On May 15, 2018 as Japan was about to be cited for International Parental Child Abduction by the United States, they held a public seminar at the House of Culture of Japan in Paris co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Japan Federation of Bar Associations. In an audio recording from inside the event, we hear participants being educated about The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction. They are also taught how to prevent having their children returned to France should they take them without consent to live in Japan. More simply put, organizers lay out how to abduct to Japan and get away with it.
There is a systemic, entrenched pattern that further harms the children abducted by a parent to and within Japan. It is known as "The Continuity Principle." Simply put, judges and attorneys representing abductors manipulate the "best interest of the child" to rule that the child should remain alienated and ignore how they ended up with the abducting parent. In Japan, abducting your child is encouraged because it assures you will keep possession. We see this in international cases where courts may determine the child was taken to Japan without permission, sometimes acknowledging illegal acts, and then rule the child should remain with the abducting parent.
To impact the ongoing child abduction crisis positively, the most effective way currently is to encourage Japanese judges to end using the continuity principle and adopt the “friendly parent rule." In Japan's interpretation, the friendly parent is the one more supportive of the other parent being an integral part of the child's life. Adopting this would create a standard for the child to maintain a relationship with both parents. Japan could then be more in sync with The Hague Abduction Convention, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the revised Japanese civil code article 766.
Addressing at the United Nations Human Rights Council this week Mr. Shunichi Fujiki of the International Career Support Association declared, "Parental child abductions are becoming a serious human rights violation in Japan."
"The abducted child is at the mercy of the abducting parent. The child can no longer go home and [is] forced to sever their relationship with the abandoned parent."
Children have the right to be loved by both parents. He continues, "In Japan many children are deprived of the basic rights because of the current system and crooked lawyers."
U.S. Congresswoman Mimi Walters (CA-45) speaks on the House floor about Keisuke's 2008 kidnapping to Japan by his mother and Japan's terrible record on international parental child abduction.
“Japan continues to have one of the worst records in returning abducted children like Keisuke [Collins] to the United States,” declared Rep. Walters.
She closed, "this is a grave injustice and I will continue to support Randy and all
families whose children have been wrongfully abducted."
In 2011, partnering with Mr. Collins while she served in the California State Senate she introduced SB 1206 which was signed into law in 2012 as Keisuke's Law.
The network, Japanese Cultural Channel Sakura, uses racist overtones to mock the U.S. and parents of internationally kidnapped children for wanting to be part of their children's lives. Below is the disturbing broadcast in its entirety.
Channel Sakura has hosted the Prime Minister as well as other top government officials on their programs.
The following is a condensed broadcast version of a news program in Japan supporting international parental child abduction.
U.S. Congressman Chris Smith provides an impassioned plea for the return of "Mochi" Atomu Imoto Morehouse and all children kidnapped to Japan by a parent. The video was released at a May 29, 2017 press conference in Tokyo by Jeffery Morehouse and attorney Akira Ueno at the Tokyo Courthouse. (full transcript in Japanese and English follows)
Jeffery Morehouse has been tenaciously and thoughtfully trying to reunite with his kidnapped son, Mochi, since 2010.
As the chairman of the official congressional subcommittee that oversees international human rights, I invited Jeffery to testify before congress to tell his story. I was deeply moved. The love he has for his son is extraordinary—as is the suffering and pain he and Mochi endure as a result of this heartbreaking and illegal separation.
As Jeffery reported to the US Congress in 2015, he has had sole custody in the United States since 2007. This fact was also recognized as legal by the courts in Japan in 2014. Thus, it is shocking that his son has not been returned to him by the Japanese government.
I can't imagine the pain of this kind of separation, and I hear it in his words every time I see him, and that is often. He is a loving father tirelessly trying and working for return of his son.
There have been hundreds of parental abductions from the U.S. to Japan since 1994. Jeffery's case underscores a serious injustice. It is false to claim that it is “in the best interest of the child” to remain in Japan—or anywhere after being kidnapped and taken there. Child abduction is a daily, ongoing form of child abuse.
Japan is a great country with many great people. It is a friend and important ally of the United States. But, no democratic, honorable government should allow this type of criminal act to continue.
In 2011, I traveled to Japan on behalf of many American parents who simply wanted to be reunited with their children. Japanese elected officials and government officials with whom I met, agree that the forced separation is deeply damaging—both for the child and the left behind parent.
Japan as we all know has since signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction—signifying the government’s intention to properly resolving these child abduction cases.
But the Morehouse case, already adjudicated in the courts years ago, continues to raise troubling questions about Japan’s human rights’ record and its commitment to reuniting families.
And so I call on my friends in the Japanese government to please take decisive action in this and other pending international child abduction cases. Please return Mochi to his loving father.
The Coalition to End International Parental Child Abduction met in The Roosevelt Room with White House staff close to the President and Ivanka Trump. "Being invited to The White House to discuss policy changes necessary with countries like Japan is an important step in making American children first and bringing them home," according to Jeffery Morehouse, Executive Director of Bring Abducted Children Home and founding partner in The Coalition.
In Japan's Diet, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida declares there is not a single example of sanctions under the Goldman Act and the Government of Japan is of the opinion that they are sincerely compliant with the Hague Convention. See 3:28-4:39
Parents of Internationally Kidnapped Children and supporters gathered to deliver letters addressed to the Prime Minister of Japan to consulate officials at an event near Seattle. There was one letter for each of the 74 cases listed on the Bring Abducted Children Home website. They outlined Japan’s violations of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and obligation to address the kidnapping and retention of children. This was the Government of Japan’s response to our kidnapped children…
Next week President Obama will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Abe in Washington D.C. The Prime Minister is anticipated to deliver a commitment to implementing Hague legislation. However, there has been no previously announced plan for resolution of existing cases. In advance of the meeting, Bring Abducted Children Home delivered letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Japan to Japanese consulates throughout the U.S.
By Jeffery Morehouse
On my recent trip to Japan, I met with several of the leaders, activists and groups in movement there to end parental child abduction and create joint custody laws. Their domestic problem is enormous in its volume. I met parents that had some briefly monthly visitation and as extreme as a father who has not seen his children for seven years. He would later assist me as I tried to deliver a present for my son on New Year’s Day.
One of the interesting facets was to see the utilization of Japanese animation characters in doing the public outreach at the event in Gifu, Japan. Frankly at first, I thought it was strange and undercut the seriousness of this human and family rights issue. Then I looked at it through local eyes and saw its brilliance. These characters create an easy entry point to the hearts and minds of children and young women.
On July 16, Jeffery Morehouse and Brett Weed met with the Deputy Consul General of Japan in Portland, Mr. Hirofumi Murabayashi to follow up on BAC Home’s July 2, 2012 letter to the Prime Minister.
This week parents, members and leadership of Bring Abducted Children Home are delivering a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Japan to Japanese consulates throughout the U.S.
We call on the Government of Japan to immediately aid and complete the safe return to the United States all American children abducted to Japan, and provide all American children abducted within Japan immediate and unfettered access to their U.S. parent.
On the May 22, 2012 airing of the Australian TV program Foreign Correspondent Japanese Diet Member Masae Ido proclaims, “Not many people think of this as kidnapping or a crime. If anything, they think it’s not a bad thing. It’s really a custom”.
By The Ambassadors Of Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, The United Kingdom And The United States, And The Head Of The Delegation Of The European Union To Japan
October 22, 2010
We, the Ambassadors to Japan of Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, and the United States, and the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Delegation of the European Union to Japan, the Deputy Heads of Mission of Spain, and the United Kingdom, and the Political Counselor of France, called on Japan’s Minister of Justice today to express our concerns over the increase of international parental abduction cases involving Japan that affect our nationals as well as Japanese citizens, and to urge Japan to ratify the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“the Convention”).
Our children are kidnapped in Japan and we need your help to get them back home.
Japan is a haven for international child abduction. Not once has Japan ever returned a single abducted child. Once children enter Japan they never return, making it a black hole. Currently over 375 children have been stolen off American soil and abducted to Japan. Members of BAC Home have had their children abducted and/or have been denied access to our children. Shame on Japan for abducting children from around the world. Shame on Japan.
Christopher Savoie story on CNN