Here is a link to an event being held with Japanese Diet members in Tokyo this week, focusing on the Hague Convention and how other countries handle family law matters

Almost simultaneously, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the U.S. Congress is having hearings, which will include a look at the international child abduction problem with Japan.

Here is an updated schedule for the upcoming Congressional hearing on
International Child Abduction set for 2 December:

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC)

Hearing Announcement:

International Child Abduction and Parental Access

Wednesday, December 2
10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Longworth 1310

Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a timely hearing to
discuss barriers and solutions to the growing problem of international child
abduction. In the last three years, reported cases of international child
abduction have increased 60 percent. In some countries, such as Japan, no
mechanism exists for the return of American children. Current mechanisms for
resolving abductions with other countries, such as the Hague Convention on
the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, often fail for lack of

To discuss this important topic we welcome the following witnesses:

Panel I
Judge Peter Messitte, U.S. District Court, Maryland, and U.S.
Representative, Judicial Network on the Hague Convention on the Civil
Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Panel II
David Goldman, father of Sean Goldman who has been held in Brazil since 2004
Commander Paul Toland, father of Erika Toland who as been held in Japan
since 2003
Patrick Braden, father of Melissa Braden who has been held in Japan since
Tom Sylvester, father of Carina Sylvester who has been held in Austria since

Panel III
Patricia Apy, international child custody expert, law firm of Paras, Apy,
Ernie Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Center for
Missing and Exploited Children.

***Witness list subject to change.


Thank you, Kevin, for forwarding this on to us:

http://kyodosinken. com/wp-content/ uploads/2009/ 09/seigan200909. pdf

The above link is to a joint custody petition. It is in Japanese and it is used by some of the groups in Japan that are pushing for joint custody. If you have any friends in Japan please send them this link and ask them to sign the petition. Then they can send it to the address at the bottom of the petition. The petition will end up going to the Diet. The more petitions that are sent in the stronger our case will be for joint custody.

The timing of this, right before President Obama’s arrival in Japan, is so obvious.  Hopefully President Obama doesn’t feel the Japanese child abduction issue has been defused just because of this one gesture.  The fact is, Christopher Savoie, like thousands of other parents worldwide, has children in Japan who are being completely blocked out of his life because of the culture and legal system in Japan.  President Obama, please do something about it!


Thank you, Paul Toland, for providing the following–

For those of you who are following the President’s trip, here are the two most important times to be watching:

1. 13 November, 7 PM (Japan Time), 5 AM (Eastern Standard Time) – President Obama’s meeting with Prime Minister Hatoyama, to be followed by a Joint Press Conference.

The latest on the 13 November schedule (all times are Japan times):

6:50PM THE PRESIDENT and Prime Minister Hatoyama of Japan hold bilateral meeting

7:10PM THE PRESIDENT and Prime Minister Hatoyama hold expanded bilateral meeting

8:20PM THE PRESIDENT and Prime Minister Hatoyama hold joint press conference

8:45PM THE PRESIDENT and Prime Minister Hatoyama have dinner

That means the Press Conference will be held at 6:20 AM Eastern Standard
Time in the United States.

2. 14 November, 10 AM (Japan Time), 13 Nov 8 PM (Eastern Standard Time) – President Obama will be making a speech at Suntory Hall in Tokyo, in which he will discuss his view of U.S. engagement in Asia and reaffirm the strength of Washington’s alliance with Japan. While I doubt he will address the child abduction issue at the Speech at Suntory Hall, I am hoping he does mention the issue at the Joint Press Conference, or if he does not mention it, I am hoping the press will ask about it during the Q&A. Unfortunately, the Q&A is usually only about 3 questions from each country’s press (3 Questions from Japanese press, 3 questions from American Press). There’s almost no chance that the Japanese press will raise it, so let’s hope the US press will raise it within the context of their 3 allowed questions.

Tokyo Families article

November 11, 2009

Interesting article covering Paul Toland’s case as well as quite a few others:

Japan Times

Stars and Stripes

Thank you, Minoru Matsutani of Japan Times and Charlie Reed of Stars and Stripes, for helping get this news out!

This amazing article by Richard Cory reflects the dilemma parents sometimes can face in Japan because of the dysfunctional family law system.

There is some very interesting reader feedback on his article:

This segment offers some good background about the legal situation in Japan and also an interesting interview with Christopher Savoie about his experiences in Japan.

22 U.S. Senators have signed a letter calling upon President Obama to take action on the international child abduction issue during his trip next week to Japan to meet with Prime Minister Hatoyama.

Here are links to the press releases from Senator Boxer’s and Senator Corker’s offices:

Senator Boxer press release

Senator Corker press release

Below is a copy of the actual letter.  We especially want to recognize the exceptional efforts of the office of Senator Barbara Boxer in taking the intiative on this and garnering bipartisan support for this letter.

11.5.09 Obama on Japanese Abduction11.5.09 Letter to President Obama P1

11.5.09 Obama on Japanese Abduction P211.5.09 Letter to President Obama P2

11.5.09 Obama on Japanese Abduction P311.5.09 Letter to President Obama P3

Letter to President Obama

November 5, 2009

President Obama will be making his first trip to Japan next week to meet with Prime Minister Hatoyama.  Below is a letter that Children’s Rights Council of Japan has sent President Obama.  We also have a link here so you can download a Word version of the letter that you can modify so you can send your own letter to President Obama and others.  Due to the limited time prior to his trip, it would be best to fax your letter to the White House at 202-456-2461.

Obama letter-Word Version

We are also trying to get senators to write President Obama about this, and they too can use this letter.  Here is a link to find the phone and contact details for all the senators:

Obama letter