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Parents urge Clinton to press Japan to take action on child abductions

18 Comments

About 50 foreign and Japanese parents held a rally in Tokyo's Ginza area on Sunday, urging visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to call on Japan to ratify The Hague treaty on the issue of child abductions in child-custody disputes.

Although Clinton was not in the vicinity, the group held up signs asking her to press the Noda administration to ratify The Hague treaty and stop child abductions.

In March, the Japanese government submitted a bill to endorse the 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction but there have been no deliberations in the Diet yet, nor has any schedule been set.

The issue has been a long-time source of tension between Japan and many other countries.

Western nations have voiced concern for years over citizens' struggles to see their half-Japanese children. When international marriages break up, Japanese courts virtually never grant custody to foreign parents, especially men.

Japanese critics of The Hague treaty often charge that women and children need protection from abusive foreign men. Japanese lawmakers are considering making exceptions to the return of children if there are fears of abuse.

If Tokyo ratifies the convention, it would only apply in the future and not to any ongoing cases in which foreign parents are seeking children in Japan.

© Japan Today/AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

18 Comments
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Glad to hear this is still on the books. Japan has been rather quiet about it recently.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Hai wakarimashita

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan has been rather quiet about it because it hopes the issue will fade away and be forgotten. When reminded again it will give the usual "we'll deliberate the issue in the Diet and get back to you on it" The hidden meaning of course will be "we have no intention whatsoever of joining this convention but as long as you think we're taking action it's okay".

My prediction is the issue will be dropped once the DPJ loses power to the LDP in the upcoming collapse of yet another Prime Minister (any day now). I feel for the parents who cannot see their children. Unfortunately the is no legal recourse for them to seek justice from a nation that denies foreigners basic human rights.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

That's because as far as the government and many people are concerned here in Japan, foreigners are not as human as them.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Years and years after Japan said they would sign and NOTHING HAS HAPPENED!

Time to get tough, please impose restricted trading on Japan until this is fixed.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Japan has been rather quiet about it recently.

They're probably trying to make sure there are enough loopholes before singing anything.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@pukey2: Yep Japan loves loopholes,

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japan has been rather quiet about it because it hopes the issue will fade away and be forgotten. When reminded again it will give the usual "we'll deliberate the issue in the Diet and get back to you on it" The hidden meaning of course will be "we have no intention whatsoever of joining this convention but as long as you think we're taking action it's okay".

Which is also the reason why, the pressure needs to continue, like a bombing campaign, because as you said, Japan wants nothing more than this issue to fade away or at least have the attention drawn away from it, because the last thing Japan wants to do is sign the treaty. If anyone thinks that the Japanese government is desperately and feverishly worried deep in their hearts as to how to ratify this law to make it just, equal and fair for both parties is living in LaLa land. Japan wants to distance itself as far away from this as much as possible. Also, make no mistake, once Japan signs this treaty, by a long shot it doesn't mean that Japan will be honored to follow it accordingly, I can tell you for sure without a doubt, Japan will try to find a loophole, an excuse somewhere to justify their actions for allowing the mother to hide with the children.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan will try to find a loophole, an excuse somewhere to justify their actions for allowing the mother to hide with the children.

It's not ALWAYS the mother...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's not ALWAYS the mother...

No, but almost 98% of time it is though, because mostly women get sole custody of the child.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Japanese critics of The Hague treaty often charge that women and children need protection from abusive foreign men."

The Hague Convention already provides protection against children being abused. Children cannot be returned to abusive parents.

However, the difference with what Japan is doing concerns the onus of proof. The Hague requires that allegations of abuse be proven by the alleged victims. Japan wants to put the onus on the accused to prove their innocence. How can someone prove non-abuse? It's silly.

Also, what about women who are abusive? Japan discounts this entirely.

Finally, child abduction is also abuse. But Japan does not take this into consideration.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The individual rights of children must be protected. Japan sure likes to procrastinate urgent matter , don't they?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

But, regardless of international pressure, nothing will change in Japan until it has its own domestic laws on joint custody and child support. And, you can bet, if Japan joins the Haigue they will write their own set of rules for it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The article should quote the full name of the convention - "Parental Aspects of Child Abduction" - this is a child custody treaty. Normal child abduction is a simple Interpol matter - the issue here is enforcing family court custody orders consistently across borders - Japan's non-participation encourages forum shopping being parents bringing their children to Japan to get a more favorable contradictory custody order. That is a serious problem that should be resolved, but painting this as ordinary criminal child abduction clouds the actual issues at hand. It isn't just a matter of signing the convention and policing it. Japan will need to amend its entire family law system, which is long overdue and needed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Maybe they can use the Ospreys as leverage. Tell them that the US will keep them if JP will take more action with child abduction. Even swap, not really but hey I think JP is putting more attention on those Ospreys than on this situation. I thinking resolving this abduction issue is much bigger.

The gov. is more worried about these empty islands than they are about the welfare of these kids. Its sad.

I hope Clinton can do something.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

which means not being raised by nasty foreigners.

and it is not ALWAYS the father who is the foreigner...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is a great misconception that a child abducted by a parent is a "safe" child.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@FightingViking

True, but there are a lot more foreign men coming to Japan than women I would guess.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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