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Hi Blog. We had an important Supreme Court ruling come down earlier this month, where an international custody dispute between two Japanese divorcees living in different countries resulted in the custodial parent overseas being awarded custody of the child, as per the Hague Convention on International Child Abductions. (See Japan Times article excerpt below.)
Debito.org has commented at length on this issue (and I have even written a novel based upon true stories of Japan’s safe haven for international child abductions). Part of the issue is that due to the insanity of Japan’s Family Registry (koseki) System, after a divorce only ONE parent (as in, one family) gets total custody of the child, with no joint custody or legally-guaranteed visitation rights. This happens to EVERYONE who marries, has children, and divorces in Japan (regardless of nationality).
But what makes this Supreme Court decision somewhat inapplicable to anyone but Wajin Japanese is the fact that other custody issues under the Hague (which Japan only signed kicking and screaming, and with enough caveats to lead to probable nonenforcement), which involved NON-Japanese parents, faced a great deal of racism and propaganda, even from the Japanese government.
As evidence, consider this TV segment (with English subtitles) on Japan’s ultraconservative (PM Abe Shinzo is a frequent contributor) Sakura Channel TV network (firmly established with the “present Japan positively no matter what” NHK World network). It contains enough bald-facedly anti-foreign hypotheticals (including the requisite stereotype that foreign men are violent, and Japanese women are trying to escape DV) to inspire entire sociological articles, and the incredible claim that Japan’s court system is just appeasing White people and forcing a “selfish” alien system upon Japan.
The best bits were when banner commentator Takayama Masayuki claimed a) White men just marry women from “uncivilized” countries until they find better women (such as ex-girlfriends from high school) and then divorce them, capturing the former as “babysitters” for once-a-week meet-ups with their kids (which Takayama overtly claims is the “premise” of the Hague Convention in the first place); and b) (which was not translated properly in the subtitles) where Takayama at the very end cites Mori Ohgai (poet, soldier, medical doctor and translator who wrote sexualized fiction about a liaison between a Japanese man and a German woman) to say, “play around with White WOMEN and then escape back home.” (Who’s being selfish, not to mention hypocritical, now?)
Take yet another plunge into this racialized sexpit of debate, where the racism doesn’t even bother to embed itself. Dr. Debito Arudou
Supreme Court breaks new ground, ruling in favor of U.S.-based Japanese father in international custody battle
BY TOMOHIRO OSAKI, THE JAPAN TIMES, MAR 15, 2018, Courtesy of lots of people.
The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in favor of a U.S.-based Japanese father seeking to reunite with his teenage son, who was taken by his estranged wife to Japan in 2016, concluding that the wife’s dogged refusal to abide by an earlier court order mandating the minor’s repatriation amounts to her “illegally confining” him.
The ruling is believed to be the first by the Supreme Court on cases where return orders by courts have been refused. It is likely to send a strong message regarding domestic legislation that is often slammed as impotent on cross-border child abductions, despite Japan’s commitments under the Hague Convention, following mounting criticism that return orders issued by courts have been ignored.
The Supreme Court sent the case back to the Nagoya High Court.
This latest case involved a formerly U.S.-based Japanese couple whose marital relationship began to deteriorate in 2008. According to the ruling, the wife unilaterally took away one of her children, then aged 11, in January 2016 and brought him to Japan where the two have since lived together.
Upon a complaint by the husband, a Tokyo court issued in September the same year a “return order” for the child under the Hague Convention, but the wife didn’t comply. When a court-appointed officer intervened to recover the child the following year the wife “refused to unlock the door,” prompting the officer to enter her residence via a second-story window, the ruling said. The mother then put up a fierce fight to retain the child, who also articulated his wish to stay in Japan.
On Thursday the top court overturned a Nagoya High Court ruling that acknowledged the child’s desire to stay in Japan. The latest ruling judged the minor was “in a difficult position to make a multifaceted, objective judgment about whether to remain under control of his mother,” citing his “heavy reliance” on her and the “undue psychological influence” she was likely exerting upon him in his life in Japan. The apparent lack of his free will, the ruling said, meant the mother’s attempt to keep the child equated to detention…
Rest of the article at https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/03/15/national/crime-legal/supreme-court-breaks-new-ground-ruling-favor-u-s-based-japanese-father-international-custody-battle/
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17 comments on “Japan Supreme Court enforces Hague Convention on Int’l Child Abductions (for Japanese claimants). Yet Sakura TV claims Hague is for “selfish White men” trying to entrap women from “uncivilized countries” as “babysitters””
:How racist Sakura TV is, was my first thought, for generalizing white men as selfish. Or indeed for all foreign spouses as white. Then I realized that Takayama bloke has a sexual inadequacy as well- ” “play around with White WOMEN and then escape back home.” (Who’s being selfish, not to mention hypocritical, now?)”
Whats that? We Japanese can do that too syndrome? Is this the 80s? Whens this guy going to grow up?
Multiple psychological issues at play here render this worthy of Japan passing, though for those having live here it is most annoying having to be even exposed to it for a second.
This guy is nuts. “Those (uncivilized) countries like (Japan?) The Philippines and Korea?” Korea has a completely different standard of living from The Philippines.
His post war suspicion that Japan is inferior to America is the elephant in the room.
Sorry, but I am so TRIGGERED by this anti white diatribe. How is this Takayama guy even allowed on TV? Isnt this Hate Speech?
At least he might make pro Japanese white supremacists rethink their admiration of Japan. It really is a lost cause.
He is clearly an imperialist revisonist at odds with the whole postwar narrative. Note how he says “it is not necessary for Japan to sign the Hague, which echoes the “racism doesnt exist in Japan” myth.
But I suppose he is enabled to spout this racist nonsense as Japanese democracy means the right of the Right (ha!) to make discriminatory comments?
Dutch Imigration is very strict. They don’t let any Japanese fly to Japan for holiday alone with their kids, unless they show copy of spouse’s passport and signed document that the spouse agrees to take a kid plus there is something else to show. I don’t remember. Without those docs, no fly with a kid.
Do you have any link for this ?
Yeah, I agree with Baudrillard; totally triggered.
And yes, why isn’t this hate speech against white people (read; NJ)? Someone want to try legal action?
The saddest thing is not to watch this old dinosaur talking about like that,in fact he says something that many Japanese around his age think but don’t dare to say.
The most preoccupying thing is to see a young female journalist agreeing with that oyaji and even adding some more nasty racist comments.
Japan is going backwars,welcome to 1938…
Actually i think its an “80s inadequacy” throwback, when certain J men of that generation (Ishihara Vs the GIs) had a phobia of interracial relationships (even if they were in one themselves) which is why this old fart focusses on white men even though its a divorce between two Japanese (ooops).
HIs thought process is like this:
J woman: that foreign named convention about divorce
Triggered Takayama: White men like Asian women
J Woman: Actually its 2 Japanese
Takayama: But still, white men made it, yada yada yada
J woman: So desu ne. ( Smiles tolerantly at the elder erai hito as rant continues)
Great TV, Not. Except for us NJ detractors.
Sakura TV us doing pre Olympics Japan a huge PR disservice.
It was a legal decision about two Japanese people getting divorced and seeking custody. Why then does he focus on American white men? Fabulously illogical.
UN is a club, you don’t have to join but if you do want to join and thereby take part of the benefits of being a member then you have to abide by the club rules.
NO ONE IS FORCING YOU TO JOIN THE UN!!
Why then does he focus on American white men? Because his mental issue is related to feeling of inadequacy in this area (interracial relationships).
He has an axe to grind, but it is kind of a blunt one.
Basically the foreign fathers are evil and worthless when compared to Japanese counterparts. How this logic came to being one will never be able to understand knowing full well how little attention Japanese men are giving to family compared to kaisya. And this old fart should be simply sued for hate speech.
Should be put on trial by the Allied Tribunal denazification courts, never mind suing.
He is basically saying whites out of Asia which was the mantra of the Greater East Asia Co Prosperity Sphere.
What about the Ainu? Arent they Caucasian? And I guess he doesnt want the northern islands back then either.
Racist. With a chip on his,errrr, shoulder. ( I wont go into intimate details about where his inadequacy really is, but hey, he keeps fixating on it).
@Baudrillard, TBH, you might be right about this nut job, but it sounds to me like typical Japanese male + age entitlement. The guy is used to being one of the ‘erai hito’ here in Japan, and yet not one of those ‘easy’* American women would give him the time of day, whilst ‘nice’* Japanese women throw themselves at 20 something American eikaiwa teachers. Ooh! His sense of entitlement is just burning him right up!
* I use the term ‘easy’ in the sense that Ian Buruma describes Japanese stereotypes of ‘western women’ as leaping into bed with ‘handsome strangers’ straight away because that’s what the see in Hollywood movies, in his book ‘Through a Japanese Mirror’.
‘for the Japanese, is that he who acts outside society is doomed. Like all culture’s storytelling, Japanese books, films and theater seem to reinforce a comfortable lesson, allowing people to vicariously watch rebels get their just due.”-from review of Buruma’s book.
this echoes what we were saying about Miyakazi’s anime on an earlier thread, its all about doing what the Erai Hito tell you.
How does Takayama know so much about the romantic preferences of American white men, and that they then go back to an ex GF from college? It is anecdotal?
it is so specific it sounds like just one case that he was intimately involved with!
Colin Jones in the Japan Times offers a counterargument regarding my choice of words of the Supreme Court’s “enforcement” of the Hague Convention:
However, he does acknowledge that the Supreme Court is not ignoring the Hague, and in fact is taking it into account in its legal logic:
“To its credit, not only did the Supreme Court find the lower court in error, it even acknowledged the possibility that children unilaterally deprived of contact with one parent might express views unduly influenced by the other, abducting parent. It questioned whether the child was freely expressing his will, and further noted that in international cases such as these, children face the added burdens of dealing with different cultures and languages and, if they are dual nationals, possibly ultimately a choice in nationality. The court also made a clear ruling that absent special circumstances, failure to comply with a return order under the Hague Convention should be considered “conspicuously unlawful” for the purposes of granting habeas corpus relief.”
Another thing I disliked about the presentation on TV was that they stated that Japanese divorce between two Japanese (as this case was) should be handled by Japanese (in a Japanese way).
But this ignorantly or on purpose ignores the fact that the Japanese person in this case voluntarily went to appeal tyhe earlier decision on grounds of the convention. So this is a case of Japanese people simply doing what they want to do. No one told them what to do.
Please stop blaming foreign white men for whatever Japanese people do. Ugh