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Parents denied visitation rights in Japan to keep fighting gov't in court

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I wonder, is this the same case as the one the other day with the Italian guy who was still married to his wife and paying her 170,000 per month?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I wonder, is this the same case as the one the other day with the Italian guy who was still married to his wife and paying her 170,000 per month?

Yes, it is.

In the ruling on Friday, presiding Tokyo District Court judge Tatsuro Maezawa said the U.N. treaty was "merely an agreement to respect" those rights, but had no binding power.

When this was announced last week, it was this comment by the judge that caught my attention.

So, basically, the judge is saying that Japan signing this treaty basically has no meaning in terms of domestic law.

That is an astonishing statement with profound implications, particularly if this is upheld on appeal!

22 ( +22 / -0 )

If you're not Japanese, be forewarned that you could easily lose your children to your Japanese spouse if you come to or live in Japan.

If you feel your marriage is slipping down the road to divorce, take a trip back home and file for divorce there. Ask for an emergency temporary order of restraint preventing the children from being removed back to Japan.

Also, consult Mikiko Otani before your Japanese spouse does so it at least conflicts her out of the case. She's an extremely aggressive and competent lawyer that is often called to testify in the US as to parental rights in Japan. She's quite persuasive and someone you do not want working for the opposing party.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

In the ruling on Friday, presiding Tokyo District Court judge Tatsuro Maezawa said the U.N. treaty was "merely an agreement to respect" those rights, but had no binding power.

You'll also want to use this quote to demonstrate that Japan having adopted and enacted The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction is not any form of protection for your parental rights, which is what Ms. Otani would argue.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

In the ruling on Friday, presiding Tokyo District Court judge Tatsuro Maezawa said the U.N. treaty was "merely an agreement to respect" those rights, but had no binding power.

To ”Respect” rights usually means to, you know, actually enforce them.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

I admire their conviction to stick it out, but Japan will not change a deeply rooted cultural prejudice based on the complaints of a few, especially when foreigners are involved. Fathers will continue to be ostracized and extorted by their ex-wives. There are too many systems in place that support it. I had to go to city hall last week to get a document stating I had been divorced. I have never been so ill-treated and embarrassed in my whole life. I was sat at a public window on a common area and treated like a piece of navel lint. They had no hesitation in loudly stating I had a violence order and a stalking order against me, neither of which are founded accusations. Everybody in the room was glaring at me. I have nine days left on this island. TIJ!

19 ( +21 / -2 )

Yes, it is.

Thank you!

If so then the previous article and this article have some glaring discrepancies, number one being that the previous one stated that the case was brought by divorced parents seeking parental visitation rights.

However this article only states:

Lawyers for parents separated from their children in Japan said on Monday they would appeal a court decision that the government was not responsible for enforcing visitation rights.

And, included as a plaintiff in this case was one foreigner, who was not divorced from his Japanese wife, yet was supposedly paying quite a bit per month, in either alimony or child-support, and that he had FULL visitation rights, yet a court granted him 2 hours per month in visitation.

Court rules against divorced parents seeking access to children

https://japantoday.com/category/national/japan-rules-against-divorced-parents-seeking-access-to-children#comment-2031643

The discrepancies between the two are disconcerting at best!

This is a very serious topic and ACCURACY in reporting the facts is most important!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

 I have nine days left on this island. 

I'm sorry to see you go, but absolutely understand the reason. I sure hope your wounds are able to heal back home. Good luck, brother.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

To date, no child has been returned to his/her country of habitual residence as a result of any action taken by the government of Japan. data on child abductions to Japan was on the US Embassy website until recently then inexplicably removed it shows child abductions doubled then quadrupled up to 2009 https://amview.japan.usembassy.gov/en/child-abduction-graph/

8 ( +11 / -3 )

To date, no child has been returned to his/her country of habitual residence as a result of any action taken by the government of Japan. 

Actually yes there is ONE case, and it is between two Japanese parents, but the Japanese Supreme Court overruled a lower court and had the child returned to his Japanese father who lives in the US after the wife abducted the child and took them back to Japan.

https://www.iccack.org/pr4

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I feel deeply for all parents whose child was abducted but expecting or hoping a court staffed by all Japanese officials is capable of understanding showing empathy for any foreigner is nuts, the outcome will always be the same.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Chip Star

If you feel your marriage is slipping down the road to divorce, take a trip back home and file for divorce there. Ask for an emergency temporary order of restraint preventing the children from being removed back to Japan.

I'm not sure this would work if the home country is a signatory to the Hague Convention. Under the Hague Convention rules, if the children were normally domicile in Japan (i.e home, enrolled in school, enrolled with doctors etc) then the Japanese parent would be able to petition the courts to have them returned to Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It’s interesting that the comments here and on the recent related article have a real slant to marriages involving one foreign parent but only one of the 14 plaintiffs in this case is a foreigner. The recent article profiled that one person and I was wondering why there was no info on the Japanese plaintiffs.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I'm certain that this ruling will not escape international condemnation," Akira Ueno, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, told a news conference on Monday. "We plan to appeal to this ruling."

Name and Shame. I doubt that much will come of this until it becomes an international embarrassement to Japan.

The World Health Organisation classified parental alienation this year as a health condition, while the United Nations stipulates children should have the right to maintain bonds with both parents.

Like I said last time, the plaintiffs should try to bring this matter before the UN. This is an international human rights issue. But nothing will change in Japan unless Japan is made to look bad on the international stage.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

What an absolute nightmare Japan is when it comes to divorce with children. And an embarrassment to all humanity with their so called "justice system" beyond primitive, beyond caring, beyond any common sense!

DTHustle, all the best, there is only so much punishment one can take, best of luck in a new start, I find myself dreaming of doing the same from time to time, Japan is a great place BUT it also GRINDS on your very soul in so so many ways over time, and needlessly so in most ways. Japanese seem to "love" to have to endure crappy circumstances.....one thing I will never understand,  collective good is not understood here very much.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

The Court and the government are actually stopping a parent from seeing, interacting with their own child, That's bizarre and definatly deserves an Urge.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

My understanding is that this applies to Japanese fathers as well. I think the Japanese family law is like over 100 years old. Good at new gadgets and technology but stubborn regarding social progress. No wonder men are refusing to marry. It is totally rational.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

RecklessToday  09:12 am JST

“My understanding is that this applies to Japanese fathers as well.”

Yes, it does. Notice that 13 of the 14 plaintiffs in this case are Japanese. BTW, it also applies to Japanese women as well. And foreign women. Sometimes in a divorce the sole custody is awarded to the father.

Invalid CSRF

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I'm certain that this ruling will not escape international condemnation," Akira Ueno, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, told a news conference on Monday. "We plan to appeal to this ruling."

Name and Shame. I doubt that much will come of this until it becomes an international embarrassement to Japan."

Spot on brother...that is the only thing Japanese establishment responds to ( very very reluctantly ).

In the ruling on Friday, presiding Tokyo District Court judge Tatsuro Maezawa said the U.N. treaty was "merely an agreement to respect" those rights, but had no binding power."

So according to this judge UN treaties Japan is a signatory to have no binding power?  Wow....so they are not worth the paper they are written on essentially...UN should take note.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I don’t want to argue with anyone but in my case I divorced my japanese husband and he doesn’t have the right to see his son. It’s different from case to case. My ex husband can see his son only if the son agrees to meet him . And after 4 years he is no where near to meet his father.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Terrible. Kids can be easily manipulated to dislike one parent.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

If you feel your marriage is slipping down the road to divorce, take a trip back home and file for divorce there. Ask for an emergency temporary order of restraint preventing the children from being removed back to Japan.

How about putting your kids first and sticking it out, especially if they are young enough to be under one's custody to begin with? Too many people are quick to divorce, without thinking about their kids' feelings, and then complain after the fact.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@Andreea

If there is no violence whatsoever involved, you should try to talk it out with the kid to accept meeting his father then see with the father to adjust the things which are a problem at least during the time of the meeting.

If there is violence involved but the father is fatherly wanting to see the kid. You should convince the father to get himself into counseling and get feed back from counselor about the progress. Then kept open some communication option than the kid can chose to use when he feel like it. For example having the father sent letter but the kid is free to read them when he feel like it. Having a young one dealing with someone trying to fix psychological issue is too much to ask but as they grow older some kid feel like helping (obviously that is still to be managed so the kid do not harm himself in the process).

@ the people which will recognize themselves

Do not forget that the one victim are neither only foreigner nor only men.

That is a big problem that need to be addressed without trying to take the blanket to only some group.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Chip StarToday  If you feel your marriage is slipping down the road to divorce, take a trip back home and file for divorce there. Ask for an emergency temporary order of restraint preventing the children from being removed back to Japan. - Nice in theory but at least one Japanese mother in USA, in spite of a US court order forbidding her to take the kids out of jurisdiction, got her kids new Japanese passports with cooperation of local Japanese consulate and abducted them to Japan. Did US gov't close the consulate? No. No did it punish Japan, No. What's the point of USA boasting it is the most powerful nation in the world if it won't even protect the rights of its citizens? Plus, Japanese courts to not honor US court rulings in custody cases. Ya still consider them an ally? Bollocks

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'm not sure this would work if the home country is a signatory to the Hague Convention. Under the Hague Convention rules, if the children were normally domicile in Japan (i.e home, enrolled in school, enrolled with doctors etc) then the Japanese parent would be able to petition the courts to have them returned to Japan.

The home country will take intthe consideration the situation in Japan when making its ruling.

How about putting your kids first and sticking it out, especially if they are young enough to be under one's custody to begin with?

There are many times when "sticking it out" is far more harmful to the children.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Personally I think it has always been a myth, perpetrated by Japanese women, that all Japanese men are useless fathers. Some of them are loving and very involved in their kids' upbringing. Some of the so-called "bad fathers" will have been stuck in jobs with long hours and then gone home to a wife who refuses to involve them in family life, treating the home as her own personal domain. In that situation you have a bad wife and a bad mother, not a bad father. I have talked to dozens of women who have criticized their husbands in front of me as if it is a free points-scoring exercise. As a rule, I do not like this negativity any more than any other negativity I hear from people. If you have a husband working long hours, the default position should be extreme gratitude.

It is slow, but traditional gender roles are definitely changing in Japan. We have the "ikumen" idea and fewer women as the all-conquering sengyo shufu (stay at home mom). As men are increasingly recognized as being child raisers, there will be more pressure for the current cruel system to change. As stated by many above, pressure from Japanese will be much more effective than pressure from gaijin.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Personally I think it has always been a myth, perpetrated by Japanese women, that all Japanese men are useless fathers.

Where in the world do you get this idea? Oh let me guess here on JT where the folks "always" talk in generalities!

As men are increasingly recognized as being child raisers, there will be more pressure for the current cruel system to change. 

Another, "Where in the world did you get this idea?" Guess what, you are wrong, men are not even close to being "recognized" as being child raisers here in Japan.

Oh let me guess you got that idea from JT too right? Reality is totally different!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There's only one way out of this:

Shame.

Some American of major prominence or perhaps a British royal has to make a very public statement voicing their surprise, disgust, and condemnation, all with an air of looking down on Japan for being 'backwards'. Preferably mention the Olympics for bonus points.

Japan still allowed kiddie porn just a few years ago, for crying out loud. Then the US State Department and the U.N. put Japan on some naughty lists alongside a bunch of third world hellholes, and the Japanese changed their laws overnight.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

A Japanese man is recognized as a child raiser in Japan if the ex-wife is not Japanese.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Jeffery Morehouse was living in Washington state, where he had won permanent custody of his son, Mochi. In June 2010, he dropped the 6-year-old off with his Japanese mother for a visit; she promptly took him to Tokyo.

Japan’s government refuses to help, even though its consulate in Portland, Ore., played a key role in the kidnapping by issuing the boy a passport in just one day. The last words Morehouse heard from his son, more than nine years ago, were, “I love you, Daddy.”

A year ago, Vincent Fichot came home to an empty house in the Tokyo suburb of Setagaya. The Frenchman’s wife, 3-year-old son and 11-month-old daughter had vanished. All he had done, he said, was suggest that he might want a divorce.  

He hasn’t seen or heard from his family since, and every effort to contact his children has been blocked by his wife, the courts and Japanese police. 

“Abduction is child abuse,” he said in the course of several interviews about his case.

Tommaso Perina, an Italian resident of Tokyo, said his wife took their two children for a break at her parents’ house and a few days later decided she wanted a divorce. 

Perina hasn’t seen his son and daughter since August 2017. Although a Japanese court granted him visitation rights, his wife has refused to accept the order, and has moved. The police will not tell him where she now lives, he said, or even talk to Italian Embassy officials.

The three men are among hundreds of foreigners and hundreds of thousands of Japanese parents who have been kept apart from their children by Japan’s distinctive child custody laws, and they are leading campaigns, one in the United States and two here in Japan, to push for change. 

Morehouse has briefed members of Congress six times, most recently in May, and has set up Bring Abducted Children Home, a pressure group representing what he says are more than 400 American children who have been abducted by a Japanese parent. 

Fichot and Perina, who continue to live in Japan and whose children were abducted here, have helped raise awareness in Europe. Last year, 26 E.U. ambassadors wrote a letter pleading with Japan to respect the right of children to see their parents. 

In June, French President Emmanuel Macron met with Fichot and other French fathers and raised their cases with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, describing their situation as “unacceptable.”

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also spoke with Abe about Italian parents’ rights at the Group of 20 meeting in the Japanese city of Osaka in June. Now, with French and Italian media outlets taking up the issue, the two European leaders are under pressure to speak up again when Group of Seven leaders meet in Biarritz, France, starting Aug. 24.

Fichot and Perina, along with seven other fathers and one mother, and on behalf of 14 children from the United States, Canada, France, Italy and Japan, filed a formal complaint to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council arguing that Japan was grossly violating the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.

But it is not only, or even mainly, foreigners who suffer: Lawyer Akira Ueno says tens of thousands of Japanese children a year are effectively kidnapped by one parent, who then cuts off contact with the other parent. The second parent — often but not always the father — has no recourse to the authorities for help seeing their children, he says. 

Japan is unusual among developed nations in not recognizing the concept of joint custody. Instead, courts give custody to one parent, applying what is known as the “continuity principle” — if the child is settled in one household, don’t disturb him or her. Not only does the law not punish a parent who absconds with a child, it rewards them: Once the new household is established, the court unfailingly awards custody to the “kidnapper.”

Morehouse is frustrated that President Trump has, on Abe’s insistence, advocated strongly for Japanese citizens who were abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s, meeting their families and raising the issue with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but has not done so for hundreds of stranded American children.

The president “ran on a statement and policy of ‘America First,’ ” he said. “He ought to put American kidnapped children first, and bring them home from Japan and other countries.”

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Thanks for the theorizing about me as a person Yubaru, but I don't need any website, least of all an English language one, to tell me about Japan. I can come to my own observations.

The fact that Japanese people came up with the "ikumen" word should be enough evidence that the perceived role of fathers is very negative in Japan. You can only have a new word and big fuss about a man who takes an interest in his kid's activities and education if the assumption is that men as a rule do not take an interest in their kids' activities and education, i.e., the assumption is that they are uncaring/useless fathers.

It may just be my hope regarding pressure for change, but an ikumen father has a much stronger case for visitation than some other father who, in keeping with the mythical stereotype, has supposedly never cared about his kids. The more Japanese men fight back about custody, the more likely it is to change.

Regarding Do The Hustle's posts, the bizarre thing is that a woman who claims sexual assault in Japan with evidence will be ignored/discredited, but one who claims DV and wants custody of the kids will be unquestionably believed with no evidence. A husband is treated worse than a random man who has violated a woman's body.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Which actually makes perfect sense, legality. Basically, this is he said, she said. You are supposed to want a high degree of proof in the case of criminal law where you deprive a person's freedom.

For DV on a question of custody, a low degree of proof is better. Yes, sure, there's the theory that joint custody is best for the kid, but the difference is in percentiles rather than decisive. No one would expect it to compare with the difference of having to live with DV. So if there's even a significant chance of DV, the balance of advantage quickly turns into keeping the DV-suspect away from the kid.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Read Kazuaki Shimazaki and Andreea’s post.

And if you have any experience with not being able to see your child you’ll see again why it’s totally hopeless.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This judge just opened a can of worms. Has basically said anything Japan agrees with, and signs, it doesn't have to enforce what-so-ever.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Macv: I wasn't claiming it was a perfect system; I was merely stating what an intelligent person should do to increase their chances of not losing contact with their child.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

This judge just opened a can of worms. Has basically said anything Japan agrees with, and signs, it doesn't have to enforce what-so-ever.

It would appear that the Japanese government is trying to get the benefits of being a signatory of the Hague Convention, while not following through with the commitments required by it.

People have mentioned that no child has ever been returned by Japan, even since the signing of the convention.

Is this true? Does anyone have anything to show otherwise? If it's true, it's a sad indictment on the Japanese government.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This judge just opened a can of worms. Has basically said anything Japan agrees with, and signs, it doesn't have to enforce what-so-ever.

He doesn't quite say that. He acknowledges the duoist nature of Japanese legal theory - no international norm has force in the domestic field until the legislators decide how best to incorporate it into domestic law. Failure to do so speedily may be a violation of international norm, but not a justification for the judiciary to fill the gap.

Further, the question was placed as one of constitutionality. It is hard to complain about constitutionality just because the legislators won't authorize direct coercive means that are the first thing the Constitution is supposed to limit.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I’d like to make one thing perfectly clear about my particular case. The violence order was put on me during mediation. This was because I had disagreed to her extortion child support claims of paying ¥5,000 per hour per child for visitation. She just walked in and said, “I fear violence.” without any proof and that was the end of that round of mediation. It took another six months (without seeing my kids) before the next round of mediation. It took me 18 months to see me kids after separation.

Secondly, the stalking order was put on me because I went to my kids’ school to pick them up after she had banned me from seeing them (again).

I did nothing to this woman, except marry her. I had difficulty getting a full time job in 2009/10. I went surfing with my friends in October 2010. She emailed my friend and told him that she had taken my kids to the other end if Japan and would not come back until I moved out. There was no violence. She just called me a gaijin loser and stole my kids. Everything else is just made up BS to get her own way

She married me because I wasn’t Japanese and divorced me fir the San reason. However, I did receive an email from her two years ago thanking me for my genes because both kids had won all their races in the school sports carnival. What a gal!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

However, I did receive an email from her two years ago thanking me for my genes because both kids had won all their races in the school sports carnival. What a gal!

So now you know what type of woman she really is. Sad to say but it sounds like all she wanted was what was in your pants all along, and not the troubles associated with having to deal with a husband.

She is a real winner this one isnt!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Yubaru - She is a real winner this one isnt!

A real class act indeed! It would seem she just wanted the 'kowaii halfu' kids. The father was just the luggage that came with them.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The TReuters item has the right language but without becoming an avalance the ending judge has no reason to question his schooling.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@dothehustle At least you did get to see them

1 ( +1 / -0 )

list of our kidnapped children this is just the tip of the iceberg

http://www.bachome.org/kidnapped.html

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

This is a sad & bad decision.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

here's what S Korea says about compensation for wartime sex slaves and forced labor

Nam said that while Seoul will continue to honor a 1965 bilateral agreement that was purported to settle issues of wartime compensation, such human rights issues were not sufficiently addressed when the accord was struck.

and here's what Japan says about its child abductions

The plaintiffs had claimed the parents' lack of access to their children was a clear violation of the U.N. treaty on children's rights, which Japan ratified in 1994. In the ruling on Friday, presiding Tokyo District Court judge Tatsuro Maezawa said the U.N. treaty was "merely an agreement to respect" those rights, but had no binding power.

These are examples of Asian mindset - I cannot foresee any solutions the conflict will go on forever.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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