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  • Joint statement by eight governments re Japan’s untenable stance on international child abductions

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on October 27th, 2009

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    Hi Blog. Eight governments have officially called on the GOJ to mend their ways regarding international child abductions. Now if only the US Consulates would allow their citizens in need to access their facilities. Arudou Debito in Sapporo


    Joint Statement on International Child Abduction
    By the Ambassadors of Australia, Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States
    October 16, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan

    Courtesy Paul Toland, From US Embassy Japan’s website at

    When one parent abducts a child with the intention of denying the other parent contact with his or her child, it is a tragedy for all concerned. Australia, Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States are all parties to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (“the Convention”), which was created to protect children from this tragedy.

    The Convention seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of their wrongful removal or retention across international borders. The Convention further establishes procedures to ensure their prompt return to the State of their habitual residence where custody decisions can be made in the appropriate court of jurisdiction. It also secures protection for rights of access for both parents to their children. To date, over 80 countries have acceded to the Convention.

    Japan is the only G-7 nation that has not signed the Convention. The left-behind parents of children abducted to or from Japan have little realistic hope of having their children returned and encounter great difficulties in obtaining access to their children and exercising their parental rights and responsibilities.

    Because parental child abduction involving Japan affects so many of our citizens, we, the Ambassadors to Japan of Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, and the Deputy Head of Mission from the Embassy of Australia, called on Justice Minister Chiba today to address our concerns.

    We place the highest priority on the welfare of children who have been the victims of international parental child abduction and believe that our children should grow up with access to both parents. Therefore, in our meeting with Minister Chiba we called upon Japan to accede to the Convention. We also urged that Japan meanwhile identify and implement measures to enable parents who are separated from their children to maintain contact with them and to visit them.

    Japan is an important friend and partner for each of our countries, and we share many values in common. This makes it all the more important to develop tangible solutions to cases of parental child abduction in Japan. We are eager to work closely and in a positive manner with the new Japanese government on this issue.

    9 Responses to “Joint statement by eight governments re Japan’s untenable stance on international child abductions”

    1. crustpunker Says:

      Wishing it was a bit more strongly worded. Like IMMEDIATE tangible solutions or something in that vein. This collection of flowery politeness will slide off of Justice Minister Chiba like rainwater off a duck.

    2. Pedro Says:

      I can help but read things like “We place the highest priority on the welfare of children who have been the victims of international parental child abduction and believe that our children should grow up with access to both parents.” being attributed to the US Government or it’s State Dept and laugh. Abducted US children are by far the lowest priority the State Dept. and USDOJ have. Every single other bilateral agreement takes precedence over these children and even when it is not a question of priority the State Dept. is unwilling to spend political capital on abducted children preferring to wait and see if something more important comes up to spend it on (which is pretty much anything).

    3. Justin Says:

      Anyone else think this kind of international ganging-up on Japan (even though I fully support its aims) will backfire and cause Japan to become even more firmly defensive of its abduction-friendly system? It seems like the whaling issue, where lots of countries telling Japan to stop killing whales has only made Japan more committed to carrying out its “research” program. Gaiatsu ain’t what it used to be.

    4. Level3 Says:

      Isn’t the mission of the US State department to NOT aid Americans living in Japan?
      Get in trouble “We can’t help you”
      Go to jail “We’ll send you a list of lawyers” [who the police will deny you due access too] Gee, thanks.
      Try to bring your abducted children to US soil on their advice, get a gate slammmed in your face.

      It represents the interests of the US government to Japan.
      It does not represent the interests of American citizens in/to Japan.
      Oh, they DO renew passports.

      At least we don’t have to pay US income tax on top of Japanese income tax (unless you’re “rich” making over $75,000 a year, which is becoming much easier as the US$ plummets, then you do have to pay) It can truly be “taxation without representation”.

    5. jim Says:

      if the united states really cares then why did the gate strangely forget to open when chris tried to enter the consulate in fukuoka? they already knew he was on his way because he called them to give them a heads up.ones actions speak louder then words

    6. john k Says:


      You’re equating resources of ‘finding said children’ with a Law that can be enforced, to that of having no Law, regardless of resources for finding said child, the two are very different. The priority is irrelevant, however, having a law that says it is a crime is not!

    7. Hatoyama, Okinawa, and understanding the Japanese « Hoofin to You! Says:

      […] even see the cold war heating up in things like the Savoie case. Debito is surprised that western nations are making such an issue over child abductions to Japan. But in […]

    8. Chuckie Says:

      I don’t think that this is comparable to the whaling issue and gaiatsu. I suspect Japan wants to do the right thing re child ‘abductions’ and will get there eventually because its current laws are outdated. Its attitude to whaling, though, isn’t outdated if one considers that whales are no more special than any other mammals we eat. Good collective work from the embassies, although an east Asian embassy’s signatory would’ve helped.

    9. Daryl Says:

      Hi Debito,
      please pass this around .. sort of good news from a famous US lawyer whose focus is on dad right in US…. he attended meeting with State Dept on Oct 27 to give advice on Hague… see his comments on,1..
      President Obama will address this abduction and Hague issue to Japan during his coming visit..

      Posted by jefferymleving on October 29, 2009 11:45 ET

      Through my work as a Fathers’ Rights attorney (, I have been involved in litigating many Hague Convention cases. On October 27, I had a private meeting with high ranking State Department officials to provide legal advice and strategic recommendations for the US State Department regarding international parental child abduction in Mexico, Brazil, and other non-compliant countries as well as the urgent need to convince non-participating countries to sign the treaty. We were informed at the meeting that President Obama may be addressing concerns regarding Japan’s failure to return any allegedly abducted US children during an upcoming diplomatic visit to Japan. I am encouraged by the Federal Government’s renewed focus on international abduction and am optimistic that bringing Japan into the treaty will result in justice for parents like Savoie who are fighting to bring their children home.

      Jeffery M. Leving

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