In a mission statement published by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it states that Japan aims to contribute to the overall maintenance of a safe and peaceful international society that would “implement good international environment” as well as “keep and develop harmonic foreign relationships.”
However, even with this being said, Japan continues to act as a “safe haven” for abducted children for over 55 years. With numerous countries, including, but not limited to, the United States, Canada, Australia, France and other countries, trying to get Japan to budge on the issue of child abduction to Japan by a Japanese national, Japan has not changed its stance.
In the United States, according to the U.S. Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues, there are 230 active cases involving 321 U.S. children abducted to Japan. Since Japan will not change its position on the issue and continues to act as a “safe haven” for child abduction, it is time now for the United States to set the leadership role and begin extraditing the parents and/or relatives of parent abductors under the Pinkerton Rule.
Under the Pinkerton Rule, Pinkerton v United States, 328 U.S. 640 (1946), established by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), each member of a conspiracy can be held criminally liable for the crimes that were committed by other members acting within agreement of the conspiracy. In Japan, the parents and/or relatives of the abducted children routinely help the parent who abducted the child or children to hide them so that the left-behind parent cannot have access to them. This has been evident in a number of abduction cases to Japan.
Failure to report felonious conduct of another individual, conspiracy to commit a crime, solicitation with the idea to entice or counsel one to commit a crime, and aiding and abetting in a crime are all criminal offenses. Since the United States – Japan Extradition Treaty (signed in Tokyo on March 3, 1978), allows both countries to extradite citizens of the other country when a crime has been committed, the Pinkerton Rule is what the United States can use to show that an American law has been broken and that the abductor and/or the abductor’s parents and/or relatives can be extradited back to American soil.
In short, the Pinkerton Rule allows for the parents and/or relatives of the parent abductor to be extradited if they are aiding and abetting the kidnapper, taking part in extortion or blackmail (such as telling the left-behind parent that they can only see the children if they pay money and/or sign Japanese custody documents), fraud, and forgery of documents pertaining to the children (in some cases forging the left-behind parent’s signature to the aforementioned documentation).
Since the Japanese government has not budged on the issue and continues to act as a “safe haven” for abducted children, it is time now for the United States to set the leadership role by extraditing the parents and/or relatives of the parent abductors, who were co-conspirators of the abduction.
One of the more well-known American cases of a parent left-behind is that of Mr A (protecting his identity) and his son Child A (protecting the name of the child) who was abducted by his ex-wife, Mrs A (protecting her name), in 2008. Prior to the abduction, during the divorce after it was found that she was alleged to have embezzled family funds, Mrs A was ordered by the court to turn over passports and the alleged funds that had been taken.
Mr A asserts that in 2007 when Mrs A’s parents came for a visit, plans to abduct Child A were initiated behind Mr A’s back. Since Mrs A. fled to Japan with their son, Mr A has been working with the U.S. State Department to see his son but all visits have been denied and ignored by Mrs A, her parents, and the Japanese government. Currently, all Mr A has is a last known address and no further information.
Although the United States has been objective in the case, and politicians such as Congressman Chris Smith have done what they politically can to assist Mr A, Japan has blocked Mr A every step of the way in getting his son, Child A back from his ex-wife, although Mr A has a court order mandating that he receives custody of his son, and that Mrs A has committed various felonies.
This is one of the many reasons to start applying the Pinkerton rule – to help people like Mr A. Unfortunately, under current Attorney General Eric Holder, there has been no progress in extraditing parents and/or relatives of parent abductors. Even though Holder said in a May 2010 document published by the U.S. Department of Justice on “The Crime of Family Abduction” that family abduction is illegal throughout the entire nation, he has not done enough to assist these left-behind parents. Just like his “Operation Fast and Furious” to curb illegal gun trafficking failed, so too are his erroneous policies concerning international child abduction and the expediting of the abductor or their parents and/or relatives in an effort to bring these abducted children back home.
Currently, Japan refuses to abide by the United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child. It legally binds all countries that signed to provide equal access to the child and that the person or persons committing the abduction would be prosecuted. Japan states that since the United States did not ratify the treaty; therefore, Japan does not have to honor the pact. Because of this, numerous left-behind parents have not seen their child or children in years, and many times, left-behind parents are wondering where the child or children are living and if they are still alive.
However, the United States has made a number of provisions within their own national and state laws regarding the abduction of children. A recent case to hit the United States by storm was the Casey Anthony trial. Her daughter, Caylee, was missing for 31 days until she was reported missing by Caylee’s grandmother. Because this could have been avoided if reported much sooner, a new bill called Caylee’s law, is being proposed in a number of U.S. states making it a felony for parents and legal guardians who fail to file a report of a missing child, especially in instances where the child could be in danger.
The bill would require notification within 24 hours of the child’s disappearance. Many states are looking to adopt this new law. Yet, with the issue of left-behind parents, whose child or children have been abducted to Japan for years, neither the left-behind parent nor the U.S. government knows the safety or welfare of the child or children, or even if the child or children are still alive.
One left-behind parent stated that “Our children are not ‘property’ of the abducting spouse or the Japanese government. They are children with basic human and constitutional rights they inherited by being born and living their entire lives in the United States of America.”
While a number of parent abductor respondents in a survey given by the Japanese Foreign Ministry believe that Japan should signed the Hague Convention on Child Abduction. Japan is still shunning the possibility of becoming a signatory in the full sense (many obstacles appear to be in the way even if Japan does sign), and parents like Mr A are left wondering if they will ever see their child or children abducted to Japan ever again.
Since Japan continues to act as a “safe haven” for abducted children, then the United States must set the leadership role to extradite the parents and/or relatives of parent abductors, who acted as co-conspirators in child abduction, under the Pinkerton Rule.
Create Caylee’s Law http://www.change.org/petitions/create-caylees-law
Office of U.S. Attorney General http://www.justice.gov/ag/
FBI Most Wanted (Parental Abduction):
http://www.crcjapan.com/ Children’s Rights Council of Japan
http://bachome.org/wordpress/ Bring Abducted Children Home© Modern Tokyo Times