This resolution sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer condemns the international abduction of children and specifically mentions Japan several times.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/sres543

Official Summary

This summary was written by the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress. GovTrack did not write and has no control over these summaries.

9/19/2012–Reported to Senate amended.
Condemns the international abduction of all children.
Urges countries identified by the Department of State as noncompliant or demonstrating patterns of noncompliance with the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction to fulfill their commitment to implement the Convention. Calls on all countries:
(1) to become a party to the Convention and institute measures to address cases of international parental child abduction, and
(2) that have not become a party to the Convention to develop a mechanism for the resolution of cases of international parental child abduction that occur prior to becoming a party to the Convention. Expresses the sense of the Senate that the United States should:
(1) pursue the return of each child abducted by a parent from the United States to another country through all appropriate means, facilitate access by the left-behind parent if the child is not returned, and, where appropriate, seek the extradition of the abductor parent;
(2) take all appropriate measures to ensure that a child abducted to a Convention country is returned to the child’s country of habitual residence;
(3) use diplomacy to encourage other countries to become a party to the Convention and to encourage countries that have not become a party to the Convention to develop a mechanism to resolve cases of international child abduction that occur prior to becoming a party to the Convention; and
(4) review the advisory services made available to U.S. citizens by the Department of State, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and other U.S. government agencies to improve the prevention of such child abduction from the United States, and to ensure that effective assistance is provided to U.S. citizen parents of such abducted children.
Advertisements

These statistics were provided by John Gomez of Kizuna-CPR (http://kizuna-cpr.org/meeting_summary_november_24_2012):

“4.6 million divorces 1992 – 2010, one child per divorce on average, 58% loss of access according to NHK Close Up Gendai yields an estimated 2.7 million children in Japan who have lost their relationship with their parent during this time, which is a human rights violation. It is about 150,000 children per year.”
That means every hour an additional 17 children living in Japan are being shut out of the life of one of their parents.  Considering the cumulative impact, not just in terms of the number of children involved, but also left-behind parents, family members, and others, this problem is having a devastating effect on a sizeable percentage of the Japanese population.

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T121116004864.htm

 

Many important bills being shelved, scrapped

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Many important bills were hastily passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday, including a bill allowing the government to issue deficit-covering bonds, ahead of the imminent dissolution of the lower house.

However, there are quite a few important bills that were scrapped or shelved, such as a bill for Diet approval of Japan joining the Hague Convention, which stipulates procedures among member states to resolve international child custody issues. A bill to introduce the My Number system, which would provide each person with a unique identification number, also was canned.

During a debate with main opposition Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said he could dissolve the lower house Friday. After that, the LDP and its opposition coalition partner New Komeito softened their stances regarding Diet affairs.

At its plenary session on Thursday, the lower house passed bills such as the deficit bond bill and a revision to the National Pension Law, which will reduce pension benefits that are currently 2.5 percent higher than they should be in deflation-adjusted terms in three stages from October 2013.

These bills were enacted after being passed in the House of Councillors on Friday.

In order to resolve as many bills as possible, both houses held two plenary sessions Friday.

The issue of electoral reform of the lower house, which was the main point of concern before the dissolution of the house, became complicated, as two separate bills were passed in the lower house.

The Diet affairs committee chairmen of the DPJ, the LDP and Komeito met Thursday morning to discuss how to handle two separate bills related to electoral reform of the lower house, submitted by the DPJ and the LDP.

During the meeting, they compromised on various points. First, they agreed to drop from the DPJ-sponsored bill a plan to cut a single-seat constituency from each of five prefectures in the lower house without increasing other prefectures’ single-seat electoral districts.

However, they decided to keep in the bill another provision to reduce the number of lower house seats contested through proportional representation and then to partially introduce a new method in the proportional representation system that benefits small parties.

The three parties’ Diet affairs committee chairmen then agreed to put both the modified DPJ-sponsored bill and the LDP-sponsored bill to a vote. The LDP bill also includes trimming five single-seat constituencies in the lower house.

Following their negotiations, the lower house’s special committee on establishing political ethics and revising the Public Offices Election Law voted on both bills separately. The modified DPJ-sponsored bill was passed with the support of the DPJ and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), and the LDP-sponsored bill was passed with the support of the LDP, Komeito and the DPJ. Subsequently, both bills were passed in a plenary meeting in the lower house and were sent to the upper house for a vote.

In the upper house, which is dominated by opposition parties, only the LDP-sponsored bill was passed and enacted, resulting in the plan of trimming five single-seat constituencies being realized ahead of other issues.

The three parties did not narrow the two bills down to one, out of consideration for DPJ members who insist on the party-sponsored proposal to cut the number of lower house seats contested  through proportional representation.

Meanwhile, a bill to approve the nation’s participation in the Hague Convention and another one to implement its membership were scrapped.

Among the Group of Eight industrialized nations, only Japan has not ratified the treaty, because of a lack of Diet approval.

Western countries see the situation as problematic, prompting concern that scrapping the bills may invite criticism from the international community.

Regarding bills related to integrated reform of the social security and tax systems, a modified bill to introduce the My Number system, which was largely agreed upon by the three leading parties at the previous ordinary Diet session, was scrapped.

The three parties have given up on submitting a bill to promote regenerative medicine to prevent the bill  from being scrapped. The bill aims to encourage research on the topic using induced pluripotent stem and other cells and put the findings into practical use.

“I’m extremely sorry about this. We have no choice but to submit the bill to the next ordinary Diet session,” said Chikara Sakaguchi, Komeito member and former health minister who played a central role in compiling the bill.

On Thursday, the Noda Cabinet approved legislation concerning local civil service reform that will grant local government officials the right to collective labor agreements, one of the fundamental labor rights. The legislation was submitted to the lower house.

The labor right was promised in the DPJ’s policy pledges and organizations supporting the party have been calling for submission of corresponding legislation. This had prompted criticism from the LDP that the promise was merely an electoral ploy.

(Nov. 17, 2012)

During the past year the U.S. Embassy in Japan deleted a page from its website that included statistics for the U.S., Canada, France, Australia, and the United Kingdom showing the tremondous growth in the number of international child abduction cases by Japanese spouses since 2000, with the number of cases having quadrupled from 2005 to 2009.

It is not clear why this information is being suppressed, but CRC of Japan has retrieved this information and is reposting it on our blog, at the following link:

Rapid Increase in Child Abductions to Japan

More on Keisuke’s Law

August 23, 2012

NBC interview with Randy Collins:

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/video/#!/on-air/as-seen-on/OC-Father-Champions-Bill-to-Prevent-Parental-Abductions/167124775

Press Releases from Senator Mimi Walters:

Legislature Sends Two of Senator Walters’ Bills to Governor

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Contact: Everett Rice @ (916) 651-4033

SACRAMENTO — Today, two bills authored by Senator Mimi Walters (R-Irvine), SB 1206 and SB 1174, were approved unanimously by the Legislature and now make their way to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.

SB 1206, also known as Keisuke’s (Case-K’s) Law, would prevent parents in a custody dispute from applying for new or replacement passports for their children without consent from the other parent.  In addition, the measure would allow the District Attorney to order a freeze on the California assets of an individual who is alleged to have abducted a child.

This bill was introduced at the request of a constituent, whose son, Keisuke, was abducted to Japan from Orange County in June 2008 and has not been returned.  Since his son’s abduction Randy Collins has committed his life to deterring future child abductions.  SB 1206 was approved by the State Senate on a 37-0 vote.

The California Senate also approved SB 1174 on a 36-0 vote.  The measure would allow 56-foot motorsports trailers to operate within California.  Currently, California is the only state that does not allow these vehicles to drive within its borders.  This prohibition has created a disincentive for racing organizations and teams to attend events held at California race tracks.  SB 1174 removes a needless barrier to transporting racing vehicles and team equipment in California.  As a result, the bill will enhance local economies by encouraging NASCAR and NHRA teams to continue bringing their cars to California and participating in local racing events.

###

Keisuke’s Law has been unanimously passed in the California legislature.  The news is started to be noted in the Japanese media.  Hopefully this legislation will become an important tool in helping prevent future child abductions to Japan:

http://www.47news.jp/news/2012/08/post_20120821140001.html#fb-root

http://travel.state.gov/abduction/abduction_5721.html

 

International Parental Abduction Open House

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State Washington, DC
May 21, 2012


Thank you, Janice. Let me start by saying I’m sorry you’re here. I really truly am. I’m sorry that you’ve had this terrible experience of being separated from your child or your children. One day is too long, years is just unthinkable. There’s really not much that I or any of our officials can say that will fill the anger and frustration, disappointment, the big hole in the center of your hearts, but we wanted you to come today so at least you would know what we are trying to do to help you be reunited.

I have worked on children’s issues my entire adult life and when I got to the State Department, I became much more familiar than I even had as a Senator or First Lady with the growing problem of abducted children. The world in which we live where we are all so much more mobile and there are so many opportunities for people to move quickly and there are so many countries that still yet fail to understand the human costs of shielding abductors; so, I decided that we would redouble, triple our efforts to do everything we possibly could. Assistant Secretary Janice Jacobs was eager to partner with me to try to figure out a path forward.

I appointed the first ever Special Advisor for Children’s Issues Ambassador Susan Jacobs and she has been literally on the road, going from country to country; she just got back from the UK, Tunisia, and Morocco. We have also increased our collaboration with the FBI, Interpol, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and many nongovernmental organizations who are working with us on this critical matter. We have also made it a priority even amongst our senior officials who do not have direct responsibility, so when they are meeting with officials in a country where we know there are abducted children it’s raised at the highest level. I have personally raised it time and time again; I’ve raised specific cases, I know President Obama has as well on occasion. During the last three years the State Department has doubled the number of officers handling abduction cases and I can attest to they come to work every day thinking of what more they can do that day to get your children home.

I know many of you speak with them on a regular basis and we welcome your input, your ideas that perhaps could lead to a successful outcome. We are pursuing every available avenue and we’re also trying to prevent abductions in the first place from occurring or reoccurring through our Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program and we are pushing The Hague Abduction Convention; we’re making slow but steady progress. When we started there was a huge void in Asia, countries had not adopted the convention were moving them forward, were getting closer to full accession in a couple of places.

We believe that The Hague Convention is the best tool for deterring and resolving abductions so we want more and more countries to join. We pursue this separate and apart from every other diplomatic issue that we have with any country, because we think this crosses boundaries this is such a universal matter, and there are cases of abductees in our country and so we make it very clear that we expect reciprocity we expect people to work with us just like we are trying to work with them. So there are a lot of efforts taking place and you’ll hear in more detail today about them and I encourage you to ask every question, make every point that you possibly feel is important to you because we want to be your partners in bringing about the return of your child or children.

I guess the final thing I would say is that I cannot pretend to understand the pain and frustration that you individually suffer it’s just unimaginable to me and I can certainly appreciate the sleepless nights and the internet searches and the conviction that something more could be done and needs to be done right away; if there is, we want to hear, but I can tell you we rack our brains, we do everything we can think of to do. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good and other ideas that doesn’t mean we can’t be more effective because that’s part of the reason we invited you here is to give us your constructive criticism and your best thinking; but I want you to know this Department is one hundred percent committed and the people you’ll meet today and you’ll talk to led by Janice and Susan are absolutely trying in every way they can to reunite you.

So I encourage you to not only get the most out of today, but to stay in touch with us, to keep providing any information, ideas that you have and to know that we’re going to be there with you as your partner in trying to end what has been for each of you a very painful time. So Janice and Susan I guess you’ll come up and tell everybody what’s next on the program and I’ll get a full readout and report and I’ll look forward to continuing to work for you and with you. Thank you all very much.

 

William Lake’s daughter was abducted by his Russian wife to Japan 7 years ago.  The daughter, now 15, voluntarily returned to the U.S. to be with her father.

http://www.weartv.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wear_vid_20975.shtml

The upcoming street demonstration by left-behind parents and their supporters, coinciding with Vice President Biden’s visit to Japan, will be held on August 23 in Tokyo.  This article in Modern Tokyo Times provides more details and background:

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/08/21/japan-and-child-abduction-demonstration-on-aug-23-in-tokyo-during-the-visit-of-v-p-biden/

Children living in the Fukushima area are beginning to show internal radiation exposure in urine tests that have been conducted recently:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/30/fukushima-children-radiation-tests-caesium

 

Quite a few internationally abducted children are living in or near the radiation zone and left-behind parents are helpless to do anything about it, and are not even able to communicate with them and get information about them.

How can subjecting children to this be considered “in the best interests of the child”?

The international parental abduction issue in Japan has gone beyond being a human rights issue and has become an issue concerning the protection of children’s health and lives.