Over the previous two years, prior to her confirmation as Secretary of State, contact was made with then Senator Clinton and her staff in regard the abduction issue with Japan. She and her staff were well aware of the issue. Upon her confirmation, many of her staff followed her to the Department of State. Knowing of now Secretary of State Clinton’s new role and her first trip to Japan coming in February 2009, a staffer of the Secretary suggested that American Left-Behind Parents fax our stories of our cases regarding our children’s abduction to Japan. These letters shared our heartache, our pain, and our sense of loss so many of us Left-Behind Parents face every day. These letters urged her to discuss the issue of our abducted children with Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama. After all, she was going to Japan to discuss the international abduction issue and speak with those Japanese families who suffer everyday for the loss of their children. This certainly seemed like the most opportune time to make a public statement regarding the abduction of the hundreds of American children who have been kidnapped to Japan in the past ten years; quid pro quo if you will. In our fantasies, we envisioned a conversation like this: “Mr. Prime Minister, we will support you again in making public statements for the return of your remaining abducted children by North Korea. But you, sir, need to reciprocate the very things you are asking the United States and North Korea to do for you. American children kidnapped to YOUR country also must be returned.”
We American Left-Behind parents watched intently as she arrived in Japan. We watched the news and we saw her meeting with those grieving family members of those who were abducted to North Korea over 30 years ago. We saw through the cameras as she expressed her empathy and the pain in her eyes for those family members, and as she was looking at the photos of those missing Japanese children. Then the cameras were turned off. Even though she had just received at least a dozen letters on behalf of hundreds of abducted American children, she said absolutely nothing! Were those five remaining abducted Japanese children from 30 years ago more important to her, and this country, than the hundreds of American children kidnapped to Japan in the past ten years?
Just a few months later, Secretary Clinton congratulated Japan for “National Children’s Day” with the following quote “It is my pleasure to offer warm wishes to boys and girls in Japan on the May 5 occasion of Children’s Day. On this holiday, Japanese families celebrate the joys of childhood and family life. Children are, indeed, a national treasure, and both the United States and Japan share a strong commitment to childhood health, safety, and education. It is a responsibility for all of us to work together to ensure the protection of children. It is our hope that one day children from all countries will be able to celebrate the carefree joys that children in Japan celebrate today.”
If our children are a “National Treasure”, why are abducted American children not being treated as such? Do they not have Constitutional Rights? How does the United States “Share a strong commitment to childhood health, safety, and education”? Many of these American children have been illegally kidnapped off of U.S. soil in violation of U.S. Court orders. American children are all in harm’s way due to the catastrophic events of the tsunami, earthquake, and the highest levels of radiation exposure in history. A year after one of the worst catastrophes the world has ever known, several Left-Behind American parents still have not been able to obtain contact with their children and have no idea of their health and safety. How does the United States “Share” any kind of commitment with a country that supports and condones the illegal abduction of American children?
Fortunately, several members of the Senate have become sympathetic to our plight, and in November 2009, twenty-two U.S. Senators sent President Obama a letter urging him to raise the issue of our abducted children with the Prime Minister in his upcoming trip to Japan. President Obama invited three of the family members of Japanese kidnapped to North Korea to sit in the second row of his press conference with photos in hand of their abducted children. We watched again as the President said“Full normalization with its neighbors can only come if Japanese families receive a full accounting of those who have been abducted.” Again, the President made no such public statement about abducted American children, proving once again that the Japanese children abducted 30 years ago mean more than the hundreds of American children abducted in the past ten years.
Japan, Secretary Clinton, and President Obama feel the pain for the loss those Japanese family members abducted 30 years ago. But none of them seems to empathize with the pain, anguish, and heartbreak thousands of American parents and extended families feel with the loss of our illegally abducted children. Secretary Clinton and President Obama have met with those Japanese family members. Yet, neither has extended any such courtesy to the Left-Behind Parents from the United States.
YOUR ACTIONS SPEAK SO LOUDLY WE CAN’T HEAR WHAT YOU’RE SAYING.
Loving Father of Keisuke Christian Collins
Illegally Abducted to Japan June 16, 2008