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Letters from Tokyo
Japan Allows International Child Abduction
By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent
Japan allows international child abduction.

In Japan the “kicking-boy” is always North Korea and one reason for this is the abduction issue which is raised all the time. Yet, in Japan, you have a much bigger abduction issue but this gets little media coverage and of course the nationalist tainted government does not want to dwell on this problem. Therefore, is the “wall of silence” based on racism, double-standards, or is it about Japanization and superiority?

Before focusing on Japan and this nation allowing international child abduction it is important to note that Japan desires to be a permanent member of the United Nations. However, the same Japan will not ratify the Hague Convention and despite ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is a mere gesture because many aspects of this convention have not been implemented.

In recent times, many nations have put pressure on Japan about the seriousness of child abduction and the need to amend the legal system in Japan. Some people, including myself, who is very cynical, believe that even if Japan signs the Hague Convention, it will not have the desired result. After all, it will look good politically and help in Japan’s bid to be a permanent member of the United Nations, however, the reality will be very different.

In Japan the family court does not have real enforcement powers and the police, even if provided with an address of an international child who was kidnapped, will do little. The “wall of silence” behind “false smiles” will just continue and Japanese courts will still have many ways to block real reforms. Or if the courts try to enforce these laws then the police and other authorities will do little.

Also, I know of one foreign parent who went to the immigration office in Tokyo (name withheld for safety reasons) because I went with him to give him moral support. He took evidence of bank statements which showed that he had been paying a sizeable amount each month to support his two children. Not only this, the ex-partner wrote a letter supporting him. Despite this, the immigration official just asked the same question, “Why are you in Japan” and then refused to give him a proper visa to stay and work in Japan.

At the same time, the same immigration officials were stamping visa’s for sex workers. You see, in Japan, failed mixed-marriages and the desire to stay near your child means little; but stamping visas for sex workers, well then the immigration system is much kinder and understanding. However, to see “a person broken” while this was happening at the same time was truly sickening.

The Children’s Rights Council of Japan was created by foreign victims of the Japanese legal system. Yet other nationals have been victims of two legal systems. For example the legal system of England and Wales does not care about deporting children with meaningless documents after sending their child or children to a non Hague Convention nation. Therefore, while this article is primarily focused on the failings of the Japanese legal system, it must be remembered that other legal systems are also failing children, parents, grandparents, and other family members who can no longer see “special people.”

However, the main difference between the United Kingdom and Japan, and all other G-7 nations, is that they have to abide by international legal documents, but Japan does not worry about this for this nation refuses to sign the Hague Convention. Therefore, the Children’s Rights Council of Japan faces an uphill struggle because they have been campaigning for a long time and despite this, they have had little reward for their “just cause.”

I am not being negative towards the Children’s Rights Council of Japan because if you check their website at http://crcjapan.com it is clear that all members are committed and they are giving more than 100 percent. Also, this organization is tenacious but the cold reality of day is that children are being manipulated and brainwashed by the respective Japanese parent who is violating international law.

Also, with each passing month and year, we are seeing Japanization and cultural alienation. Therefore, the years keep on ticking and grandparents and parents of abducted children are dying or losing their health. The mental and physical strain is also enormous and “rays of sunshine” are few and far, but long periods of hopelessness and despair is common.

According to the Children’s Rights Council of Japan “there are 100 or more new cases of U.S. citizen children who are abducted to and/or retained in Japan.” If we look at this figure it is clear that Japan is an abducting nation when it comes to children and ignoring international law. Therefore, binding legal documents from all nations are blatantly ignored in Japan and it makes a mockery of Japan complaining about the North Korean issue.

If we add the 100 or more children from America each year and then apply this to other nations, it is clear that we are talking about the illegal abduction of thousands of children. However, while nations like America and the United Kingdom will openly condemn North Korea; the same nations are quiet when it applies to children who are American or British.

Therefore, why doesn’t the international community call for a United Nations motion against Japan? Also, why are nations like the United Kingdom sending children to Japan and other non-Hague nations during custody battles? After all, this is sanctioning child abduction by either blatant complacency or pure ignorance.

The Children’s Rights Council of Japan states the following. “Japan is the only G-7 industrialized country that is not a party to The Hague abduction convention, which is an important tool for those seeking the return of children abducted across international borders, or to exercise their rights of access to see them. Japanese law enforcement and social service agencies do not enforce custody orders, international arrest warrants, and extradition requests relating to international child abduction. Japan also indirectly supports international child abduction by not having a formal two-parent signature requirement for obtaining passports for minors.”

The following statement sums up Japan correctly. It is a nation which discriminates to the full and refugee or asylum figures is further evidence of the right-wing nature of the elites within Japanese society. However, for parents, grandparents, and family members, it is not about ideology or a clash of culture; it is about justice, pain and sorrow, abandonment by their own national governments, betrayal, frustration, and so much more.

Therefore, is Japan ashamed by being a nation which supports the abduction of thousands of international children of mixed blood? Apparently not, so “the road remains long and full of obstacles” for foreign nationals and sadly it is too late for many. I will say it once more; Japan is the main nation for international child abduction when it applies to developed international nations. Yet silence, racism, indifference, and other negative factors, are at the heart of this nation and until a binding resolution is made against Japan then little will change.



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Lee Jay Walker serves as Tokyo Correspondent of The Seoul Times. He specializes in int'l relations and geopolitics. He is also involved in analyst work and research on business. After finishing BA degree in East European Studies at the University of London, he earned MA degree in Asia Pacific Studies at Nottingham Trent University. Website at http://www.leejaywalker.wordpress.com where work is published.

 

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