Journalist, newspaper Helsingin Sanomat | World news
(Japan) Thousands of children are taken out of reach of their other parent each year in Japan. Tapio Tarvas lost contact with his daughter. Jeffery Morehouse, an American, did not get his son back even by court order.
In 2008, Tapio Tarvas was waiting for his Japanese spouse and their baby to return to Finland. After weeks of silence, Tarvas received a message: she would stay with their daughter in Japan. Permanently.
"My ex-wife said she might come when the child was four or five. It was a mental breakdown for me." Tarvas only met his daughter again when she was 8 years old.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a child should have contact with both parents after separation, unless it is harmful to the child.
However, in the case of Mr. Tarvas and thousands of Japanese couples, this agreement is not being honored. In Japan, it is estimated that more than 100,000 children lose contact with one of their parents every year.