Friday, July 24, 2009

Child abductions to Japan needed to escape spouse abusing gaijin.

Japan continues to be under pressure from unsympathetic foreign countries about its policy of allowing a parent to abduct his/her child from a custodial parent overseas then flee to Japan with zero risk of extradition or any effective legal recourse from the custodial parent. There are estimated to be at least 175 such cases involving children from the US, Canada, Britain, and France. One might reasonably guess that there are many more from smaller, less powerful countries.

The Asahi published an article (English) about this problem about a week ago, although curiously attempting to show how Japan's refusal to sign the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction may have prevented a Japanese mother whose children was abducted to Britain by the British father from getting custody of her children back until after divorce mediation.

Oookkkkk. Since I assume the article was originally in Japanese (why bother to check since it'll disappear in a day or two at Asahi) they gotta write it to relate to folks here. Glad that she at least got the children back.

But then, to show that the "liberal" newspaper has balance, it reported the other side of the story---that signing this treaty could have very negative effects on kidnapped children and their international fugitive parent:

Another self-employed woman, 51, was cautious, however. She had long been a victim of domestic violence by her American husband.

The family moved from the United States to Chiba Prefecture in 1992, and she fled with two children to Tokyo in 1995.

She is now on an international wanted list on suspicion of abduction because the husband, saying the mother and children's legal abode is in the United States,* brought the matter before U.S. authorities.

The woman, who says "all I could do was flee," thinks the treaty would make such escape difficult. Asahi Shimbun

Yes, of course. There is nothing she could have done about (alleged) domestic abuse in the US. Or maybe as an immigrant she didn't know what could have been done.

Lawyer Kensuke Ohnuki, who handles about 200 divorces among international matches a year, says most child "abductions" by Japanese women are a result of spousal violence. (Same article)

Excellent reporting here. Just take the lawyer's word for it. I think we can understand who the real victims are---the Japanese spouses.

I wonder, had the man who kidnapped the children to Britain been abused by his Japanese wife?

*What an unreasonable move to claim that his children, who if born in the US were citizens, had a legal abode there! (Corrected 1026 am: This is confusing: Did the abuse occur in the US, Japan, or both? It is surprising to me that the US got involved since the abduction occurred while all were living in Japan.)