- Mr. Akira Ueno, Attorney, Nihonbashi Sakura Law Firm
- Professor Noriko Odagiri, Professor of Clinical Psychology Tokyo International University
- Mr. Tommaso Perina, an Italian Father
- Mr.Vincent Fichot, a French Father
The Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan hosted a panel in Tokyo to discuss domestic and international parental child abduction. Topics included harm to the children, shortcomings in Japanese family law and how Japan's Continuity Principle is keeping children kidnapped. Panelists included:
WASHINGTON—Parents Jeffery Morehouse, Juan Garaicoa, and Michelle Littleton sat before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Dec. 10 to testify about the same terrible fate of their children—international abduction by a spouse.
“While most children were returning to school, my children were boarding a plane and being kidnapped to war-torn Lebanon,” Littleton, a mother of three, said.
“She had kidnapped our son to Japan,” said Morehouse, the founder and executive director of the non-profit Bring Abducted Children Home. “I don’t even know where he is being held.”
“Time is of the essence and now is the time to bring our children home,” pleaded Garaicoa, whose two children remain in Ecuador.
While the countries, children, and spouses are different, they share the same frustration of fighting to be reunited with their children in foreign lands.
Morehouse won custody of his children in U.S. courts—and twice in Japan—but his teenage son, Mochi, who was taken by his wife at age 6, remains in Japan with his mother because there is no enforcement mechanism under Japanese law.
“In the end, the court refused to reunite Mochi and me,” said Morehouse.”It does not matter how a child ends up with the abductor in Japan, they will not uphold laws and treaties to return children to their rightful home.”
Jeffery Morehouse dropped his 6-year-old son off with his mother for a weeklong visit in 2010 — and she managed to abscond with him to Japan.
On Monday, Mr. Morehouse, executive director of Bring Abducted Children Home, called on Congress to step up American efforts to bring his son and other children back from overseas, saying the government’s actions are inconsistent and insufficient.
“President Trump ran on putting America first,” Mr. Morehouse said in his testimony to the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on global human rights. “Well, America first means putting American children first and bringing them home.”
"Prime Minister Abe for the past two years has spread it all over the press how President Trump and the U.S. are going to help Japan resolve the 1977-1983 kidnappings of 17 of their citizens in to North Korea. I feel for those parents. I understand their pain. It is my pain. It is our pain. We should help with that. It's the right thing to do.
President Trump ran on putting America first. Well, America first means putting American children first and bringing them home. Prime Minister Abe, what about returning the 400+ American children kidnapped to Japan since 1994? What about returning Mochi?
WASHINGTON – House Foreign Affairs subcommittee Chairman Chris Smith called on the Trump administration to take concerted action to stop international parental child abduction.
“The Trump administration can and must use current law, especially the tools embedded in the Goldman Act, to more aggressively bring American children home to their families,” Smith (R-N.J.) said at a hearing on Monday that featured testimony from parents whose children were abducted abroad.
Smith said “child abduction is child abuse.”
Smith said more than 450 American children are abducted each year. He said 11,000 children were abducted internationally between 2008 and 2017.
Panelists relayed their experiences to the committee and implored action.
“The last time I saw my son was on Father’s Day of 2010,” said Jeffery Morehouse, executive director of Bring Abducted Children Home.
That day, Morehouse said, he dropped off his then-6-year-old-son, Mochi Atomu Imoto Morehouse, with his ex-wife for a week-long visit. Three weeks later, Morehouse said, the police informed him that his wife and son had been reported missing.
“I knew immediately what happened,” Morehouse recalled. “She succeeded in what she had threatened to do. She kidnapped our son to Japan.”
Morehouse said he pursued the matter in Japanese courts and won.