We were encouraged by the numerous media reports of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell’s strong position on behalf of our internationally abducted American children during a May 7, 2012 meeting with Japanese officials, politicians and family members of Japanese citizens abducted to North Korea.
To the attention of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, the Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and all employees in the State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues:
This letter was received by Congressman Smith’s office during the week of the introduction of H.R.1940, the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction, Prevention and Return Act.
Get involved and help with the passage of California Senate Bill 1206 – INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION PREVENTION (Keisuke’s Law). Senator Mimi Walters is calling for letters of support by individuals and organizations.
Invitation for event supported by the Harvard Club of Japan (screening and seminar)
Please join us Monday April 9 at the Tokyo Foundation to watch a private screening of the documentary movie “From the Shadows,” (work in progress), and attend a seminar about child abduction to and within Japan. Filmmaker David Hearn and left-behind parent John Gomez will present the issue from their perspectives.
In February 2009, just prior to making her first trip to Japan, Secretary Clinton said, “I will assure our allies in Japan that we have not forgotten the families of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea and will meet with some of those families in Tokyo next week. I don’t know whether I will be meeting more as a Secretary of State any more than as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister. It’s important that their plight is not forgotten. I attach great importance to the abduction issue.” She has also been quoted as saying that “child abduction is a human rights violation.”
Bring Abducted Children Home (BACHome.org) co-founder and Southwest Regional Director, Randy Collins, has been instrumental in getting new legislation introduced in California to protect children from international parental abduction. He has worked closely with California State Senator Mimi Walters (R-33rd District) and her staff on: California Senate Bill Number: SB 1206
“It has been 2397 days since my daughter was abducted by her mother to Japan. How do I get one of those days back?”, stated father and BAC Home member, William Lake.
Mary Lake was abducted to Japan in August 2005. Today, after nearly seven years, she heads home to Florida. We just spoke to Mr. Lake who has confirmed that Mary landed safely on U.S. soil and has just boarded another flight on her journey home.
•••CALL THE CANDIDATES•••
•••Bring Abducted Children Home from Japan•••
Mitt Romney (857) 288-3500 mittromney.com
A) What would he do as President to bring the 374 registered cases of Americans kidnapped to Japan home to the U.S.?
B) Will he commit to raising this issue publicly immediately?
Barack Obama Campaign HQ (312) 698-3670 barackobama.com
Write or call President Obama at:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
A) When is President Obama going to publicly demand that Japan return our kidnapped children?
The leadership of Left Behind Parents Japan met with Yoshinori Oguchi on Monday, January 16th, 2012. Mr. Oguchi is a member of the New Komeito party, the third largest political party represented in the Diet. He was a member of the MoFA committee who discussed modifying Japan’s civil code last fall, in order to sign The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
We presented our policy statement calling for joint custody, criminalization of parental child abduction, policy enforcement of family court orders, meaningful visitation for non-custodial parents, addition of a new visa category for parents of Japanese children to remain in Japan after losing spousal visa status and modification of domestic violence law in Japan to preclude false allegations with no empirical evidence.
This policy statement has been submitted to the Japanese government’s Ministry of Justice and also to Justice Minister (2011) Satsuki Eda.
At the heart of the Japanese international child abduction problem is Japan’s sole custody law. In Japan when parents divorce a single parent is granted sole custody of the children. One parent simply has to give up all his or her rights to their children. If one is not a Japanese citizen, you can be assured you will not be granted sole custody of your children. Not only does this violate the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment to the children of divorced parents.
To coincide with the Dec. 18th rally in Tokyo by parents there, we took to the streets of Seattle to speak with holiday shoppers about how they can help children that have been abducted to and within Japan. As usual people here in the U.S. were shocked to learn about this human rights crisis.
Japan is a country with a heart two sizes too small. It is the only country in the world which has NEVER returned a single abducted child. While it may be individuals who are stealing children, it is the Government of Japan that does nothing to resolve these cases allowing the abductions to take place. As the single worst country for harboring internationally abducted children, Japan has shown the world they truly are a Grinch that steals children.
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.
From the U.S. Department of Justice, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section
Title 18, Section 1204 of the United States Code makes it a federal crime to remove a child from the United States or retain a child outside the United States with the intent to obstruct a parent’s custodial rights, or to attempt to do so. See 18 U.S.C. § 1204. This crime is punishable by up to three years in prison. The law provides a defense where the taking parent acted pursuant to a valid court order obtained under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, or where the taking parent was fleeing domestic violence, or where the failure to return the child resulted from circumstances beyond the taking parent’s control and the taking parent made reasonable efforts to notify the left behind parent within 24 hours and returned the child as soon as possible.
In order for an individual to file a complaint with the United Nations’ five human rights treaty bodies, their home nation must have ratified the optional protocols to the treaties which they have signed and ratified. Left-behind parents of children abducted to Japan (and also left-behind Japanese parents whose own family law system has excluded them from their children’s lives) would have an opportunity, as individuals, to file complaints with the UN regarding their human rights (and those of their children), if Japan would ratify the first optional protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
We petition the Obama administration to:
PUBLICLY press Japan for the return of Abducted U.S. Children and provide transparent dialogue with Japan on this issue.
• AN ESTIMATED 10,0000 U.S. CHILDREN HAVE BEEN ABDUCTED TO OR RETAINED IN JAPAN.
• JAPAN HAS NEVER RETURNED AN ABDUCTED CHILD.
PUBLICLY press Japan for the return of Abducted US Children and provide transparent dialogue with Japan on this issue. Hundreds, if not thousands (Child Abduction in Japan… The REAL Numbers of US Citizen Children have been abducted to, or retained in, the country of Japan.
Japan has never returned a single child, has no legal concept of “joint-custody”, no enforcement of visitation, no requirement for rules of evidence on claims of DV.
The US Congress, in HR1326, has publicly condemned Japan and demanded the immediate return of this children.
However, the Executive Branch has only held back-room discussions. Additionally, there are persuasive claims the DoS is significantly downplaying the number of actual cases.
There needs to be complete transparency into this process, and public condemnation of Japan. These are our country’s children. We the people deserve to know if they are being traded for bases or other government goals.
Will you sign it? http://wh.gov/gKV And then Share it?
As you can imagine, parents with children abducted to Japan have been going through a very difficult time right now sick with worry about our children and trying to get the State Department to locate and contact our children. Many of the American left-behind parents living in Tokyo have evacuated to other areas, unfortunately without their abducted children.
September 15, 2011
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
For the past 50 years, Japan has denied loving American parents custodial rights or any access to their abducted children. Yet Japanese Prime Ministers have no reservation about publicly demanding the return of Japanese citizens abducted to North Korea. This week Prime Minister Noda stated they would spare no effort towards achieving the return of all abductees. We ask that you immediately follow his example and publicly address the abduction of U.S. children to and within Japan during next week’s meeting in New York with Prime Minister Noda and that public efforts continue until:
Trevor Wittman, the owner and head trainer at the Grudge Training Center in Denver, Colorado, is on a mission to make a difference—and not just inside the Octagon.
Osaka, Japan - According to William Lake, on August 24, 2011, 14 year-old Mary Victoria Lake, a U.S. citizen, who was kidnapped by her mother and taken to Japan in 2005, in one of the most high-profile international kidnapping cases in the United States, walked into the U.S. consulate in Osaka, Japan.
Translator’s Note: The following is a translation of an article written by Professor Takao Tanase for the December 2009 edition of Jiyū to Seigi, a Japanese legal periodical. Divorce and familial breakdown has become a major problem in modern Japanese society, yet the law does not provide any meaningful protection for the noncustodial parent. Professor Tanase analyzes this issue from a comparative and theoretical perspective, looking at the current Japanese visitation laws in place today, while contrasting those with the system in the United States. He also looks at how those laws affect actual families, and how the courts have implemented and enforced visitation agreements and orders. This article concludes that not only are the rights of the noncustodial parent insufficient to maintain a meaningful relation with their children following divorce, but that they hardly exist at all.
Bring Abducted Children Home parents and members sent Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., a letter concerning his upcoming meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan. BAC Home is urging the Vice President to publicly address the ongoing issue of children taken from the United States and abducted to Japan.