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Invoke Pinkerton Rule to get back abducted children

29 Comments
By Susan Sachinelli

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.

Relevant Links:

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.fbi.gov/wanted/parent/ryoko-uchiyama/view 

http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/parent/chiharu-wakao/view 

http://www.crcjapan.com/ Children’s Rights Council of Japan

http://bachome.org/wordpress/ Bring Abducted Children Home

© Modern Tokyo Times

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
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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.

What took so long to find this? Weren't the lawyers involved in all these case bar certified?

Strange.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Fantastic article - extradite and incarcerate the kidnapping parent. Force Japan to to become a responsible member of the international community.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

OK if you are a US citizen I suppose.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Totally naive article. You have as many chances to see Japan extraditing those parents as you had to seem extraditing ex-president Fujimori.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I don't see how this will work unless Japan concedes that a crime has been committed. They are not going to let the FBI extradite a Japanese national who they believe has committed no crime.

That is why they need to be pressured to sign the Hague Convention on Child Abduction.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Mr A has a court order mandating that he receives custody of his son, and that Mrs A has committed various felonies.

If the U.S.will not extradite Mrs. A for the felonies that she committed in the U.S. (felonies other than the child abduction) then why should one expect them to extradite on the far more tenous legal ground of the Pinkerton rule? Face it Susan, the problem here is not the lack of laws under which these people could be extradited, but rather the lack of political will to enforce those laws.

I constantly see the finger pointed at Japan and the Japanese government, but the U.S. government's unwillingness to pursue extradition means that the failing is just as much the U.S. governments as it is the Japanese governments'.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Maybe Japan should tell this to its embassies oversea's as in Australia there have been a couple of cases recently where Japanese embassies reissued passports in maiden names after the Japanese wife was required to surrender her kids passports during access disputes. End result, Japanese wife fled back to Japan with kids illegally and dads left in Australia lose their kids.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's a very interesting article but it's too much sided towards the US citizen side. This rule/law is not the solution to the children 's abduction cases in Japan. First, let's hope Japan sign the Hague Convention, then the court will be challenge on the domestic family law.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Interesting but the only thing that will make Japan do right is massive doeses of good old fashioned gaiatsu.

Embarass the hell out of Japan in public, worldwide, force them kicking & screaming to do what Japan shud have done ages ago, that time is coming I believe but for the kids sake I wish it would have happened already.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

GW Jul. 24, 2011 - 03:45PM JST Interesting but the only thing that will make Japan do right is massive doeses of good old fashioned gaiatsu. Embarass the hell out of Japan in public, worldwide, force them kicking & screaming to do what Japan shud have done ages ago, that time is coming I believe but for the kids sake I wish it would have happened already.

Embarassing the Japanese only works domestically. Try to embarass the Japanese government internationally just makes them stubborn.

Can anyone think of a way to embarass the Japanese government domestically into giving up Japanese children to foreign nationals over the Japanese parent's wishes? ... I can't, and until you can think of a way to make it a domestic embarassment rather than an international one any attempt to pressure the Japanese government will just backfire.

Why? Because Japanese politicians know who votes for them, and it's not some outraged group of international citizens, it's Japanese citizens, and frankly tell any Japanese mom that a Japanese politician split up a Japanese family and shipped their child abroad and he'll be lucky to be voted in as dogcatcher.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why does the article just say "child abduction"? Surely they are talking about "parental child abduction", not some stranger nabbing your kid and heading off to Japan.

A parent taking their own child away from another parent is a TOTALLY different ball game and that is the one Japan refuses to play. People think the Hague Convention and western courts got the right of it, but I find them to be just as lacking as Japanese ideas. I mean look at the Chris Savoie case! The western side is messed up 8 ways from Sunday and even sensible westerners can see right through the malarkey!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I am completely and totally opposed to parental child abduction and this Japan should do something about this immediately, but I fail to see what this suggestion will do. There's no chance Japan would extradite a Japanese national based on this Pinkerton rule, it's not a magic bullet.

And how about citizens of the other 100+ nations of the world who may have their children abducted to Japan?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

just wish to see my kids hhmm looks like i will be waiting awhile

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Frungy, actually the little recent progress I believe is directly related to embarassing Japan in the eyes of the world, it needs to continue, and maybe at some point some economic incentives.

Bottom line is this needs fixed but Japan wont budge unless its shoved, Japan needs its arse kicked repeatedly imo

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Trouble is, even if Japan DID sign, they have every trick up their sleeves to delay or get out of the process - like many other countries where both nations ARE signatories and yet the cases drag on for years, all the while the kids getting older, getting brainwashed by the "custodial" family. I agree with what many posters have said - the issue here is not a legal one, but an unwillingness to enforce it. The US are reluctant to risk creating an international incident over what amounts to a tiny % of their population. It`s wrong, but that is where they seem to be.

I dont think Japans decisions have anything to do with right, wrong, legal points, or anything else. I think they are just inherently against any "non-Japanese" and protect their own, even if it means bending the law. Its abhorrent. They also have a child constitution that should support contact with both parents, but apply very outdated points of view to it that child only needs its Mother - unless of course the Mother happens to be foreign in which case the childs Japanese-ness overrules everything.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Great idea but the extradition treaty is meaningless. Japan refused to extradite Miura Kazuyoshi when he was wanted for murder in the U.S. Japan even denies Japanese fathers the right to see their Japanese children in Japan after a divorce.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It doesn't matter what any treaty says, the Japanese will never extradite their citizens in child abduction cases. The Supreme Court won't even uphold the Japanese constitution, never mind a minor treaty with another country.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Interesting article to say the least, and I also am left scratching my head why did it take so long for someone to figure out that this law pertains to the people in these cases.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

papasmurfinjapanJul. 24, 2011 - 09:26AM JST

I don't see how this will work unless Japan concedes that a crime has been committed. They are not going to let the FBI extradite a Japanese national who they believe has committed no crime.

That is why they need to be pressured to sign the Hague Convention on Child Abduction.

Even after signing the Hague Convention, NOTHING will ever change unless the DRACONIAN/OUTDATED/BACKWARD/RIDICULOUS Domestic family laws change once and for all.

Remember that besides the international abduction, children brought to Japan, there are many many many more being abducted inside the country, domestically!!! So NO, unless the domestic laws are changed, everything will stay the same.

Shameless government of japan that keeps stealing children!!! SHAME on them!!!

ps, My husband lost 2 small children to his mentally challenged ex-wife who ran away with them while he was at work. and yes, this happened in japan to japanese, and the police did NOTHING to help him! Just protect the abductor as usual...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

miamum wrote:

They also have a child constitution that should support contact with both parents, but apply very outdated points of view to it that child only needs its Mother - unless of course the Mother happens to be foreign in which case the childs Japanese-ness overrules everything.

EXACTLY!!! Magnificent post there, miamum....very very true.... Cjustody always goes to the mother unless.....she happens to be foreign!!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Thanks Bluewitch - i am so sorry for your husband though. What happened in the end? Does he see them now? Why did the police not help him? Is it not considered a crime if it happens within the family? Shocking.

Hope you are enjoying the slightly cooler weather! Only a month to go now, right?!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You're most welcome..dear.

At the end he got visitation granted (1 time per month) after promising her 80,000 yen monthly in child support and the rest of her car payments (for the children's sake!). Unfortunately, after the sendai earthquake, he haven't been able to see his children...she keeps making up excuses for no reason, and its been 5 months now! (Even though he keeps paying her child support plus the remaining car payments!) He just sent a report to the Family Court in Kanagawa, where she is, to see what can they do about this mess. The woman is really mentally challenged. I feel anger but at the same time I pity her. It's truly pathetic.

The Ibaraki police equals Incompetence/Corruption @ its best. They are nothing but sewer scum. They can be easily compare with other police scum from Fukushima and Niigata or so I heard. They won't get involved unless the abductor happens to be a foreigner whom they will promptly harass, persecute and arrest as soon as possible. Japanese are allowed to abduct but not foreigners, LOL.

Funny and ironic, Child abduction is NOT a crime in Japan, but when a foreign person abducts, then he/she becomes a CRIMINAL~ しょうがないねー(笑)

As for my current state, yep, I'm 9 months now, 4 more weeks to go, hopefully, but the weather here in Tsukuba is horrible so I have to keep the AC on @ 25 degrees at least. Can't go any higher than that. 28 degrees?? NO WAY!!

This is my 4th (and last hopefully!) baby and I'm bigger than a whale now, can't even walk right...lol Can't wait to go into labor and get it over with....I can't even sleep...so uncomfortable now! and HOTT =(

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Extradition will not work. The following is from the Ministry of Justice Website. See #9 (Restrictions on extradition) Article 2.

A fugitive shall not be surrendered in any of the following circumstances, provided that this shall not apply, in cases falling under items (3), (4), (8), or (9), when the treaty of extradition provides otherwise: (1) When the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense; (2) When the request for extradition is deemed to have been made with a view to trying or punishing the fugitive for a political offense which he has committed; (3) When the offense for which extradition is requested is not punishable by death, or by imprisonment for life or for a maximum term of three years or more by the laws, regulations or ordinances of the requesting country; (4) When the act constituting the offense for which extradition is requested would not be punishable under the laws, regulations or ordinances of Japan by death or by imprisonment for life or for a maximum term of three years or more if the act were committed in Japan; (5) When it is deemed that under the laws, regulations or ordinances of Japan it would be impossible to impose or to execute punishment upon the fugitive, if the act constituting the offense for which extradition is requested were committed in Japan, or if the trial therefor were held in a court of Japan; (6) Except in the case of a fugitive who has been convicted of an offense for which extradition is requested by a court of the requesting country, when there is no probable cause to suspect that the fugitive has committed the act which constitutes an offense for which extradition is requested; (7) When a criminal prosecution based on the act constituting an offense for which extradition is requested is pending in a Japanese court, or when a judgment in such a case has become final; (8) When a criminal prosecution for an offense committed by the fugitive other than the offense for which extradition is requested is pending in a Japanese court, or when the fugitive has been sentenced to punishment by a Japanese court for such an offense and the execution of the sentence of the fugitive has not been completed or the sentence has yet to be non-executable; 9) WHEN THE FUGITIVE IS A JAPANESE NATIONAL

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@BlueWitch

of course you are right, even after signing the convention in reality I doubt Japan's stance would change one iota. I'm sorry to hear of your husband's troubles.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

One of the things I hate about Japan is just how embarassingly primitive it can be, until a lot of stoneage thanking(and LAWS!) are changed there isnt much hope for the future let alone abducted children sadly

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Very fair. That's why anyone who wants the International marriage needs to think about it TWICE.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bluewitch: good luck with everything! I have heard the first hurts, the second is a breeze, the third is a wild card and the fourth you dont even know you are in labour - that is exactly how it was for me from 1-3, so I hope the 4th comes true for you! Not planning to go a fourth myself

That's why anyone who wants the International marriage needs to think about it TWICE

Trouble is, most people when they get married dont think this will ever happen to them - if they did, they wouldnt go there in the first place! Way back when I got married, I wasnt even aware of this issue. There is much more said about it now, and the awareness is a good thing, but I doubt it would put many people off. You dont know its going to happen till it does.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We can say many things about Japan. But sometimes a factual truth - a “safe haven” for child abduction - describes a country behavior and society better then any other analysis. And the role of the Press is crucial in reminding the public opinion on the issues. So many thanks to JapanToday for bringing the attention to this very delicate and important topic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

yeah but too bad most Japanese have no idea about it, let alone an opinion!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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