Letter from US Senators Boxer and Corker to Obama re Child Abductions, for his Nov 12 visit to Japan


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Hi Blog. Was just forwarded this from Steve Christie, from the offices of US Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who will be sending a letter dated November 5 with Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) to President Obama regarding Japan’s record of international child abductions, in time for Obama’s visit to Japan Nov 12-13.  Letter from Boxer’s office, then the letter addressed to Obama follows.  It could very well be one of the issues brought up during the visit. It will be if these senators’ efforts are any guide. Well done. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

From: “Reks, Ariana (Boxer)”
Date: 2009年10月30日 03:03:54JST
To: Steve Christie
Subject: Senator Boxer sending letter to Obama on Japanese abductions

Dear Mr. Christie,

Thank you for your voicemail and I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. Senator Boxer is very engaged on this issue and I wanted to email you to update you on her efforts on behalf of left-behind parents.

Senator Boxer, along with Senator Corker, will be sending a letter to President Obama next week, before his visit to Japan on November 12-13, asking him to bring up the issue of child abductions to Japan in his conversations with the new Japanese Prime Minister. The letter is currently circulating in the Senate for signatures and we hope that a large number of Senators will sign on. I have pasted a draft of the letter below. Please feel free to send the letter to any other left-behind parents and urge them to ask their Senators to sign on.

Thank you for contacting me and please stay in touch. I look forward to working with you on this very important issue.

Ariana Reks
Legislative Aide
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-3553


November 5, 2009
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As you prepare to visit Japan on November 12, we write to respectfully request that you address the issue of international parental child abduction in your discussions with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. This is a deeply important issue, as Japan currently does not recognize international parental child abduction as a crime.

There are currently 79 known cases involving over 100 American children who have been abducted by a parent to Japan. This is a heartbreaking loss for the left-behind parent and deprives the child of a relationship with two loving parents. Equally concerning is that left-behind parents typically have little recourse once their child arrives in Japan. According to the U.S. Department of State, no cases have been successfully resolved with Japan over the last few decades through the Japanese judicial system or through diplomatic or political efforts.

It is particularly troubling that Japan remains the only G-7 industrialized nation that has yet to accede to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Hague Convention has been adopted by more than 70 countries and is an important tool for those seeking access to and/or the return of a child abducted across international borders. We agree that Japan’s accession to the Hague Convention would result in important reforms to Japanese family law and we are grateful that the United States continues to prioritize this issue.

But while we acknowledge that Japan’s accession to the Hague Convention is an important goal, the United States must also work with Japan to establish a bilateral mechanism to assist with the resolution of current cases. This is critical because the Hague Convention does not pertain to already completed abductions, and therefore cannot be used as a tool to resolve existing cases. We urge your Administration to seriously consider initiatives, including mediation, to foster cooperative and coordinated engagement with the Japanese government on cases of international parental child abduction. Many parents have not seen or heard from their children in years. We cannot sit back and wait while these children grow up without one parent.

We feel strongly that the recent election of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), under the leadership of Prime Minister Hatoyama, is a unique opportunity for the United States to reinvigorate its dialogue with Japan on the issue of international parental child abduction. As such, we urge you to ensure that the United States continues to raise this issue at the highest possible levels in the context of our nations’ close bilateral relationship.

Thank you for your consideration of this important request. We stand ready to assist you in your efforts to reunite American children with their left-behind parents.


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