California Divorce Blog– Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Comments on Parental Child Abduction in Japan

According to multiple sources including the Mainichi Shinbun, a Japanese newspaper, American Diplomat and academic Dr. Kurt Campbell, the current United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, spoke to families of Japanese victims kidnapped by North Korea. During the meeting Assistant Secretary Campbell voiced his support for the Government of Japan to take action on the issue of Parental Child Abduction (presumably urging support for the Hague Convention).  This wrinkled feathers as the Japanese Government views the two issues as separate and distinct. Kidnapping as a state sponsored action as compared with parental child kidnapping.

Certainly the two issues are separate. However, an argument can certainly be made that they are one in the same if the Japanese Government is complicit in allowing parental child kidnappings to occur in Japan. I believe this is the case.

The world has been urging Japan, a first world nation, for years to on to sign on to, and ratify the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.  The Government of Japan, which has again stated that Japan will sign the Hague Convention, has requested amendments to it, prior to signing. The problem with this request is that all parties have signed the Convention in its present form.  If Amendments were made to the convention then this would require ratification and likely dilute enforcement of its provisions.  It is best for all non-party nations to sign on to the Hague Convention as children should not be allowed to be spirited away from one country to the next without permission.

The United States Department of State recently made changes in how it approaches cases involving children in Japan.  An American parent recently received communication from the State Department which provided in part that “the Office of Children’s Issues’ (OCI) procedures have recently changed and we will be unable to request future welfare visits for your children, as we are no longer making these requests for access-only cases.”  This seems to indicate that the Department of State will no longer work on these types of cases which is very unfortunate for American parents with children in Japan who are being denied visitation by their ex-spouses. Recently OCI has been referring parents of children abducted to Japan to the Japanese Court system.  As we are all aware, a referral to the Japanese Court System to obtain custody has been a dead end referral to date. It is certainly the very rare exception when any non-custodial parent prevails in the Japanese Court system.  Everyone is aware of this issue, which makes this a sad day for American parents of children stuck in Japan.

I became an attorney because I believe in the Rule of Law. Without law we would have anarchy. There are places in the world where the Rule of Law is non-existent. We all know what happens when this occurs. The Country of Japan does not have the Rule of Law regarding Parental Child Abductions.   I urge Japan to ratify the Hague Convention as they have indicated they may.  Parents and children demand the certainty of the Rule of Law. Without it we are simply left with chaos, which clearly does not work.

Attorney Keith F. Simpson is a California Lawyer in Manhattan Beach, California and represents clients regarding all types of Family Law matters. Please call Keith Simpson today to discuss your question at 310-297-9090.

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One Response to “California Divorce Blog– Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Comments on Parental Child Abduction in Japan”

  1. Gail Harada Says:

    The best role model in any child’s life is the same-sex parent (except in extreme cases) with the opposite sex parent close behind. Why, then, would any parent want to deny their child this valuable person – which in turn negatively affects the child’s mental stability? A parent who does this is putting their own emotions above those of their child. IMO this is the worse case of selfish parenting. I completely agree with you Mr. Simpson!

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