The House and The Senate both held hearings on international parental child abduction in April. One of the focal points was the State Department's lack of use of the sanction tools under The Goldman Act.
Below is a condensed video where senators ask about the sanctions during the April 24, 2018 Senate Committee on the Judiciary hearing, "Abducted Abroad: Exploring the Plight of International Parental Child Abduction and its Effect on American Families."
Representatives asked a similar line of questions in the condensed video of the April 11, 2018 House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing, "No Abducted Child Left Behind: An Update on the Goldman Act."
Senate Resolution 431 (S.Res.431) will create a month of awareness of for the harm caused by international parental child abduction. It will lead to greater action to #EndInternationalParentalChildAbduction
Learn about the resolution here.
Helping Is Easy
1) Call the Washington, DC office for both your senators. Keep it simple:
My name is ___________ I am a constituent from (city&state) and I would like to see Senator ___________ co-sponsor and vote for S.Res. 431 on creating an international parental child abduction awareness month.
If you can’t reach someone at the DC office, then call the district office.
2) Motivate your friends and family to do it, too, and keep the support chain growing.
Senate Phone Numbers
On October 27, 2017 Bring Abducted Children Home Executive Director Jeffery Morehouse briefs The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission on the crime of 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.
Rep. Jeff Clawson at a Congressional hearing on International Parental Child Abduction declares, "We could solve kidnapped children tomorrow. One executive order. Give our kids back or you don't get to sell your cars over here. Give our kids back or you don't get to sell your software over here."
On July 16, 2015 Bring Abducted Children Home Managing Director Randy Collins testified to Congress on his case and the ongoing kidnapping crisis with Japan. "Quite frankly, State’s actions, or this case inaction, speak so loudly we can’t hear what they’re saying. I’d like this committee to insist that OCI and the State Department be far more transparent with Congress and with victimized parents. We deserve answers. Simply telling this committee that they are raising our cases means nothing. What are they saying? Who are they saying it to? What are the answers they are receiving? Are they demanding the return of our children or simply begging? Do they drop the issue just because Japan tells them it’s too difficult to return our kidnapped children? We have suffered years of secrecy from State regarding our abducted children. It’s the perfect definition of insanity, doing the same things over and over again but expecting a different result. The results haven’t changed in my seven years. We are still no closer to seeing our children today than we were before Japan joined The Hague Abduction Convention," said Collins whose son, Keisuke Collins, was kidnapped by his ex-wife to Japan in June 2008.
Ambassador Susan Jacobs, Special Advisor to the Secretary for Children's Issues testifies that Brazil, India and Japan are the worst offenders of International Parental Child Abduction.
On June 11, 2015 attorney and Bring Abducted Children Home co-founder, Christopher Savoie, testified to Congress on his case and the ongoing kidnapping crisis with Japan. "The elephant in the room is the inherent conflict of interest problem for the State Department in these abduction cases. Their primary mandate, as they see it, is to maintain good relations with strategic allies such as Japan. And this is in direct conflict with the interests of our children and the children of Japan, whose advocacy would require that the State Department to publicly shame and reprimand Japan for its complicity in these kidnappings and for its truly barbaric sole parental rights regime. A regime that violates some of the most basic human rights of parents and children alike."
On March 25, 2015 Bring Abducted Children Home Executive Director Jeffery Morehouse testified to Congress on his case and the ongoing kidnapping crisis with Japan. “Now is the time for Japan to demonstrate they are serious about changing course on the ongoing crisis of International Parental Child Abduction,” said Morehouse whose son was kidnapped to Japan his ex-wife in June 2010. “I am hear to ask Congress to tell the Prime Minister it is not acceptable to continue to hold my son, “Mochi” Atomu Imoto Morehouse or any of the 400 U.S. children kidnapped to Japan.“
Rep. Christopher Smith (NJ-4) to Secretary of State John Kerry, "Japan has been breathtakingly unresponsive especially to abductions that occurred prior to ratification of the Hague (Abduction) Convention."
At her confirmation hearing to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, gives her commitment to promote and protect the welfare of U.S. citizens in Japan.
During the hearing she is asked by Senator Ben Cardin if she will use her position to help resolve the almost 400 American cases that will not be covered under The Hague Abduction Convention.
Ms. Kennedy states that as a parent she understands the emotional aspects of this issue and that she has already indicated her concerns to Bureau of Consular Affairs in a meeting in advance of the hearing.
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representative’s held another hearing on International Parental Child Abduction. Substantive portions of the hearing focused on the Japan abduction crisis with Members of Congress calling for stronger action to return kidnapped children.
We are extremely concerned about the direction of the implementing legislation in the Japanese Diet. This is an intentional effort by ruling parties to create loopholes that will all but ensure that no child abducted in the future will be returned to their country of habitual residence. Additionally, Japan has continued to fail to address the current cases or provide aid or assistance in providing information on where children kidnapped from the U.S. and other countries are being held.
Today, by unanimous consent the United States Senate passed S. Res. 543: International Parental Child Abduction. Japan is specified by name three times for these ongoing abductions.
The resolution condemns the unlawful international abduction of all children. It also calls on the United States and the international community to take additional steps to resolve current and future abduction cases.
BAC Home directors, members and friends worked diligently since August to provide information to senate staff on the vital importance of this resolution and the ongoing crisis of International Parental Child Abduction to Japan and other countries. This condemnation by the United States Senate is not an end, but a very solid step that we will continue to build on in the coming year.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today joined Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), John Kerry (D-MA), Richard Lugar (R-IN), James Inhofe (R-OK) and 10 colleagues to introduce a bipartisan resolution condemning the unlawful international abduction of all children. The resolution also calls on the United States and the international community to take additional steps to resolve current and future abduction cases. The resolution names the top ten countries for international child abduction. Japan is specified by name three times in the resolution.
Rep. Smith urges the Department of State to negotiate MOU with Japan concurrently with The Hague Convention or 173 American children abducted to Japan and their parents may be left behind permanently.
Testifying are The Honorable Susan Jacobs and The Honorable Kurt Campbell
The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights held a hearing on "Improving Implementation of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction."
Testifying are The Honorable Susan Jacobs and The Honorable Kurt Campbell.
Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) reads BAC HOME’s six-point policy platform on American children kidnapped to and/or wrongfully retained in Japan during a Congressional Subcommittee Hearing on International Parental Child Abduction.
Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) condemning Japan for the abduction of U.S. children.
Rep James Moran (D-VA) On the floor for H Res 1326 speaking about the Japan Child Abduction crisis.
—Media Advisory--***WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 29 at 11:00AM***
Moran to Mobilize Congress on Child Abduction to Japan Measure
Hours before House vote, Moran to hold press conference with members, victims
Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, Congressman Jim Moran, Democrat of Northern Virginia, will hold a press conference to call for swift passage of a resolution on child abduction to Japan. H. Res. 1326 was introduced by Moran in May and aims to up the pressure on the Japanese Government to work with the State Department to address hundreds of unresolved cases of spousal abduction of American children to Japan. On the day the resolution is slated for consideration on the House floor, Moran will join Members of Congress and left behind parents to shed light on this ongoing impasse.
Washington, Sep 29 - A bill addressing the plight of American children and desperate left behind parents who are victims of international child abduction to Japan passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming support today.
Good afternoon, I want to sincerely thank my Congressman, Jim Moran, and Congressman Smith for their tireless efforts on behalf of all our abducted children, and for introducing this resolution on such a significant day in Japan, Children’s Day. My name is Douglass Berg, I am a veteran of the Armed Forces, and loving father of Gunnar (10 years old) and Kianna (9 years old) Berg who have been abducted to Japan.
Thank you, Representative Moran, Representative Smith and other Honourable Members of Congress, for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today on behalf of my children, and on behalf of many other victims of parental abduction to Japan.My name is Christopher Savoie and I am a father. I am the proud, doting father of two beautiful children— my son, Isaac is 9 years old, and my daughter, Rebecca, is 7.
By Ken Connelly
WASHINGTON – Congressman James Moran (D-VA), along with two other representatives introduced House Resolution 1326, condemning Japan over its blatant disregard for human rights in the matter of parentally abducted children. For over 58 years, Japan has failed to return a single child detained unlawfully and in violation of United States courts.
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — A congressional resolution introduced Tuesday is calling on the secretary of defense to alter the status of forces agreement with Japan to assist service members whose children have been kidnapped and taken to Japan.