This is an excellent link for statistics and reports concerning U.S. State Department international child abduction cases, including Japan, for 2010-2012. Also useful information on relevant U.S. laws as well as child abduction related forms and documents.

http://travel.state.gov/abduction/resources/resources_3860.html

http://travel.state.gov/abduction/resources/resources_3860.html

Advertisements

Children’s Rights Council of Japan has obtained the following statistical summary from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children regarding the outcomes of cases it is handling involving children taken from the U.S. to Japan:

As of October 2012, NCMEC’s database reflects that in ninety-three percent (93%) of our active (unresolved) cases involving children taken from the U.S. to Japan, we have been seeking the return of the children for two years or longer and forty-four percent (44%) of these cases have remained unresolved for five years or longer. NCMEC’s database also reflects that, out of all of our closed cases involving children taken from the U.S. to Japan, seventy-six percent (76%) of the children were never recovered. To date, twenty percent (20%) of our closed cases involving children taken from the U.S to Japan, the children were returned or allowed access to the left-behind parent solely because of voluntary action on the part of the taking parent.

Children’s Rights Council of Japan is not aware of a single recovery from Japan that has resulted from a civil legal proceeding, and is aware of only one recovery following the issuance of a criminal warrant for the taking parent, in the case of Dr. Moises Garcia and his daughter, Karina Garcia.

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.

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

http://4rionandlaurenandjulia.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/child-abduction-and-denial-of-access-are-masked-as-custody-determination-in-japan/

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.

The results of this rather unscientific poll, offered online in Japanese language only, actually are not as divided as this article suggests.  Of 64 respondents, only 17 were against Japan joining the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.  Interestingly, 18 of the respondents were self-admitted abductors, which pretty closely matches the number of respondents who opposed the Hague Convention.

 

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110203p2g00m0dm035000c.html

 

Survey shows divided views on Japan’s signing of child custody pact

TOKYO (Kyodo) — An online survey by the Foreign Ministry showed Wednesday that people who have directly been involved in the so-called parental “abductions” of children as a result of failed marriages were divided on Japan’s accession to an international treaty to deal with child custody disputes.

Of 64 respondents to the questionnaire posted on the website of the Foreign Ministry and its 121 diplomatic missions abroad between May and November last year, 22 were in favor of Japan joining the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, while 17 were against the idea.

The remaining 25 respondents did not make their stance clear, said Parliamentary Vice Foreign Minister Ikuo Yamahana at a press conference.

The convention provides a procedure for the prompt return of children to their habitual country of residence when they are wrongfully removed or retained in the case of an international divorce. It also protects parental access rights.

Those seeking Japan’s accession to the convention said Tokyo should no longer allow unilateral parental child abductions as the country is perceived overseas as an “abnormal” nation for defending such acts.

People opposed to Japan’s signing of the treaty said the convention “doesn’t fit with” Japanese culture, values and customs and urged the government to protect Japanese nationals fleeing from difficult circumstances such as abusive spouses and problems in foreign countries.

Some pointed to the disadvantages faced by Japanese parents seeking a local court settlement on child custody abroad, such as expensive legal fees and the language barrier.

Yamahana said the government led by the Democratic Party of Japan will further examine the possibility of joining the convention based on the results of the online survey. “We will discuss what we can do to ensure the welfare of children,” he said.

International pressure on Tokyo to act on the parental abduction issue has been growing, with legislative bodies in the United States and France recently adopting resolutions that call for Japan’s accession to the treaty.

At present, 84 countries and regions are parties to the Hague Convention. Of the Group of Seven major economies, only Japan has yet to ratify the pact.

Of the 64 respondents, 18 said they have abducted children and 19 said their children have been taken by their former spouses. A total of 27 said they have been slapped with restrictions on traveling with their children because Japan is not a party to the Hague Convention.

By country, 26 respondents were linked to parental abduction cases in the United States, followed by nine in Australia and seven in Canada.

(Mainichi Japan) February 3, 2011

 

On its website, the U.S. Embassy in Japan has compiled 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.  The chart shows that there are about 400 reported cases just for these 5 nations since 2005, and many of these cases involve more than just one child.

http://tokyo.usembassy.gov/e/p/tp-20100122-85.html

 

NOTE:  The U.S. Embassy in Japan has deleted the above link.  CRC of Japan has retrieved this page and reposted it at the following link:

 

Rapid Increase in Child Abductions to Japan

CRC of Japan estimates cumulative cases of internationally abducted children in Japan to number in the thousands–

This is a very rough approach, but we think it’s pretty close.

How we came up with our numbers when we first calculated them a few years ago:

1.  According to a widely cited 1990 U.S. Department of Justice study called “National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children,” 354,100 abductions per year are committed by family members in the U.S. Based on the 1990 U.S. population of 248,709,873, this works out to a U.S. per capita family abduction rate of 0.0014237.

2.  Assuming that this per capita family abduction rate is about the same for the Japanese population, based on the July 2006 estimated population of 127,463,611, the total number of estimated abductions per year in Japan by family members works out to 181,470.  Even if we are off by 20% or more in making this assumption, we will make a conservative adjustment further below that more than makes up for any possible error in this step.

3.  Looking at recent periods, such as for example 2000-2003, 4.8% of all Japanese marriages involved a foreigner marrying a Japanese. Assuming the frequency of family abductions is about the same for Japanese married to Japanese as it is for Japanese married to foreigners, we can apply this 4.8% percentage to the estimated 181,470 family abductions in 2006, and can conclude that about 8,710 of the estimated family abductions in Japan involve an international marriage between a Japanese and a foreigner.

4.  Although most of the international child abductions involving children in Japan seem to be committed by the Japanese parent, for the sake of argument  we will assume that family abductions in Japan are done equally frequently by the foreign spouse as by the Japanese spouse.  This would mean that half of the 8,710 estimated international marriage family abduction cases, or approximately 4,305 cases, involve children of international marriages abducted to or retained in Japan by the Japanese spouse.

5.  With U.S. citizens accounting for about 4.5% of the international couples, 194 of the estimated 4,305 cases would involve U.S. children being abducted to or retained in Japan.

6.  To provide for a very conservative margin of error, and adjust for the assumptions in step 2 above and other assumptions we have made, we will reduce our estimates from above by 50%.  Even so, this would mean that there are more than 2,000 international cases PER YEAR of children of international marriages being abducted to or retained in Japan, with almost 100 cases PER YEAR involving U.S. children.

Cummulatively, adding together all the cases for the past 5 or more years, the total easily could be more than 10,000 international cases and over 500 cases involving U.S. children.

Most cases, especially those where the foreign parent resides in Japan, never get reported to the U.S. State Department or other agencies in Japan or other countries.  These numbers are very hard to determine without using an estimation process as above since  there are no missing children organizations or official records about abducted/missing children in Japan.

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.