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.
At our wrap-up dinner, I was asked to give a brief speech on the efforts in the U.S., BAC Home, and Mochi’s abduction. Several people asked for public demands from the U.S. government on children internationally abducted to Japan. There was agreement that this kind international pressure was essential.
This requires a real policy shift. When we last had a meeting with Assistant Secretary of State, Kurt Campbell, we were told that they raise the issue in private meetings. Public statements would be embarrassing and counterproductive toward resolution.
Yet, where has this approach gotten our abducted children and us? There still has been no legislative session on Hague Law, no child has been returned by the Government of Japan, and more abductions to Japan have occurred.
These are crimes and human rights violations against American citizens and families. Public condemnation, at a minimum, is warranted.