http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120122p2g00m0dm109000c.html

 

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

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.

(Mainichi Japan) January 22, 2012

In an earlier blog entry (https://crcjapan.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/eye-opening-article-about-japanese-governments-involvement-in-child-abduction/ )  we posted the link to Part 1 of Richard Cory’s story of Japanese government involvement in parental child abductions.  The Japan Times just published the second part:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100928zg.html

This case is not unique and reflects the reality in Japan as far as parental child abduction is concerned.

Here is a link to a Japanese language version:

http://www.japaneseforjustice.com/

Japan Times, thank you for publishing this.

At a town hall meeting about international parental child abduction to Japan held on September 17 in Washington, D.C., Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Janice L. Jacobs announced the latest statistics for the number of cases involving child abductions to Japan.  From 1994 to June 30, 2010 214 cases involving 300 children were opened with the U.S. State Department.  Currently there are 95 active cases involving 134 children.  These statistics are higher than statistics previously released by the State Department.

Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Dr. Kurt M. Campbell also announced at the meeting that the international child abduction issue would be brought up by President Obama at a scheduled bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan in New York on September 23, when President Obama will be speaking before the United Nations General Assembly.

The town hall meeting was the fourth such meeting held in Washington within the last 12 months and was attended by approximately two dozen left-behind parents with active child abduction cases involving children being held in Japan.

It is often forgotten that there are many other victims of Japan’s inhumane family law system, beyond the children and non-custodial parents, that cuts children off from one half of their biological roots.  Here is an American grandmother’s perspective:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100330hn.html

Support HR3240

February 10, 2010

If you have not done so yet, please take a look at HR3240, and leave comments in support of it at:

http://www.washingtonwatch.com/bills/show/111_HR_3240.html

We’ve been told that MANY POWERFUL people in DC pay attention to this site.

Also please contact your state’s U.S. Congressional delegation to ask for their support of this legislation.  It will do much to encourage countries like Japan to promote children’s rights to both parents.

 Japanese father Masahiro Yoshida was profiled in CBS News (see link below) and other media sources last October.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/07/ap/asia/main5369450.shtml

He has been arrested by the Japanese authorities after taking his daughter from a day care center:

http://kaiju-john.blogspot.com/2010/01/masahiro-yoshida-arrested.html?zx=d6b4d7b49eae234a

Announcing a new Meetup for Left Behind Parents Japan!

What: Signature-collecting campaign to save Kevin and candlelight for our children

When: December 19, 2009 1:00 PM

Where:
In front of Odakyu department store
1-1-3 Nishi-shinjyuku, Shinjyuku
Tokyo
080-3388-3618( my cell)

Christmas is coming and our hearts feel empty. We miss Christmas time and our children is not with us.
Whethere you are still reeling from the shock of what’s going on your life or need to feel like you are not alone.

The first event

Kayoko Yamada: Her husband is Czechoslovakian and their son Kevin who is 5 years old . He abducted her son from Japan to somewhere on August 23. He said that we were going to buy toy. And they never come back. Her husband phoned her ” we are in Germany”. Then they are still missing.
We will do signature-collecting campaign to save Kevin.
Time: from 1PM to 3PM

The second event

We will sing Christmas song for our children.
I prepare Santa clause and reindeer clothes. For passer by in the street, we make balloons, give them and sing Christmas songs for our children.
Christmas comes only once a year and parents want to fulfill their children’s wishes for this special occasion,
Time ; from 4:30PM to 6:30PM

The third event

Christmas party will be Izakaya.
Please bring 500yen present.
We will give and take each other.
Please reply RSVP. (Because er have to reserve Izakaya)
Izakaya is cheap price and it will be around from 2000yen to 3000yen.

Learn more here:
http://www.meetup.com/Left-Behind-Parents-Japan/calendar/12081373/

Does the overwhelming victory of Yukio Hatoyama’s DPJ mean an end to the LDP’s long history of opposing any progress or resolution concerning child abduction issues?  Let’s hope so, because it’s about time.  Below is a partial listing of Japanese quotes on parental child abduction/Hague Convention since 1996:

1996 – “Kunio Koide, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official, said his government does not see the need for signing the treaty because Japan’s Protection of Personal Liberties Act prevents an individual from being illegally restrained. But Koide acknowledged that it would be difficult to prosecute a parent under that act.” Lost in a Loophole: Foreigners Who Are on the Losing End of a Custody Battle in Japan Don’t Have Much Recourse; Evelyn Iritani, Los Angeles Times, Thursday, September 19, 1996, Page E-1

1999 – “Though it helped draft the convention, Japan has yet to sign. Asked why, an official from the legal affairs bureau of the foreign ministry commented that Japan already has legislation to deal with child abduction. He cited the Protection of Personal Liberty Act, enacted shortly after World War II primarily to prohibit the buying and selling of people. Pressed further, the official admitted current legislation may not always be sufficient. In certain cases of international parental abduction, he said, “I think in Japan there is no way to bring back the child. It’s true, yes.” The official added that the ministry has invited experts on international law to discuss the practicalities of joining the Hague Convention. “I cannot promise when Japan will enter this convention,” he said.” Access Denied Children Innocent Victims of Custody Battles; Tim Large, The Daily Yomiuri, Saturday, December 11, 1999, page 7.

2000 – “A Foreign Ministry official, however, said pressure from within Japan to sign the treaty has yet to materialize.” Parents Driven to Kidnap Children; Rob Giloohy, Japan Times, December 13, 2000.

2002 – “According to an official in the Treaties Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ratification is not likely soon, since that would entail overhauling many domestic laws and procedures. “It would take a major initiative between government branches and ministries,” the official said. “This kind of cooperation does not exist at this time. The only signals we are getting are from the United States. At the domestic level, the government doesn’t feel the need exists.”” Estranged Parents Snatch Their Own Kids in “Abduction Friendly” Japan; Paul Baylis, Asahi Shimbun News Service, January 27, 2002.

2003 – “A spokesman for the treaty division of Japan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said the Hague Convention has not been ratified because “we’ve been studying it” since its ratification.” Divorced From Their Children In Japan, Foreign Fathers Have Few Custody Options; Doug Struck and Sachiko Sakamaki, Washington
Post, Thursday, July 17, 2003; Page A9

2006 – An official at the Foreign Ministry said, “We consider it an important treaty, but as we have to go over its legal aspects as well, we do not yet know when we can sign it.  The Justice Ministry has been reviewing the convention with the help of legal experts for some years.” Increased cross-national divorces raise concerns over parental abductions, Japan Economic Newswire, January 3, 2006, AND Japan remains haven for parental abductions, Sayo Sasaki, Kyodo News Service, January 6, 2006

2006 – “More than 25 years after the Hague Convention was completed, Japan’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs says that it is still studying the document. At a recent conference on child abduction held at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo, a spokesman said the Ministry wasn’t opposed to the convention, but that ‘at present there is not enough support from Japanese nationals.'” Think of the Children: Japan’s prejudiced legal system encourages desperate parents to abduct their own kids; Tokyo Metropolis Magazine, January 2006.

2006 – “The Director General gave the expected responses, none of which indicated a willingness to be forward leaning and helpful. He pointed out that the Diet would have to agree to the Convention and that from a sociological and political point of view there is no Japanese constituency for such a move. He added some “personal” thoughts suggesting that abductions affected mostly military families, a contention the Consul General refuted. Director General Komatsu also suggested that the Japanese legal system is open to non-Japanese. While this is true, we countered that the courts have no power to enforce child support, visitation, or custody rulings and agreements. Therefore, this was not a useful recourse.” Letter from Andrea R. Mihailescu, Office of Children’s Issues, US State Department referring to Assistant Secretary of State Maura Harty’s meeting with Ichiro Komatsu, Director General of the International Legal Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA); February 26, 2006.

2007 – “There is no reason to hope for change any time soon: Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it is still studying the document, more than 25 years after its inception.” Remember the Children, Kevin Buckland, Tokyo Metropolis Magazine, January 19, 2007.

2008 – The Japanese government would not comment on specific cases of child abduction and in an exclusive statement to ABCNEWS.com never used the word “abduction.” “We sympathize with the plight of parents and children who are faced with issues of this kind, which are increasing in number as international exchange between people expands,” reads a statement from the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. The embassy said that The Hague Convention was inconsistent with Japanese law, but that joining the convention was still under review. Spirited Away: Japan Won’t Let Abducted Kids Go, Russell Goldman, ABC News, Feb 26, 2008

2008 – “Japan is taking steps to move toward joining the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This will likely take a long time” Mitoji Yabunaka, Vice Foreign Minister, Japan, in a meeting with John Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State, May 8, 2008.

2008 – “The Justice Ministry will begin work to review current laws with an eye on meeting requirements under the 1980 Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.” Japan to Sign Hague Child Abduction Convention, Asahi Shinbun, Miako Ichikawa, May 10, 2008

2008 – “The ministry is at the beginning stage of considering accession to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.” “Mofa has recently decided that the Treaty had to be reviewed and considered by MOJ. Because domestic laws must be changed, ratification will “take a long time.”” Satsuki Eda, Japan Diet Upper House President meeting with US Embassy officials, September 21, 2008.

2008 – “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice are giving favorable consideration to signing the convention.” Mainichi Daily News, November 6, 2008.

2009 – “Japan has ratified many parts of The Hague Convention treaties over the years, but in terms of repatriation of kids, they have been claiming for 20 years now to be “studying” the issue. That’s Japan-speak for “we’re not interested in making any changes.”” Japan Inches Toward Signing the Hague Treaty on Child Abductions, Terrie Llyod, Japan Inc., April 4, 2009.

2009 – “Foreign Minister Nakasone said that Japan is studying its participation in the convention.” March 31, 2009 meeting between Foreign Minister Nakasone and Secretary Clinton.

Here is the link with more details:

http://www.meetup.com/Left-Behind-Parents-Japan/calendar/11077307/?a=cv1o_grp

I just received the following information about a street protest planned in Tokyo on Aug. 29:

Knet-joint custody movement network is a new group of
Munakata who is ex-leader of Oyako-net.

HP http://kyodosinken.com/
Blog http://oyakojimukyoku.seesaa.net/
(all in Japanese, sorry)

8/29(Sat.)
Meeting place:Class room 1304,
east campus,Hitotsubashi University

Demonstration starts from small park near “Starbucs”
Kunitachi Daigaku Dori, 5 min. from Kunitachi station
south exit. start time: about 16:30

mobile phone number : 090-8476-3243 (Keiko Ukai)