I was reading USATODAY last night, along with a few other publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Japan Times and I was gratified to learn that America (and to a lesser extent Britain and France) are renewing pressure on the Japanese government to sign the Hague Convention. Japan, shockingly, is the only member of the 7 most richest countries in the world that is not a signatory to the Hague.
As you know, the Hague Convention is the international treaty that protects children and parents in multinational child abduction cases. We just recently did a post about how to guard against international child abductions and what to do if your child is abducted. Because of the increasing number of people who inter-marry (meaning marry others from other countries), the issue of international child abductions by parents is almost becoming a pandemic. So about 80 countries got together and signed this treaty that says if a parent abducts a child and takes the child to a foreign country (the parent’s birth country) following a divorce or relationship break-down, that the “foreign” country would legally be required to return the child to the child’s “home” jurisdiction (that country where the child has resided for most of it’s life, that country that had jurisdiction over the child and the parent’s marriage, that country where the child was probably born, and so forth). But Japan has stubbornly refused to sign the Hague. Meanwhile many American fathers, about 70 of them, are suffering because their former spouse/wife has abducted their kids and taken them to Japan and the Japanese government and laws favor maternal custody. What that means is that notwithstanding what the American courts have said on the issue (usually there is a custody decree in America that either awards joint custody or has actually given custody to the father) Japan pretty much ignores that and allows the mother to not only keep the child, but keep the father from having ANYTHING to do with his kids. This is totally wrong. It is unethical.
Japan’s minister has come out and said that they want to protect women from domestic abuse, post-divorce. That is one of the main reasons for their policy. But that argument is not very persuasive to the American officials and it seems that “bilateral” relations between the two countries is becoming increasingly strained as a result.
“This situation has to be resolved in order to ensure that U.S.-Japan relations continue on such a positive course,” Campbell told reporters in Tokyo. “The United States government strongly believes that these children have a right to enjoy the love of both parents and the benefits of both cultures.”
Campbell’s comments are the strongest to date on this issue, with Tokyo coming under increased international pressure to sign on to the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, which is designed to address such international custody disputes.
Japan is the only Group of Seven nation that has not joined the convention, signed by 80 nations.”USATODAY
It’s about time that they put pressure on Japan. Children should not be abducted like that. And fathers should not be summarily cut from their children’s lives. I have no problem with a presumption of maternal custody all other things held constant. But let daddy see his kids. THEY ARE HIS CHILDREN. It’s good for daddy and it’s good for the children for there to be a continuing relationship. It’s the right thing to do.