considering making exceptions to the return of children if there are fears of abuse.

If Tokyo ratifies the convention, it would only apply in the future and not to any ongoing cases in which foreign parents are seeking children in Japan.

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Japan: Foreign minister to take charge of locating kids in international custody rows


Source: The Mainichi Daily News

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan’s foreign minister will be responsible for collecting information on children abducted to the country by one of their parents in determining their whereabouts and settling cross-border custody disputes as a result of failed international marriages, according to newly compiled guidelines made available to Kyodo News on Sunday.

The guidelines compiled by the Foreign Ministry in preparation for Tokyo’s accession to an international treaty that sets procedures for the settlement of international child custody disputes state that the foreign minister can seek the help of local governments, police, schools, childcare facilities and shelters for abused people to determine the whereabouts of children in such cases.

The government is aiming to submit a bill to parliament in March to endorse the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and have it enacted during the 150-day regular parliamentary session to be convened Tuesday.

The bill will state that a central authority will be established at the Foreign Ministry to locate children wrongfully removed or retained by one parent and secure their voluntary return in response to requests made by the other parent, according to government officials.

The guidelines state that those requested by the foreign minister to provide information on abducted children will be required to do so “without any delay.”

The foreign minister could also inform parents abroad and their former spouses who have abducted children to Japan about the system of mediation by Japanese courts as a way to resolve their disputes, according to the guidelines.

The planned submission of the bill to endorse the Hague Convention based on the ministry’s guidelines is in line with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s pledge to U.S. President Barack Obama during their talks in November. Around 10 countries including the United States have been pressing Japan to join the treaty.

Japan is the only member of the Group of Eight major countries yet to join the convention after Russia acceded to it in July. At present, 87 countries are parties to the treaty, which came into effect in 1983.

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Child abduction issue should be key concern in Japan-U.S. relations


Source: Japan Today

TOKYO —

The issue of international child abductions in Japan should be a key concern in bilateral relations between Japan and the United States.

For years, the international community has been pressuring Japan to abide by international human rights standards in preventing cross-border parental kidnapping.

Japan has been censured for not being a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which protects children from wrongful removal or retention from their habitual place of residence.

Though former Prime Minister Naota Kan announced on May 20 last year that Japan intends to sign The Hague Convention, Japan is the only G8 member that has yet to become a signatory. LBPs (Left Behind Parents) are cautious to find the signing as reason to cheer because changes are also needed in Japan’s family courts for them to be reunited with their children. The continued condoning of both domestic and international child abduction cases can be traced to Japan’s family court.

Japan’s family court often awards sole custody to the parent with whom the child is residing. If the other parent wishes to see their child, permission by the parent to whom custodial rights were awarded becomes necessary.

This means that the parent who takes away the child from the other parent first will be in a superior bargaining position, since the family court overwhelmingly recognizes the status quo of whom the child is residing with.

Many LBPs have criticized the Japanese judicial system for condoning abduction by granting sole custody rights to the parent who snatches the child away first. In situations where cross-border kidnappings take place, the foreign parent is effectively powerless, as the Japanese family court will rule in favor of the parent with whom the child is residing. This has led some bereaved foreign LBPs to refer to Japan as a “black hole for child abduction.”

First, the Japanese government’s stance to become a signatory of The Hague Convention is an indication of changes in favor of adopting international human rights standards.

The move comes at a time when the numbers of international marriages and divorces are increasing in Japan. According to the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, approximately 19,000 international marriages ended in divorce last year in Japan, comprising 7.5% of the total number of divorces in Japan. In 2010, the ratio to divorces to all marriages in Japan was approximately 36%. Children of divorce are at significant risk of losing access to one parent in the current family law system.

Things are finally starting to change at both the international and domestic levels. There are two model cases, one in Wisconsin and one in Matsudo, Chiba.

Japan has stuck to awarding sole custody to one parent following a divorce since the Meiji era. Though some have mentioned this as evidence of sole custody being a part of Japan’s culture, in reality, this system has also created a legal system that condones child abductions.

In addition, on Dec 23, 2011, a girl was returned to her father in Wisconsin after being abducted by her Japanese mother nearly 4 years earlier, the first return of an abducted child from Japan by means of the courts.

She was reunited with her father when her mother, who had been arrested in April 2011 in Hawaii on child abduction charges, agreed to a plea bargain to be released from jail in exchange for returning their daughter to the United States.

The case, which received wide coverage in international and Japanese media, marked the first time for Japanese media such as NHK and Asahi to use the term “tsuresari” (abduction) rather than “tsurekaeru” (to bring home).

Of course, a plea bargain is still not the equivalent of a change in stance in Japan’s family court, but changes are also gradually being implemented in the domestic sphere as well.

Many people following the child abduction issue are closely monitoring the development of a high-profile domestic abduction case in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, to see if a judicial precedent making child abductions an unlawful act will be made.

On April 26, 2011, former Justice Minister Satsuki Eda mentioned three criteria that need to be considered in determining the custody of children after divorce, as stated in article 766, in his remarks to the Committee on Judicial Affairs.

The three criteria are: the abduction of children should be eligible for consideration as child abuse; the issuance of custody rights should favor parents who are willing to allow the other parent visitation of their children (also known as the “friendly parent rule”); and parents who commit unlawful abductions of their child should be at a disadvantage in the issuance of custody rights.

At the domestic level, article 766 of Japan’s civil code, which stipulates legal guidelines for the custody of children after divorce, was revised on June 3, 2011, to include a provision which states that visitation and economic support must be deliberated between the two spouses before divorce papers are submitted.

As stated in the “friendly parent rule,” one of the three criteria underlined by Eda, not allowing visitation, ought to work unfavorably toward obtaining custody rights. In cases where the child has already been abducted, the LBP may offer the abducting parent visitation in fighting to recover their child in court.

In effect, the revision of article 766 is significant, as the abduction of a child by a parent will be in breach of the new provision. This measure, if properly enforced by Japan’s family court, will help prevent the abduction of children by a parent.

However, when asked to recognize the remarks made by Eda, Tatsushige Wakabayashi, the judge presiding over the case, reportedly remarked, “What the justice minister says at the Diet is irrelevant.”

In response, various LBP groups have called for Wakabayashi to step down. Wakabayashi has yet to make a final verdict, leaving both domestic LBP groups and the international community tense anticipating his decision.

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Japan – United States : Gov’t to set up 7 panels to deal with parental child abduction issue


Source: Japan Today

TOKYO —

The Japanese department in charge of the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea announced plans this week to create seven subcommittees to be more proactive in resolving the issue.

Led by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, the government task force for the abduction issue said it plans to go on the offensive in light of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il’s death. The seven panels will be mobilized to gather information and work toward a solution to the problem that many Japanese citizens say hasn’t received enough attention in the past.

Relatives of the abductees have called on the government to take advantage of the transition of power in North Korea to approach Pyongyang on reopening the investigation.

The subcommittees will meet over the course of about two months, and will focus on strategy, enforcement, international cooperation and other themes. Each subcommittee will be headed by a senior vice minister.

Noda said, “Given the current North Korea situation, I want to lay out guidelines and strengthen our ability to resolve this issue,” NHK reported.

Noda has already asked Chinese and South Korean leaders to tell North Korea’s new leadership that it “must make progress” in addressing the aduction issue if bilateral ties are to be improved.

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Join the Facebook Group: International Parental Child Abduction

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

UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013 –

Or you can call our 24h Emergency phone number: +47 45504271