Dec 3 2PM Diet Lower House Symposium on GOJ signing Hague Convention on Child Abductions, do attend


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December 3 2009: Symposium on family law in other countries and amendment to domestic laws relating to the ratification of the Hague Convention

In Japan, abductions of children by parents are a growing problem as the number of failed marriages — domestic and international — is increasing rapidly. Numerous media outlets around the world have been reporting on this growing child abduction problem for Japan. Nearly one-quarter of the U.S. Senate had asked U.S. President Barack Obama to press Japan to ratify the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction during his visit to Japan this early November.

This symposium will focus on the family law of other countries and amendment to domestic laws relating to the ratification of the Hague Convention.

We look forward to your attendance.

Date: December 3, 2009
Time: 2 pm ~ 4 pm
Place: Second Members Office Building of the Lower House
First Meeting Room


  • 1. Treatment of children after divorce – Comparison between German Law and Japanese Law
  • Lecturer: Law Professor Hirohito Suzuki of Chuo University
  • 2. Hague Convention and Domestic Law ( Civil law, Habeas Corpus Act and Domestic Cause Inquiries Act, etc)
  • Lecturer: Professor Masayuki Tanamura of Waseda Law School
  • 3. Speakers: Professor, Diet Members, Embassy officials, Left Behind Parents

Honorary Speaker: Attorney Mamoru Isobe, former Supreme Court Probation Officer, former President of Nagoya District and Family Courts, and former President of Nagano District and Family Courts

Organizers:Rikongono Kodomoo Mamoru Kai (Separated Children’s Support)
Kyodo Shinkenno Kai (Joint Custody Group)
Left Behind Parents Japan

Contact: Hiroaki Morita Tel: 080-3482-7919;
Kentaro Mashito Tel: 090-6139-8609;

From Masako

UPDATE DEC 3:  A synopsis from an attendee is available below as Comment #3.

6 comments on “Dec 3 2PM Diet Lower House Symposium on GOJ signing Hague Convention on Child Abductions, do attend

  • if japan does eventually sign this ,i can only see this helping japanese get people back from overseas.
    every time a foreign gov tries it,domestic abuse allegations will pop up

    I just wanted to send some notes for those of you that could not attend.

    Christopher Savoie letter:
    Letter from Christopher presented by Darshau Nadeau explaining his case and his position on this problem. Emphisizing that a change in Japanese law so that children have a right to both access to both parents.

    Speech by Miyara Franchesca
    tells her story of coming to Japan then having her son abducted by her husband. After divorce she still cannot see her son then was arrested when she went to her ex families home with a large kitchen knife and she said she would kill herself unless she could see her son. She did begin to cut her throat in front of rhe family. Police arrived, she said she was beaten by them and then jailed for 3 months.

    Her closing statement was that she has two choices in moving forward. 1. Take a large kitchen knife and murder her ex husbands entire family. She is sure she will then be executed, but hopes that if she does this that not only japan but the whole world will realize what a huge problem this is and the level of injustice which exists in Japan. She hopes that if she does this, possibly the law in Japan will finally change. She said that option 2. Will be to continue to work with attorney’s and attend these type of symposiums and events to try and change the law.

    Japanese woman presents the story of her 32year old son who committed suicide after divorce and could not see or have access to her son.

    Suzuki-San from chuou university
    Explains and compares Japanese law to German law. Says that the current state of Japanes family closely resembles where German law was in the middle 70’s

    Suzuki-sensei’s opinion is that the law for dual-custody will take at least 10 years. But he emphasized that he thinks there could be “holes in the law” that we can possibly use to change the law. If we focus in these points, he thinks we may be able to obtain something like dual custody.

    I took the mike at the end and asked questions about these possible holes in the law. I asked about working on the angle of protecting the human rights of the child. I asked this because Japan has signed an international treaty saying it will protect the childs rights, but it really is not. The second question was about applying international pressure from the governments of other countries.

    Suzuki-sensei and Tamura-Sensei said that they think these are both good angles, but said the international pressure angle may be the most effective. He said that the Japanese government can be embarrassed about international bad press and that international pressure has been effective in the past and should be in this case as well.

    Japanese woman from the audience talks about how hers sons ex wife took their three kids, claimed DV and he and his family have not been able to able to see his children years.

    Japanese woman, Yamada-San who recently had her son taken taken by her Czech husband. She said the the laws in Japan are terrible because Japanese children are easily stolen and taken overseas.

    Japanese woman Watanabe-San said her daughter was not returned as well and wants japan to change law.

    Jose Maria
    Explains his story of his son being taken from Spain to japan. He came to japan to get his son but was put into jail for 23 days for spray painting “hello son, papa is coming to see you”.

    He explained that while in jail the police tried to force him to sign a document that says he will never return to japan and will not tell the Spanish press or authorities about the details of this case. He refused to sign so they kept in jail for severel more days. He then negotiated the terminology of the agreement and was finally released. Unfortunately none of his story was being properely translated so I took the mike away and translated his story properely to the gov. Officials and participants.

    Japanese gov. Official commented about Jose’s case saying he is extremely embarrassed about how Japan dealt with his case. He said that Japan is very behind the rest of the world and wants to change the law in japan.

    Tanamura-sensei from Waseda university presents process of approving Hague and various aspects of this treaty. Strongly suggests we need to sign this, but there are many complex problems with the Japanese law that make signing at this time very difficult.


  • Interesting the comparison to German law – the government today lost a case at the EU human rights court. Fathers who are not married at time of birth of their children have no rights to joint custody under German law. The court ruled this violated human rights. All over the news in Germany today.,,4964925,00.html?maca=en-tagesschau_englisch-335-rdf-mp

    JUSTICE | 03.12.2009
    European court says Germany discriminates against single fathers

    Single German dads may soon get better custody rights
    The European Court of Human Rights has upheld a German father’s right to joint custody of his daughter. The ruling spells trouble for German law, which denies single fathers joint custody.

    The court in Strasbourg ruled that German courts had discriminated against a single father when they denied him joint custody of his 14-year-old daughter.

    According to German law, single fathers are only entitled to joint custody of their children if they have the mother’s consent.

    The situation is different for married couples. Husbands are automatically entitled to joint custody, and the European court found this violated European conventions against discrimination.

    Ball now in Germany’s court

    The Court of Human Rights only considers individual cases, but its rulings are important for setting precedents. It is usually incumbent upon European Union member-states to prevent a similar case from recurring.

    The German government must now consider revising its custody laws or attempting to appeal the ruling.

    The 45-year-old complainant brought his case before the European court after exhausting all avenues in the German court system.

    Children just as harmed as when married couples divorce

    German courts had argued that a decision against the mother would have harmed the interests of the child. The Strasbourg court conceded that children can be traumatised by custody disputes, but ruled that the situation was no different for married and divorced couples.

    Although the complainant’s plea for damages was rejected, the court ordered the German government to reimburse him for his legal fees.


  • Christopher says:

    Arudou-san, I thought that it might be interesting and appropriate for your readers to see the exact English text of my letter that was presented at the Symposium. It really does seem that we are finally making significant progress in gaining an understanding of the scope and difficulties with this parental abduction situation among people who can make a difference both from within Japan and in the U.S. Congress, which will help our children to eventually gain access to their parents. I am so glad that this is now being seen as a major foreign policy issue both within Japan and within the governments of the countries of left-behind foreign parents. -CJS

    Statement to Symposium for December 3, 2009

    Dear Attendees,

    Thank you very much for the opportunity to offer my support for the
    goals of this very important meeting. I am sorry I am not there in

    While Japan was sleeping last night, two of my friends who are left
    behind parents in the United States, Paul Toland and Patrick Braden,
    testified in front of the US Congress about this shameful issue of
    Japanese parental child abduction and the lack of a proper and modern
    family law system in Japan that recognizes joint custody, which is in
    the best interests of all Japanese children, regardless of whether
    they have a foreign citizen parent or not. Other modern and civilized
    countries that have enacted joint custody arrangements continue to be
    aghast at Japan’s irrational assertion that it is better for the child
    for one parent to be, for all practical purposes, *dead* following a

    We can be proud of the fact that Japan has been an important nation in
    creating a peaceful and global society in the world. As a result of
    this globalization, Japanese citizens can now fly to many foreign
    countries for sightseeing and business, sell Japanese products freely
    in other countries, play baseball and soccer professionally in other
    countries, and even live in other countries for a significant length
    of time. We benefit greatly from this globalism. Japanese people get
    married in foreign countries and have children with foreign people,
    and this reflects on Japan’s willingness to embrace this
    globalization–but Japan’s respect of other countries and their laws
    falls drastically short when it comes to our children.

    We have tax treaties, trade treaties, and judicial treaties between
    countries, but Japan has continuously refused to participate in any
    family treaties to protect the children of this new global world.
    Japan is widely-known as one of the worst offenders of parental
    abduction, just behind Islamic countries.

    I love Japan and I am proud of this country’s many talents and
    innovations, but as a Japanese citizen and a voter I am extremely
    ashamed of the hypocrisy of the Japanese government’s actions in
    supporting criminal abductions of children to Japan, while at the same
    time criminalizing parents who wish to take their children outside of
    Japan. Everyone now knows that it is possible to arrest child
    abductors to Japan under Article 3 of the Japanese penal code and
    return the children to the other parent and their country of
    residence, and that the Japanese police and the Japanese government
    have refused to do so.

    Fortunately due to the publicity of the injustice done in my case by
    the Japanese police and prosecutors, it is now clear to the mass media
    in all of the world that when it comes to family law and parental
    child abduction, that Japan is a rogue state, not so different from
    North Korea in its conduct. If we Japanese are to expect countries
    like North Korea to return our abducted citizens, then we have a
    responsibility to global society to return children who have been
    criminally abducted to Japan, even if they are 50% or 100% Japanese in
    their parentage. We cannot expect other countries to respect Japanese
    people and Japanese laws and Japanese culture if we act in such a
    hypocritical manner and do not respect the basic rights of their

    It is quite clear now that Japan’s strange culture of having only one
    parent allowed to raise children after a divorce is shameful and is
    not acceptable in a modern civilized society. It is further shameful
    and racist to assume that all children with dual nationality must
    reside in Japan and forever be denied their family and culture that
    represents 50% of their DNA. If we are to become a society that is
    more comfortable for immigration and if we are to seek a permanent
    position in the United Nations Security Council, then we need first to
    make sure that we provide security for the most vulnerable citizens of
    our global world — the children.

    We hope that Japan decides to support children’s basic rights to know
    both parents. We would appreciate your support for our children and I
    hope that Japan will someday be known for its excellent system of
    child welfare in international custody situations such as mine. I
    hope that my Japanese government will someday fight to keep me
    involved in my children’s lives so they can spend time with their papa
    who loves them, rather than actively and forcefully keep children away
    from a loving parent. Then and only then will I be able to be truly
    proud to be Japanese.

    Thank you for taking the time to hear my statement.

    With warmest regards,
    佐保井 久理須


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