White House Petition Drive

September 23, 2011

The message below is from Patrick McPike, a left-behind father with two children in Japan who has started a petition
drive on the White House website. If we can get 5,000 signatures in 30 days, we have to get an official answer from the White House. If we can get at least 150 signatures, it will be searchable on the White House website.

Please take a couple of minutes to get your signature on here and encourage everyone else you know to do the same. We really need more transparency on this issue as this petition is calling for.

I just started a petition on the White House Petitions site, We the People.
Will you sign it?

http://wh.gov/gKV

And then Share it?

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
PUBLICLY press Japan for the return of Abducted US Children and provide
transparent dialogs with Japan on this issue
Hundreds, if not thousands (Child Abduction in Japan… The REAL Numbers –
http://bit.ly/pteCAe ), of US Citizen Children have been abducted to, or
retained in, the country of Japan.

Japan has never returned a single child, has no legal concept of
“joint-custody”, no enforcement of visitation, no requirement for rules of
evidence on claims of DV.

The US Congress, in HR1326, has publicly condemned Japan and demanded the
immediate return of this children.

However, the Executive Branch has only held back-room discussions. Additionally,
there are persuasive claims the DoS is significantly downplaying the number of
actual cases.

There needs to be complete transparency into this process, and public
condemnation of Japan. These are our country’s children. We the people deserve
to know if they are being traded for bases or other government goals.

Advertisements

For many years Children’s Rights Council of Japan has estimated that the number of internationally abducted chidlren in Japan numbered in the thousands, with there being about 100 to 200 cases a year involving U.S. citizen children (http://www.crcjapan.com/id2.html).  These estimates were based on family abduction rates in the U.S.

Now, using a slightly different statistical approach, left-behind father Patrick McPike has calculated the number of cases involving U.S. children could cumulatively add up to over 10,000 cases since the early 1990’s.  His analysis seems sound and reasonable:

http://letterstomysons.com/2011/09/01/child-abduction-in-japan-the-real-numbers-part-1/

President Obama finally seems to be talking about this issue with the prime minister of Japan.  The first U.S. president to do so.

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/09/23/president-obama-praises-japan-and-its-effort-to-sign-the-hague-convention/

 

http://www.debito.org/?p=9398

Here is a youtube link with Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell’s comments about the meeting, in which he states that the need to address existing cases was also discussed when President Obama and Prime Minister Noda met:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsAI3C_1zOY

Final words from Akio Yokota

September 20, 2011

Thank you, Masako, for providing and translating this.

Akio Yokota, a left-behind Japanese father, committed suicide on September 11.

AKio Yokota Profile

My wife took my son in November 16th,

2010. Since then, I couldn’t contact then. One day I got a letter about divorce

settlement from Family Court. It said false DV, permission of abortion, financial

trouble, personal conflict and depression. On that’s time I was on medical

leave from job. It caused from depression.

Since then, I have tried to committed suicide

several times. I couldn’t get any evidence against DV and my wife didn’t have,

too. I filed about any other evidences in mediation. However, my wife said

everything was lie. 9 months after mediation, I met my son. We couldn’t see for

6 month. He didn’t remember father.

I have 2 hours visitation per month. My son

is 2 years old and still he doesn’t understand I am his father. My wife supposed

to not let give any visitation rights to me. I begged her about sleep-over visitation.

She refused to me. Then I begged 2 times visitation per month. She refused

this, too. She said this reason was my mental problem. My judge recommended to

have one more mediation about visitation and this judge said that I will give of

the court order 2 times visitation per month.

In my case, it is false DV.

I can raise my son. She can’t inculcate

moral to my son. It is very difficult to understand why she took my son from

me.

I was thinking to commit suicide many

times.

Still I am thinking now.

My psychiatrics doctor told me that if your son is coming

back, your depressions will be recovery.  He gave the medical certificate for me.

However, my life is hard.

I don’t have anything to live for.

I am smiling at my work. I haven’t left the house at my

day off. I remember my son and cry every day.

Kidnapping is crime and abuse.

Japanese law is nothing. The judge doesn’t think about

Children’s happiness.

Please give any good environment to our children.

Children are Japanese future.

Really I want to disappear from this world

I don’t have anything to live for and my life is

horrible.

Thank you for reading my profile.

Akio Yokota

http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.au/www/ministers/mcclelland.nsf/Page/MediaReleases_2011_ThirdQuarter_19September2011-Strongerlawstodealwithinternationalchildabduction

http://crnjapan.net/The_Japan_Childrens_Rights_Network/itn-jfayk.html

Akio Yokota, may you rest in peace.

This is the third reported suicide by a left-behind parent in Japan within the last year or so.  The other suicides involved Arnaud Simon, who took his life on November 20, 2010, and Christophe Guillermin, who committed suicide in June of 2010.

How many unreported suicide cases there are by left-behind parents being denied access to their children in Japan will never be known.


Kevin Brown is riding his bike through Japan and visiting local government officials to educate them about children’s rights to both parents:

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/09/11/japan-and-the-rights-of-children-kevin-brown-from-children-first/

This is an excellent report from the Australian perspective:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-07/japan-proves-safe-haven-for-abducted-kids/2875758

Japan proves safe haven for abducted kids

 

Posted September 07, 2011 21:09:00

 

Japan has not signed the Hague convention so it’s becoming notorious as a safe haven for parents who abduct their own children after a relationship has broken down.

 

Sarah Dingle

 

Source: 7.30 | Duration: 8min 45sec

 

Topics: divorcecrimefamily-lawparentingaustraliajapan

 

Transcript

 

CHRIS UHLMANN, PRESENTER: Japan is gaining an unwanted reputation as a black hole for international child abductions. Alone of all the industrialised nations, it hasn’t signed the Hague convention, which mediates international custody disputes, so it’s becoming notorious as a safe haven for parents who abduct their own children after a relationship has broken down. In Australia, a small but increasingly vocal group of so-called “left-behind parents” are suffering the pain of having their children held in a distant country against their wishes. Sarah Dingle reports.

SARAH DINGLE, REPORTER: After a separation, some parents will go to enormous lengths to secure access to their child.

Matthew Wyman has come to Japan. But the visit has turned ugly.

There are no winners in domestic disputes, but in Matthew Wyman’s case, his desperation runs deep.

He says his two sons were abducted.

MATTHEW WYMAN: Around Christmas 2008 my wife informed me that she wanted to take the kids back to Japan for a holiday, and I was a little bit surprised because I was thinking, “We don’t have that much money to go to Japan.” After a few weeks, I got a phone call from her just literally telling me that, “I’m not coming back.”

SARAH DINGLE: Matthew Wyman realised not only was the marriage over, but his role as a father was in jeopardy. He’s returned to Japan with his own parents to try to spend time with his children.

MATTHEW WYMAN: In Australia, we have dual custody, we have shared custody, but in Japan there’s only – it’s basically possession is nine tenths of the law. Whoever has the children keeps the children.

SARAH DINGLE: In Japan, the issue of international left-behind parents is getting harder to ignore.

At a recent protest in Tokyo, timed to coincide with the visit of US Vice President Joe Biden, parents said they’d had enough.

PROTESTOR: Just gotta bring back our children. We have rights to see our children, parents have rights to see their children.

IAN KENNEDY, FAMILY LAWYER: There is a feeling that Japan is a superior place culturally and – in terms of its social mores and that it’s the ideal place for Japanese children or children perceived to be Japanese to live and be brought up.

SARAH DINGLE: Family lawyer Ian Kennedy has advised on a number of cases of abduction to Japan. Unlike more than 80 nations, Japan still has not signed the Hague convention on international child abduction.

IAN KENNEDY: The principles that apply in most parts of the developed world in particular don’t apply to Japan and there’s not the automatic ability for the Japanese courts to send the children back to their country of habitual residence under the convention.

SARAH DINGLE: Japan’s failure to sign doesn’t just hang over the heads of parents whose children are already gone. This Sydney father of two, who we can’t identify, is trying to stop his Japanese ex-wife taking the children to Japan on holiday.

ANONYMOUS MAN: The main fear is obviously, you know, my kids returning to Japan, to the black hole of Tokyo, and not getting to see them, having no legal rights to see them. Their names’ll probably be changed, they’ll probably move address and I won’t know where they are and it’ll be basically like I’m a dead parent.

SARAH DINGLE: After separation, he realised his true predicament, where any short Japanese holiday could become forever.

ANONYMOUS MAN: The first step was to hide their passports, and I hid the passports and then found out that she had the Japanese passports. So then I put them on airport watch list. The way the law works, the father normally loses out and she’ll probably get a holiday and I’ve gotta pray that she’ll return, but the chances are she won’t.

SARAH DINGLE: He’s now filming a documentary about a group of Australian left-behind parents with children in Japan to publicise their plight.

MATTHEW WYMAN: I do think it’s very important for the Australian public to be aware that Australian kids are being abducted to Japan.

SARAH DINGLE: Matthew Wyman did manage to spend time with his children during this visit. 7.30 contacted his ex-wife, who says they’re still in mediation and she rejects claims of abduction.

A spokesman for the Japanese consulate in Brisbane told 7.30 Japan is aware of Matthew Wyman’s case and has advised him to seek assistance from the Australian embassy in Tokyo.

In May, after years of international pressure, Japan said it would prepare to sign the Hague convention, but since then, there’s been no action.

ROBERT MCCLELLAND, ATTORNEY-GENERAL: It would probably take about 18 months, I suppose, from signature to an inquiry by the treaties committee to the development of legislation. You’d have to assume you’d be looking at least that in Japan if they decide to exceed to the convention.

SARAH DINGLE: How much confidence do you have that Japan will actually sign the Hague Convention.

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: Oh, look, I’m quietly confident that they will sign.

SARAH DINGLE: But in the meantime, the international loophole occupied by Japan is so large that even non-Japanese couples can be caught up in it.

So this is the last time you saw him?

ANONYMOUS WOMAN: Yes, this is the last visit and that’s the day we had to say goodbye.

SARAH DINGLE: This Australian woman’s 10-year-old son has been held in Japan by his Australian father since the boy was three. We can’t show you her face because it could jeopardise when she’s next allowed to see her child.

ANONYMOUS WOMAN: We went over and while we were there, he took the passport and I wasn’t able to return with our son and he’s been holding him there ever since. I contacted the embassy first up -’cause I really didn’t know the complications it would cause. I just assumed we were Australian and they’d be able to help us. But they basically said there’s nothing they can do and I need to get a lawyer in Japan.

SARAH DINGLE: You’re not Japanese and your partner’s not Japanese, and yet your child is being held in Japan against your wishes.

ANONYMOUS WOMAN: It just seems like a safe haven for parents that want to take their child – keep their child from the other parent.

SARAH DINGLE: For this group of left-behind parents, their meetings are their only source of support and comfort. And for most here, there’s little hope in sight. The Attorney-General has revealed that whatever Japan does, their situation will not improve.

If Japan signs the Hague convention, is it your understanding that that will apply retrospectively to existing cases?

ROBERT MCCLELLAND: Unfortunately, no is the answer to that. It – the obligations apply once the convention has been ratified, so it won’t apply retrospectively, as I understand it, to existing cases.

ANONYMOUS WOMAN: It’s just really sad that I’ve missed so much of his life. I have to just accept that I see my son once a year and wait – basically wait until he’s an adult and can make his own choices.

MATTHEW WYMAN: I’ve come to the realisation that they won’t be returned to Australia. I have to accept that. And I have to remind my wife and her mother that please remember that they’re not 100 per cent Japanese; they’re also 50 per cent Australian.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Sarah Dingle with that report.