The government of Japan is gearing up to create domestic legislation in preparation for joining the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. They have said it will be addressed in the next full session of the Diet in the new year. Currently, as many of you are aware, reports indicate that the government of Japan is intending to create loopholes in this legislation which ensure that very few if any children will be required to be returned under the Convention. In order to prevent this, there has been proposed legislation created by left behind parent groups here in Japan which is presently being used to lobby Diet members on the behalf of LBP’s.
Q&A with producer and Left Behind Parents after a private work-in-progress viewing of “From the Shadows” in Washington D.C.
This was sent to me by my daughter Rion (via her mother) when Rion was 5 years old. Every summer from 2005-2009, Taiko and the girls would go to Japan for 5 weeks to visit their Japanese family while I remained home working. These summer visits were hard for me because I missed my daughters so much when they were gone, but I felt it was important that they know their Japanese heritage and visit with their Japanese family. I would speak to them every day while they were away. Sometimes I would receive emails like this one:
Another birthday approaches. I thought you would be home by now, but you are not. You are still missing.
In your room, I see your toys. They call to me. The Lego’s you love so much, waiting for you to bring them to life again. The books I read to you and you had just started to read to me, before your mother kidnapped you from the only world you had known.
The U.S., Canada and four other countries have jointly urged Japan to take legal steps to ensure that parents who have removed their children after the failure of international marriages will not be preferentially treated contrary to an international treaty on cross-border child custody disputes, government officials said Tuesday.
Since my children were abducted to Japan two years ago, I have learned to live with a new normal. Very few things in my life are the same now that I don't have access to my children. I went from playing with Gunnar and Kianna or teaching them about life, to wondering how they are doing without a loving father in their life. Virtually no aspect of my daily life is the same anymore, nor do I expect it to return to the old normal.
Take for instance answering a simple question like ‘Do you have kids’. This no longer requires a simple answer and often leads into a very long discussion about Japanese child abductions. I guess I can answer ‘no’ and live with the guilt of denial. I really don't want to talk about child abduction. I want to talk about how my kids are doing in school, what they dressed up as for Halloween, or brag about how good they are at soccer.
On Tuesday, November 2nd, 2011, Daddy and 8 others members of two non profit organizations (Left Behind Parents Japan and Asian People’s Friendship Society) met with a Diet member (Congressman / Member of Parliament). Wet met with Mr. Hakubun Shimomura for forty five minutes. We demanded that Japan enact legislation for joint custody in Japan. Mr. Shimomura listened attentively to everything we had to say. Daddy took a framed picture of you three girls and showed it to him. When he asked daddy if I had a meishi (business card) I said, “NO, this is my meishi.” meaning the photo.
The other day I had another dream of my children. I saw my son Gunnar, he ran up to me burying his head into my chest. He didn't want to let go and neither did I. Then Kianna ran up to me hugging me and giving me kisses. Soon all three of us were crying. The images of my children were vivid and seemed so real. We had so much to catch up on since it has been over two years when we last saw each other. I was so happy to be reunited with my children again. Then suddenly I woke up and started really crying realizing it was just a mirage that faded away. Sadly, I also become conscious at that moment that I will only see my kids in my dreams.
It is hard to imagine being separated from your children through abduction. It is also hard to believe that one parent cares more about hurting their ex-spouse than they do about the welfare of their children. These situations are so hard it is hard to comprehend. Many people probably think that the left behind parent is a child abuser. However, if you delve into the details of the cases and study the situation, you will discover that the child abusers are in fact the abductors. Here are a few logical facts to consider.
On June 13, 2008, a California Superior Court judge had ruled Reiko Nakata Greenberg Collins was a flight risk and ordered 5 year old Keisuke Christian Collins passport be turned over to the authorities. On June 16, 2008, just one day after Randy and Keisuke spent Father’s Day together, Reiko violated these court orders and abducted him to Japan. Randy was devastated when he learned his only child, Keisuke Christian Collins, had been illegally abducted by his mother Reiko. Being a retired pilot with Japan Air Lines, Keisuke’s grandfather, Ken Nakata, is believed to be instrumental in assisting his daughter to avoid airport security measures to abduct Keisuke to Japan.
It has been over two years since I have last seen my children, my little buddy Gunnar and my little princess Kianna. After all this time I still find it hard that to believe you were kidnapped from me by your mother to Japan. She has caused me so much pain. I so much wish to hold your hand and hug you once again. I haven’t heard your voice since August of 2009. I still have your last voicemail on my phone. It makes me cry every time I hear it. I still dream about you Gunnar and Kianna all the time. I often have dreams where we are reunited and we get to spend time together.