Sauce for the gander: Czech national abducts his child of J-NJ marriage; MOFA “powerless w/o Hague”


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Hi Blog. Finally we have the turnabout that I bet will precipitate Japan signing the Hague. A Czech father has reportedly abducted his child out of Japan, and the MOFA says it is powerless since Japan is not a party to the Hague Treaty on Child Abductions.  Well, sauce for the gander, isn’t it?

Two things I find interesting about this case is 1) the MOFA is reportedly working to try and get the child back (contrast with the USG, which recently wouldn’t even open the front gates of one of its consulates to three of its citizens), and 2) once again, the same reporting agency (Kyodo) omits data depending on language, see articles below. It claims in Japanese that (as usual) the NJ husband was violent towards the J wife (in other words, it takes the claim of the wife at face value; how unprofessional), and neglects to mention that in English. Heh. Gotta make us Japanese into victims again.

Anyway, if this will get Japan to sign the Hague, great. Problem is, as usual, I see it being enforced at this point to get J kids back but never return them overseas (since the J authorities aren’t going to give more rights to foreigners than they give their own citizens, who lose their kids after divorce due to the koseki system, anyway). But I guess I’m being just a little too cynical. I hope. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

Czech man takes son out of Japan in suspected child abduction
Japan Today/Kyodo Sunday 08th November, 06:05 AM JST, Courtesy of JL


A Czech man has taken his 5-year-old son apparently to a place overseas from his home in Gifu Prefecture, prompting the boy’s Japanese mother to seek help from the Foreign Ministry in searching for the boy’s whereabouts, sources close to the matter said Saturday.

The ministry, however, has few means in dealing with the case as Japan is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention that standardizes laws that prevent international parental child abduction, they said.

Japan remaining a non-signatory has drawn international criticism recently after an American father who tried to take back his two children from his Japanese wife was arrested on suspicion of child abduction in Fukuoka Prefecture in September.

The children might have been handed over to the father’s side if Japan were the member of the convention, which stipulates that children should be returned to the original residing place when they are taken forcibly. The mother was reported by some American media to have unlawfully taken the children first from the United States.

While such cases of Japanese women taking their children to Japan after divorcing or separating from their non-Japanese husbands or partners are often reported and cause problems, cases in which children are taken out of Japan have been relatively rare.

In the latest case, Kayoko Yamada, a 40-year-old resident of the city of Yamagata, Gifu, sought help from the Foreign Ministry after her husband, a 31-year-old Czech Republic national, left home with their son on Aug 23, according to the sources.

Yamada received a phone call the following day from the husband, saying he and the son were in Frankfurt, Germany. She has received no contact since then, and assumes they are probably in the Czech Republic, the sources said.

Yamada and her husband have been living in Japan but recently were talking about divorce.

Experts say Japan could seek help from Czech authorities in search of the whereabouts of Yamada’s son if Japan were a member of the convention.

With the annual number of international marriages rising by almost six times over the last 30 years to some 37,000 in Japan last year as a government report indicates, divorce and such related problems have been on the rise as well.

The number of children taken by Japanese parents from the United States, Britain, France and Canada to Japan totaled over 160 as of this May, and some cases involve those wanted on abduction charges.



チェコ人夫が5歳児海外連れ去り 岐阜の母、返還要求できず

共同通信 2009/11/07, Courtesy of CJ


女性は岐阜県山県市の山田佳代子さん(40)。 山田さんによると留学先のオーストラリアで夫と出会い、日本で結婚したが、夫の暴言や暴力で不仲になり、離婚の話が出ていた。8月23日、長男を連れて家を出た夫はそのまま戻らず、翌日「ドイツのフランクフルトにいる」と国際電話があった。その後はほぼ音信不通状態が続いている。





11 comments on “Sauce for the gander: Czech national abducts his child of J-NJ marriage; MOFA “powerless w/o Hague”

  • It is a really sad but true fact that the Japanese get their kids back from Hague Signatory countries. It amazed me the first time I was in a court room that was pondering whether or not to return the kids, and in the end they were returned even knowing the father would lose all access. Let’s hope that with all of the public outcry currently regarding International Parental Abduction to Japan The Czech Republic will look seriously at all options before blindly returning the child.

  • debito,

    you term this abduction but is this really the case??
    unlike savoies they are still married-surely he hasnt broken any japanese law?
    what legal leg can MOFA stand on

  • Czech mate!

    — Yes, and believe it or not, you are the 10,000th comment to be approved on the Blog since it started way back in June 2006 (no mean feat, since nowadays I delete nearly half of the incoming comments if they’re not constructive or well-thought-out). Congrats!

  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    Adamw, keep in mind that that number reflects how many people claim to have suffered domestic violence at any point over the course of their lifetimes, not necessarily at the current time. (And in this case we have only her word.)

    Even a tiny number of violent men serially fighting with their partners will eventually (not least because their violent tendencies will get then dumped repeatedly) create a number of women who have had bad experiences at least once, despite the vast majority of men, Japanese and otherwise, being loving, caring people.

    Misleading statistics like that one which unfairly malign Japanese men, and one-sided accusations like the bolded part of the Japanese article, are things that responsible journalist should avoid.

  • This kind of abduction may increase when a Japanese national mentions divorce,and it maybe these sad events that force the Japanese government to sign the Hague convention.
    I guess this poor man felt he had no other choice but to leave japan in order to protect his relationship with his child.

    — We shouldn’t speculate on who is the unfortunate party here. However, the J system is designed to encourage abductions, and that is what we should be focussing on.

  • Gavin Peters says:

    I concur with what John said above; I think ultimately, Japan’s lack of participation or respect for prevailing international family law will hurt mixed Japanese/Non-Japanese families. If people in rocky marriages fear for their continued access to their children, they’ll take the “nuclear” option instead of trying to salvage what they can.

    Shame on Japan for such anti-family and pro-confrontation laws.

  • mark in yayoi,

    cannot understand your comment at all.
    are you suggesting 1/4 of the japanese female population had relationships with the same small group of abusive japanese men??
    would be a very incestuous country if that was the case.

  • “The mother was reported by some American media to have unlawfully taken the children first from the United States.”

    This is an interesting sentence. Since it was only “reported” by “some” American media then there is a good chance that it might not be true. Don’t report the fact that she can’t go back to the states because she’d be arrested as soon as her plane touched down.

    I think that Mark In Yayoi was saying something like that. Remember the figure is for being abused some time in their life. Think back to how many relationships you’ve had. If you were an abusing asshole then all those women would say they had been abused on that survey.

  • Can I just be clear, the reason I think Japan should sign the Hague Convention is so that parents abducting children as if they’re mere property will no longer happen, whatever nationality the abductor is. I know it gives a certain vindictive pleasure to see the shoe on the other foot, but let’s not be calling anyone who commits this illegal act a hero.


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