According to United to End Genocide, a U.S. based anti-genocide organization, Dr. Kurt Campbell, a former high profile State Department official, is now involved in commercial efforts in Burma that may further encourage human rights abuses in that country.

During his years at the State Department Dr.Campbell chaired at least half a dozen meetings in Washington with left-behind parents and other left-behind family members with existing cases involving abducted children in Japan.  Participants traveled from all parts of the country at their own expense to attend the meetings, many having to spend significant funds to do so.

Each of these meetings, which were specific to existing child abduction cases in Japan, generally included about three dozen or more left-behind parents and family members, and at least one to two dozen officials from the State Department and other federal agencies.  The meetings were abruptly terminated by the State Department after July of 2011.  No significant progress was made on existing cases by the State Department and the State Department failed to secure the return of any abducted U.S. citizen children despite there being long standing criminal charges against many of the abductors holding the children in Japan.

http://endgenocide.org/former-u-s-official-encourages-investment-in-unstable-state-of-burma/

Former U.S. Official Encourages Investment In Unstable State Of Burma

Posted on March 27, 2013 by Julia Boccagno

Kurt Campbell has been invested in lifiting sanctions in Burma, despite human rights abuses. AFP/Getty ImagesKurt Campbell has been invested in lifting sanctions in Burma, despite ongoing human rights abuses. AFP/Getty ImagesFormer U.S. Official Encourages Human Rights Abuses to ContinueDespite opposition from the U.S. Campaign for Burma (USCB), Kurt Campbell, former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, strongly influenced the Obama administration to lift sanctions on Burma in 2012 that were originally imposed more than two decades ago. The economic sanctions were enacted in September 1988 after the military regime committed human rights violations when they killed thousands during a series of peaceful protests.

While the Burmese Army, blamed for the systematic murder and displacement of innocent men, women, and children, continues to carry out crimes against humanity in the Kachin State, Kurt Campbell, in conjunction with his new consulting firm, the Asia Group, will lead the ACO Investment Group (ACO) in order to secure a contract to upgrade and modernize the Yangon International Airport in Burma. The ACO will work closely with Tin Naing Tun, a retired Brigadier General of the Myanmar Army and head of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA).

Instead of reinstating sanctions on Burma, Campbell would rather encourage U.S. investment with human rights abusers in order to profit. He states, “This is a thrilling opportunity to help advance the progress Burma has made over the past couple years by enhancing prospects for economic investments, and ensuring connectivity for Burma with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the world.”

U.S. Companies Support Campbell

Other consortium members of ACO include Boeing Professional Services, Burns & McDonnell Engineering, Fentress Architects, MITRE Corporation, and Union Consulting. Campbell plans on leading a trip to Burma early next month to pitch the ACO bid. According to the DCA, seven pre-qualified international firms are competing for the tendering of airport construction as well.

The Director General of DCA claims that the new airport, Hanthawaddy International Airport, is necessary because the Yangon International Airport cannot accommodate for the rising number of travelers to the country. Arrivals to Burma are expected to surge around 3 million in 2012—a 22% increase on last year that places it above its 2.7 million threshold.  Potential plans state that the Hanthawaddy International airport, located in the central Bago region, will occupy a site nine times larger than its original and will have the capacity to hold 5.5 million passengers.

Revolving Door Politics Corrupt Burma

As one of the key architects of the Obama administration’s Asia “pivot,” Campbell doesn’t waste time transitioning from a legislator to a consultant. After finishing his tenure in public office in February 2013, he announced a few days later that his former deputy assistant secretary, Nirav Patel, would be the chief operating officer of his newly established advisory and investment network, the Asia Group.  The Asia Group focuses on bringing U.S. markets into Asian markets and vice versa.

Revolving door politics refer to the movement of high-level employees from public to private sector jobs. Therefore, there is a “revolving door” between the two sectors as many legislators become consultants for the industries they once regulated. Consequently, conflicts of interest cloud the reasoning of such leaders to practice unbiased decision making. Because Burma has an extended and complicated history of human rights abuses implemented by a brutal military regime, any error of judgment could have irreversible effects on the already unstable country.

http://baltimorepostexaminer.com/parents-urge-japan-to-return-abducted-children/2012/07/10

 

Parents urge Japan to return abducted children

BY  · JULY 10, 2012 · NO COMMENTS
·

Jeffrey and Mochi

Imagine getting a phone call stating that your children have been kidnapped. Your spouse has taken your kids to Japan, using the country’s laws to maintain custody. Every day becomes an exhausting task of contacting government officials to help, but little is accomplished.

This scenario is very real to Patrick McPike and the parents of nearly 400 abducted U.S. children living in Japan. Including Japanese children, an estimated 10,000 have been abducted by parents within Japan.

Japan has never returned any of them.

McPike traveled with his family to Japan to complete an assignment for his company. His marriage strained and his wife did the unthinkable.

“It seemed like a good opportunity to provide my wife’s family with an opportunity to spend some time with their grandchildren while they were still young,” McPike said. “When my assignment was up and it was time to come home, my wife abducted the children.”

McPike’s wife cut him off from communication with his two sons, Kai and Koh. The children became victims of Japanese law, which treats child abduction as a custody dispute rather than a felony crime. His wife is living in Japan, but could not be reached or found for comment.

Japan’s view of child abduction is different from the rest of the world. They are not a member of The Hague Convention – a treaty designed to return internationally abducted children to their home nations – and their courts favor one parent having sole custody. In 90 percent of cases, the rights go to the mother.

Japan is revising laws to open the possibility ratifying The Hague, but these changes may not be a total acceptance of The Hague in its current form.

“If we look at the domestic laws submitted by the government in order to execute the Convention, changes have been made with current Japanese public opinion and family court practices in mind, and it is questionable whether the intent of the Hague Convention has been incorporated,” said Takao Tanase, a professor who specializes in Japanese law.

During a U.S. Department of State briefing on U.S. child abductions to Japan, Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell spoke about persuading Japan to join The Hague.

“The President also very strongly affirmed the Japanese decision to enter into The Hague Convention,” Campbell said. “He asked that these steps be taken clearly and that the necessary implementing legislation would be addressed.

“This is a human tragedy, that unless you get to experience and get to know these brave parents, it’s just impossible to imagine,” Campbell said.

Getting Japan to join The Hague would be helpful, but McPike says it will not be enough, by itself, to bring back all the missing children.

“The Hague is not enforceable,” McPike said. “The decision to comply with a Hague return is determined by the courts of the abducting country. To solve the problem requires reform of the Japanese system.  They need to hold courts and judges responsible for following the law.  They need to enforce kidnapping laws consistently and they need to provide for joint-custody.”

There have also been concerns about the lack of action from the U.S. per policy, the U.S. Department of State has not formally requested from Japan the return of any abducted U.S. children.

Kai and Koh together laughing in happier times. (Courtesy photo.)

Susan Jacobs, a special adviser for children’s issues for the U.S. Department of State, said that individual cases are raised with the permission of parents and the parents are updated on these discussions. However, most parents say they have not been told of their personal cases being discussed with Japanese government officials.

Ironically, Japan refuses to return U.S. children but they want their own citizens who are abducted to be returned. From 1978-1981, about 16 Japanese teenagers were abducted by North Korea. Five of those children were returned and about six have died. The others are still missing. Japan has come to the U.S. and the U.N. asking for help to get North Korea to return these children.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama have met with Japanese families and assured they would provide help. Yet they have not met with any U.S. parents about their children being abducted to Japan, giving the appearance that they are more concerned with helping Japan.

Parents also question efforts by the U.S. Department of State because of the Mary Lake case.

In 2005, William Lake’s daughter was abducted by his ex-wife and taken to Japan. No one in the Lake family was Japanese, but William’s ex-wife knew of Japan’s custody laws.

On August 24, 2011, Mary Lake went to the U.S. Consulate in Japan and spoke with an official who told her to return home to her abductor since she did not have the money for a plane ticket to the states. Pressure was put on the U.S. Consulate and they aided Mary Lake’s effort to go home to her father the second time.

The return of Mary Lake gave parents of abducted children a small glimmer of hope for their own cases. For McPike and others like Jeffrey Morehouse and Randy Collins, getting their children back has become a daily job.

Morehouse and Collins serve as regional directors for Bring Abducted Children Home (BACHome), an organization established in 2010 to raise awareness of the missing U.S. citizen children kidnapped to in Japan.

Both men testified before the California State Senate Judiciary Committee for Senate Bill 1206 – Child Abduction Prevention. This is just one of many hearings they have attended to gather support.

During his testimony, Morehouse explained that he dropped his son Mochi off with his ex-wife for a parental visit in 2010. His ex-wife had threatened to kidnap Mochi before but the passport policy stated “when both parents have custody of the child, and the child is taken out of the country by one of the parents without consent of the other parent, it is punishable by criminal law.”

The Portland consulate violated the policy and provided his ex-wife with the passport for Mochi. Six days later he received a phone call from the police telling him his wife and child were missing. His wife kidnapped their son to Japan.

“In that moment, my life was shattered,” Morehouse said. “My days became consumed with dealing with local law enforcement, the U.S. Department of State, Japanese consular officials and anything I could think of to find my little boy.

“Every morning I wake up twice. The first time, I rush out of bed and prepare to get him ready for school. I can hear his voice in my head and my heart skips a beat. And then I really wake up and realize he’s still missing. The ongoing nightmare continues. The last time I held his hand, the last time I heard his voice was on Father’s Day 2010 and I’m still spending every day trying to locate my son.”

Morehouse, Collins and the other members of BacHome continue to exhaust their resources to locate their children.

They recently wrote a letter in advance of Clinton’s July 8 trip to Japan. Urging officials to help return their children, it was addressed to the Prime Minister to the Los Angeles consulate, four other Japanese consulates, members of the media, the Department of State, White House Office staff, all U.S. Senate offices, and members of the House of Representatives.

During Clinton’s visit about 40 parents of abducted children in Japan participated in a rally attempting to secure her help in pressuring Japan to address the issue of child custody.

Parents will continue to fight and hope that those in charge take notice and urge Japan to return their children.

“Imagine that tomorrow your child is going to be abducted,” Collins said. “What would you do today to prevent that from happening tomorrow?”

“I haven’t seen or heard from my son in almost four years. I don’t know what he’s thinking. But I did everything my government told me I was supposed to do to protect my son. I did everything that the courts told me to do to protect my son. Nobody protected my son.”

http://www.bachome.org/wordpress/2012/04/dos-and-child-abduction/

 

DoS and Child Abduction

Monday, April 16th, 2012

To the attention of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, the Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and all employees in the State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues:

This letter was received by Congressman Smith’s office during the week of the introduction of H.R.1940, the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction, Prevention and Return Act.

March 26, 2012

 

Dear Congressman Smith:

By now you are aware that Japan has agreed to sign the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction (the Hague treaty).  By now you are also aware that while Japan has “agreed” that it will sign the treaty, it does not seem to have any intention to actually honor it.  This fact can be gleaned from Japanese press articles and Parliamentary sessions that extol the virtues of several “exceptions” the Japanese plan to implement upon their joining of the Hague.

The ambiguity of these loopholes reveals that Japan’s accession to the Hague will be, at best, a misrepresentation of the country’s true intentions and, at worst, an outright fraud.

 

U.S. Department of State disregards the welfare of abducted children

On May 24, 2011 while sitting as Chairman for the Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights Subcommittee, you remarked that parentally abducted children lose half of their identity and half of their culture and “are at risk of serious emotional and psychological problems [including] anxiety, nightmares, mood swings, sleep disturbances, aggressive behavior, resentment, guilt and [fear]” and that these struggles continue on into adulthood.

Despite the litany of childhood problems you detailed in your speech, I deeply fear that the U.S. Department of State (“State Department”) has failed to research, or even acknowledge, the harm that can befall a child who has been parentally abducted.

For years, several organizations, including the American Bar Association and the U.S. Department of Justice, have maintained that parents with narcissistic personality disorder and/or sociopathic personality traits are more likely to kidnap their children than those who are emotionally “healthy”.  While countless researchers have examined the long-lasting consequences of being raised in these circumstances, it appears that the State Department has chosen to ignore this research in its entirety.

In 2011, the State Department Office of Children’s Issues met with parents of children who have been abducted to Japan.  At this meeting there was a guest speaker—a child welfare “expert” hired by the State Department to convince a group of grieving and traumatized parents that they should not worry about their children so much because abducted children are “resilient”.  Aside from the fact that this “expert” seemed to completely ignore all of the research that led to the implementation of the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act and the Hague treaty in the first place, the State Department’s flagrant disregard for the pain and emotional damage that these children suffer was unconscionable—to say nothing of the feelings of the parents who were seated in that room while having to listen to that discussion.  It is reminiscent of the radiation scandal where the poisoned victims were told that the version of chromium they were exposed to was actually “good for them”.  It is positively unthinkable.

 

Living with an emotionally unhealthy parent

Children who are raised with an emotionally unstable parent do not reach adulthood unscathed.  Indeed, children who have been parentally kidnapped are often raised in an emotionally abnormal environment without the benefit of a healthy parent to counter-balance the abductor’s erratic or destructive behavior.  Several researchers have examined the emotional fallout experienced by children who have been raised with parents who suffer from narcissistic or borderline personality disorder, and they have found that the impact of this damage is both deep and long-lasting.

 

Narcissistic personality disorder

Several publications have described that narcissism is a personality trait that increases the risk of parental abduction.  Narcissists often rationalize their violation of court orders and feel no remorse if they bend the rules to benefit themselves.1

A child of a narcissist can suffer severely because narcissists have “limited or no ability” to recognize their children as separate individuals with free will and needs of their own. Children who are raised by a narcissistic parent often feel extremely lonely and isolated because the parent can, to the outside world, appear to be self-confident and self-controlled, but in private can unleash a battery of constant criticisms and have difficulty controlling their anger.3  Eleanor Payson, a licensed family therapist, describes this nightmare as “a private one that can only be stopped by outside validation”.4  A child raised by a narcissistic parent must grow up quickly, repressing his or her true feelings in order to serve the narcissist’s needs.5

 

Borderline personality disorder

Bill Eddy is an attorney, mediator and clinical social worker.  He is an expert in child custody issues that arise when someone divorces a spouse with narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder.  He explains that parents with borderline personality disorder often “desire the elimination of the other parent as much as possible”.6  Researchers have found that a borderline parent will often use “I’ll never speak to you again” as a primary method of solving interpersonal conflict, and the child will thereafter feel forced to agree with his parent’s opinion, even if his opinion or recollection is not the same.7  These parents “enmesh” themselves with their children8 and rather than being allowed to feel, the borderline parent convinces the children how they are supposed to feel.9

In Eddy’s experience, parents who kidnap their children are unwilling to share parenting with the other parent and “decide they were above the law”. 10  The risk of abduction is exacerbated by a borderline’s impulsivity and the fact that they feel superior to a court’s orders.11

Borderline parents hold their children captive to onslaughts of verbal abuse followed by the silent treatment.  They criticize and belittle their children, causing the children to suffer great confusion, pain and silent anger.12  Life with a borderline parent can bring “constant chaos” and is typified by the borderline’s verbal abuse, unpredictability, denying the child’s perception of events, the need to dominate, threatening to get her own way, making abusive comments and setting unrealistic expectations.13  Denying the feelings and needs of others and trying to get the child to engage in illogical arguments only exacerbates the pain, loneliness and confusion.14  While it is impossible to discover exactly how many international abductions have been committed by narcissistic or borderline personality disordered individuals, this research cannot and should not be ignored.

 

The State Department is obstructing justice and minimizing a federal felony crime

Through their complicity, the State Department is unnecessarily prolonging the pain of these abducted children and their parents.  The State Department needs to acknowledge that crimes have been committed by these Japanese nationals and that the Japanese government has done nothing to rectify the situation.

The Justice Department has acknowledged that parental abduction is damaging and that “the worst damage is imperceptible to the eye, occurring deep within the child, leaving traces that last a lifetime”.15  The State Department should be admonished for using taxpayer money to pay a child welfare “expert” to cajole left-behind parents to think that parental abduction is not such a bad thing after all because kids are “resilient”, and to offer up such fiction in front of the F.B.I, the very agency that should be assisting these bereaved and aching parents in the recovery of their children.  The State Department needs to be severely questioned as to why it is devoting its efforts to obstructing justice rather than fighting for it.

 

Thank you for your time and attention.

 

Amy J. Savoie, Ph.D.

 

Resources

1  Payson, Eleanor D., M.S.W.  2002.  The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists.

Royal   Oak, Michigan: Julian Day Publications, p. 19.

2  Payson, p. 30.

3  Payson, pp. 16, 30.

4  Payson, p. 16.

5  Payson, p. 66.

6  Eddy, Bill, LCSW, JD and Randi Kreger.  2011.  Splitting: Protecting Yourself   

   while Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  

  Oakland, California: New Harbinger Publications, Inc., p. 263.

7  Roth, Kimberlee and Freda B. Friedman, Ph.D., LCSW.  2003.  Surviving a 

   Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust,  

   Boundaries, and Self-Esteem.  Oakland, California: New Harbinger

Publications, p. 120.

8  Eddy, p. 249.

9  Roth, p. 121.

10 Eddy, p. 248.

11 Eddy, p. 249.

12 Lawson, Christine Ann.  2000.  Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping  

    Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship. 

    New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., pg. 207.

13  Mason, Paul, MS and Randi Kreger.  2010.  Stop Walking on Eggshells, 2nd 

    Edition.   Oakland, California.  New Harbinger Publications, Inc., pg. 61.

14  Mason, p. 109.

15  The U.S. Department of Justice, from the publication The Crime of Family

Abduction, a Child’s and Parent’s Perspective, First Edition.  May 2010.

 

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20120221hn.html

 

Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012

 

HOTLINE TO NAGATACHO

Focus on ‘exceptions’ waters down abduction pact

 

By AMY J. SAVOIE

For the attention of the Japanese government:

 

News photo
Divided family: Christopher Savoie is seen in June 2009 with his son, Isaac, and daughter, Rebecca, at a park near their home in Franklin, Tennessee. The children were later taken to Japan by their mother, in violation of a U.S. court custody decision. Savoie was arrested in Japan in September 2009 during an unsuccessful attempt to regain custody. AP

 

Like many other court hearings that follow a divorce, a court transcript out of Tennessee reflects testimony concerning a couple’s two children:

Attorney: Ms. Savoie. … You have known all along that Dr. Savoie’s biggest fear is that you’re going to take those children to Japan and he’ll never see them again; you know that?

Noriko Savoie: I’ve never split (the) children and (their) father. I know how important (a) father is for children, and I am not going to do that. I keep telling him I’m not going to do that.

Noriko Savoie spoke these words shortly before she did precisely what she promised under oath not to do: In August 2009, she kidnapped Isaac and Rebecca Savoie from their father’s home in Tennessee — away from their school, their friends, their church, and away from their loving father.

They were taken from a country whose laws say it is in a child’s best interest to know and be loved by both parents, and they were abducted to a land that prefers a “clean break” after the dissolution of a marriage — where one parent is expected to disappear forever.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction would provide a remedy for the prompt return of these and other abducted children, if only Japan would sign it.

For too long, Japan was “considering the possibility” that it might join the Hague treaty someday, and the government promised to think about it after some further study.

As the only G-8 nation that has still refused to sign the Hague despite relentless international pressure, Japan has been under attack by human rights groups, psychologists and ambassadors to Japan from several countries, all of whom insist unequivocally that it is in the child’s best interest to have access to both parents -regardless of a divorce.

Acquiescing to foreign pressure, Japan has finally announced, amidst great fanfare, that it would soon sign the Hague treaty, perhaps even within the next few months.

Growing up in Japan’s culture of uso mo hoben – “lying is also a means to an end”- many Japanese abductors, upon a divorce, may have felt justified in giving false testimony in order to gain access to their children’s passports.

However, for the scores of left-behind parents who have been lied to (“I would never kidnap the children”) and who suffer daily through the agony of having lost a child, Japan’s recent promise to sign the Hague is being studied with an abundance of caution and a large dose of skepticism.

Their concern is well-founded: Recent Diet session videos reveal that rather than finding ways to return children after signing the Hague, Japan’s efforts are focused on creating “exceptions” that would allow its courts to refuse the return of abducted kids.

This begs the question: If Japan is going to sign the Hague treaty in good faith, then why focus only on creating loopholes?

The nonprofit group Bring Abducted Children Home (BACHome) brought its concerns to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell.

Working in conjunction with several Japanese left-behind parents, BACHome warned Campbell that Japan is writing legislation that will allow it to essentially seize jurisdictional control over any new and existing abduction cases in order to ensure that children would, in fact, not be returned to the countries from which they were taken.

These loopholes would allow the abducting parent to coach (or brainwash) a kidnapped child, encouraging that child to develop the “opinion” that he/she does not want to be returned, and that child’s purported “wish” would be upheld.

Kirk Weir, an internationally-recognized psychologist, has researched this issue and found, more often than not, that a child’s alleged “opinion” that he or she does not want to see a left-behind parent is completely unrelated to the child’s actual “wish for a relationship” — in other words, the child is taught to have the opinion that the left-behind parent is “bad” based only on the taking parent’s version of events.

Mr. Weir states that during the parent-child reunions that he studied, “very young children easily resumed a good relationship with the nonresident parent (i.e. left-behind parent) once a visit took place.”

He suspected that the children enjoyed “the immediate pleasure of love and affection from the (left-behind parent) and were quick to forget the influence of their family’s views.”

Unfortunately, under Japan’s new rules an abducting parent can claim that the child does not want to go home (when, in fact, it is the parent who coached the child into voicing this opinion), or an abductor can claim domestic violence as a means of justifying her actions.

The problem with the latter is that Japan has taken this frightening (and very serious) Western phrase of “domestic violence” and broadened it into something unrecognizable.

Around the time that Japan announced a decision to join the Hague, Dr. Numazaki Ichirou devised a list of domestic violence scenarios that could be used to justify the refusal of a child’s return under a “domestic violence exception.”

Within his list, Dr. Numazaki suggests that even if a father is not at all violent or dangerous, “just one” of the following accusations could prevent a father from being reunited with his child: if the father ever criticized the mother’s shortcomings, if the father was ever annoyed when the mother “talked back” to him, or if the father ever “felt hurt” when the mother pushed back at him.

In other words, interpersonal marital strife is being defined as “domestic violence”.

The Japan Times recently quoted Japanese attorney Takao Tanase’s opinion of this: “Japanese family court judges sometimes recognize domestic arguments as verbal violence, but what couples who are facing divorce don’t argue?” (“Bills Could Render Hague Toothless,” Feb. 8).

Of course a child should be protected from actual risk of domestic violence, and this column is by no means an attempt to diminish the importance of protecting children who are at risk of grave and imminent harm by an abusive parent.

The problem is that Japan will allow temporary, inter-personal (nonviolent) disagreements to justify the permanent abduction of a child.

Given this inhuman standard of behavior, even Jesus, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi could not hope to prevail against such guidelines, for even those “heroes of peace” frequently disagreed with those in their midst — often quite vociferously.

In other words, it seems that Japan’s domestic violence “catch-all” provision will only allow the return of an abducted child if the left-behind parent is abnormally docile or, indeed, is a robot.

Like the Japanese saying, kaden rika (“if you really don’t have bad intentions, then don’t act like you do”), if Japan truly intends to abide by the Hague treaty, then why does it appear that the government is planning to sign the Hague Convention but has no intent to actually honor it?

Amy J. Savoie received her doctorate from Dartmouth College and is currently a third-year law student at the Nashville School of Law. Dr. Savoie is married to Christopher Savoie. In August 2009, Christopher Savoie’s children were abducted from the U.S. to Japan by his ex-wife. A few weeks later, he was arrested while trying to reclaim his children. Send submissions of between 500 and 600 words tocommunity@japantimes.co.jp

 

Comments delivered:  Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tokyo, Japan, Jan. 6, 2012

 

 

http://www.state.gov/p/eap/rls/rm/2012/01/180202.htm?mid=57137

 

Remarks to the Media at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Remarks

Kurt M. Campbell
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Tokyo, Japan
January 6, 2012

 


:

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: First of all, good evening everyone, and I’m sorry to keep you waiting. Let me just say, on behalf of my delegation, it’s wonderful to be back in Tokyo, in Japan. I’ve had a series of meetings today with my key interlocutors and others in the Japanese government. I’ve had a good opportunity to discuss issues of mutual concern with our excellent ambassador here, Ambassador Roos, and his team. Let me just say that we are enjoying an extraordinarily close period of partnership between the United States and Japan. We were able to review our progress last year in the outstanding meeting that took place between the Prime Minister and the President in Hawaii, and we reviewed our game plan going forward – areas that we need to enhance our cooperation. We talked in some detail about developments on the Korean Peninsula, and the need for close coordination between the United States and Japan and South Korea; we talked extensively about our mutual desire to see peace and stability, and to share information with all the key players, including China. In addition to these matters, we talked about a range of other issues of interest to the United States and Japan: our mutual efforts in Burma; our coordination in multilateral fora such as the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum. 

I also had a chance to visit the Justice Ministry. We reviewed the progress to date on the Japanese commitment to follow through on accession to the Hague Convention. The President, as you know, discussed this with the Prime Minister in Hawaii, and the Justice Minister spoke with us about next steps. We told him that we will be following closely issues associated with implementing legislation, and we want very much for that legislation to adhere to global norms in which Japan can work closely with other countries associated with issues associated with child welfare. We also underscored how important it will be for Japan to demonstrate progress on the existing cases. This is of enormous significance, importance, to us – and we want to work closely to ensure visitation, to ensure that the left-behind parents have the opportunity to interact with their children. We called on the Ministry and other key players to take the necessary steps. The United States has been very patient — we support this relationship very strongly — but we’re going to need to see some progress going forward.

I think with that, I’d be very pleased to take your questions. I only have a few minutes, but would be happy to answer questions going forward.

QUESTION: Did you discuss any details on the environmental assessment report on relocation of Futenma Air Base?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: We did, in some of our meetings, talk about the need to move forward on Futenma, and the submission of the report. I think we all understand the importance of making progress. I think it’s clear that yesterday, the President and Secretary Panetta underscored that even while the United States is making adjustments in its global military posture, we are intent on maintaining a very strong, enduring military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. And I just want to underscore that, overall, our commitment to the security of Japan and to regional security in Asia will continue. And we will also be taking steps to strengthen and diversify our security relationships around the Pacific.

QUESTION: Did you discuss any details about legislation on Iran sanctions, and how it’s going to affect Japan?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: Yes. The Japanese government has raised some concerns about this legislation. We understand some of the difficulties these raise for Japan and other partners. But I think we all share an interest in making sure that Iran is dissuaded from steps that lead towards unacceptable nuclear options.

QUESTION: About the North Korean issue: will the trilateral meeting with South Korea and Japan be held in Washington on the 16th of this month?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I think we’ve agreed that we’ll be holding a meeting in the near future. I think the exact date, we are still coordinating among our partners.

QUESTION: There was a rumor in the Seoul stock exchange that there was an explosion in a North Korean nuclear facility. Did you hear anything about that?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I haven’t yet. I’ve just heard that rumor, but I’ve heard nothing further. I can’t confirm or deny, and I just simply don’t know.

I’ll take one last question.

QUESTION: Is there any way that Japan can keep some of its Iranian oil imports, while avoiding the U.S. sanctions?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I think I won’t get into further details beyond what I’ve already said, so I think, simply stated, we understand some of the concerns but we also have made clear what our ultimate goal will be with respect to putting the necessary pressure on Iran.

One last question, anyone?

QUESTION: When do you expect the Prime Minister to go to the States?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I don’t think… well, ultimately, a formal invitation, and the timing of an invitation, is handled by the White House. And I really have nothing further to say, beyond that obviously, we look forward to very close relations and high-level visits between the United States and Japan. Next year is the 100th anniversary of the magnificent gift of the cherry trees from the United States to Japan*. We’ll have about a month of festivities; I think very high-level Americans are going to participate in that. We hope to be able to make a reciprocal gift to Japan, and we will be working closely with Japanese colleagues about appropriate timing for visits. I think the Foreign Minister had a very good visit with Secretary Clinton in December, and we just look forward to continuing high-level engagements as we move forward.

Thank you all very much.

QUESTION: One question about the Hague Convention: do you see any progress in the situation in resolving the current ongoing cases?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: We haven’t seen enough progress, no. Thank you.

*should read “to the United States from Japan.”

 

 

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

http://www.prurgent.com/2011-08-19/pressrelease190498.htm

BACHome (Bring Abducted Children Home) parents and members sent Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., a letter concerning his upcoming meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister. BACHome is urging the Vice President to publicly address the ongoing issue of children taken from the United States and abducted to Japan. At the time of BACHome’s letter to Vice President Biden, there were 123 known active cases, involving 173 American children who remain detained in Japan by their abducting parent.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / PRURGENT

BACHome (Bring Abducted Children Home) parents and members sent Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., a letter concerning his upcoming meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan. BACHome is urging the Vice President to publicly address the ongoing issue of children taken from the United States and abducted to Japan. BACHome is also encouraging the Vice President to discuss this heartbreaking and grave issue while in his private meeting with the Prime Minister.

Currently the U.S. Department of State has been successful in resolving zero cases. At the time of BACHome’s letter to Vice President Biden, there were 123 known active cases, involving 173 American children who remain detained in Japan by their abducting parent. Neither diplomatic or political means nor the Japanese courts have been able to come to a positive resolution concerning not just American citizens abducted to Japan, but from other countries as well.

The closed-door negotiations between the U.S. Department of State and the Japanese governmen have come to a crawl. During his testimony at a July 28th Congressional hearing, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Dr. Kurt Campbell made a comparison to the similar problem we had with Germany in the 1990s and how it was resolved. At that time, U.S. President Clinton stepped in making strong, public statements, which then lead Germany to take action and resolve open cases. Today, the Obama Administration finds itself experiencing the same ongoing problem with Japan. BACHome and other parents hope Vice President Biden will take up a similar leadership role during his trip to Japan.

Vice President Biden will be meeting with Prime Minister Naoto Kan, between August 22nd and August 24th. The Prime Minister is scheduled for a future visit to the United States, in September 2011.

 
 
Contact Info

BACHome

PO Box 16254

Arlington, VA

22215

 

Phone: (703) 300-3411

 

Website: http://www.bachome.org

 

The U.S. State Department has released the following partial listing of efforts made by high level State Department officials during 2010 to raise the international child abduction issue with high levels of the Japanese government.  While there are well over 20 specific events listed in this document, some of them including efforts by Secretary Hillary Clinton, this list is not comprehensive and does not reflect all diplomatic efforts being made on this issue with Japan.

State Dept. Document

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.

According to this article, attitudes towards the international child abduction issue are beginning to shift within the Japanese government.  The solution is not obvious yet, but at least the Japanese government seems to be trying to constructively engage with the U.S. on this.  It sounds hopeful.

http://home.kyodo.co.jp/modules/fstStory/index.php?storyid=487403