Japan and the Results of the Hague Convention, 2014: A second child returned to Japan without protection.

<Below these notes of mine is a story from today’s Yomiuri Shimbun. In it, the Japanese newspaper reports that an American father has been ordered by Japan’s new Hague court to return his child to Japan where the mother resides. >

The Hague Convention does exactly for Japan what it says it should; but does nothing but damage to everyone else; especially to children.
Because Japan provides ZERO protection for children by “family court” and “family law.” In this instance, the second case of a child returned to Japan under the Hague Convention since Japan ratified it in April, the child once returned to Japan will inevitably *NEVER* see his/ her father ever again.
Because that is what is dictated by Japanese family law. Children of divorced parents are given to one Japanese, Japan-registered parent. The other parent has ZERO rights to access and visit and raise and participate in his/ her child’s life. The law requires it: complete elimination of children’s and parents’ rights. No alternative is possible because no alternative exists. Not in Japan.

So a return to Japan under the auspices of the Hague Convention is a sentence of ELIMINATION of the parent from the child’s life (which explains why children may now have been abducted in the first place; as there is NO means to both parents’ obtaining the right to raise the child where the alternatives include Japanese residence.)

Judges from Switzerland to the United States now make it clear that they give the children back to Japan because they believe – wrongly – that Japan is a “normal” part of a semi-regularized reciprocal system of 20th & 21st century family law where the *possibility exists* of obtaining basic protection of rights and protection of vulnerable citizens (aka children). They are wrong.

Japan is not a component of any such system, regardless of the international treaty it has signed. Such treaties, which have no superordinate authority to enact or enforce principles or law over that of the state in which the treaty has been ratified or adopted, are symbolic affairs serving the political purpose of providing a form of external coverage. In this case, the end is to disavow that abductions are now enabled with less difficulty for the Japanese parent, for whom, no legal limitation exists on the privileges of “custody determination” achieved by abduction. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of the International Abduction of Children contains no enforcement clauses; no requirements that joint custody or other conditions conducive to equal parental rights or protection of children’s rights exist in the country. One can waste months, even years, and attend joint “conciliation” and “mediation” sessions under the falsely encouraging auspices of this treaty. But the decisions made under these arduously drawn-out conditions are  meaningless and have no binding provisions or characteristics. They are as disposable and as likely to go missing as a promise written on a paper napkin. Why would anyone with a modicum of sense engage in them?
Anyone who tells you otherwise, or makes the excusing remarks that not all Japanese are bad people, is wrong. Of course this is NOT because Japanese are all bad people. But Japanese subjects MUST abduct their children in order to obtain a legally recognized custodial right/ aka/ the only existing form of which is total control of their children. Otherwise, if they do not abduct, if they allow the child to maintain relations with both parents, the RISK of losing all contact with the child via court-sponsored abduction is extremely high. 65 to 70% of all children of divorced parents in Japan have NO ongoing relationship with their parent. The explanation – or rather, the description of this state of affairs is multifaceted, involving everything from the structures of work/ family division in Japanese society to ideology, such as the cultural ramifications of Japan’s family registration system, and a set of state-education and market-inflected, culturally-induced, dreary sex-role expectations; but the fundamental characteristic, universal throughout the Japanese state and its territory of jurisdiction is state sponsored child abduction; the alternative of NO ALTERNATIVES. And let it not be missed that territorial jurisdiction in Japanese family matters does not end at the geographic border of Japan, particularly as long as Japan has the full cooperation of superpower sponsor, the United States. Anywhere and everywhere on Earth a child is born to a Japanese parent is a place from which a child can be abducted; the Hague Convention and the protective umbrella of US military power provide elements of a multitude of constitutive guarantees.

Try convincing a mediator / defender of Japanese systemic child abduction otherwise; and you are likely to hear rising emotional or psychological defenses and moralistic claims about parental trust and warm, familial good intentions. You will not however receive a means by which to recover or protect your children; because none exist.

Until one is acclimated to this remarkably brutal counter-intuitive system of the dominance and decisionism of the state , one cannot judge or make a “right decision” about what to do as a marriage unravels or a family is dissolving. Hence, even those of us who have long been quite skeptical of the system of “liberal” state neutrality and responsiveness, ambivalent at best about the interest and reliability of the liberal-democratic form of guarantee of law and the (false, feeble, generally weak, economic and social class-privileged) assumptions of impartiality that it promises, are all nonetheless vulnerable and likely to be unable to act with sufficiently vigorous resistance to the state’s inducement to Japanese child abduction.
Even, it should be noted, in the several most extreme cases I know of in which non-Japanese parents knew in advance of the extent of Japanese parental abduction-as-state-practice, in such cases in which parents eager to defend their children took the spouses and children to a non-Japanese court, convinced a judge of the risk posed by Japanese state policy, had the children’s passports removed and right to travel abroad subject to the non-Japanese parent’s decision  by court order -[a draconian measure for anyone who is hopeful that there is a potential for some form of decent home-life and a peaceful parental upbringing for one's loved children - a harsh and costly requirement that one use the power of the state to impose one's will on one's own spouse and child - a horrid and inhumane requirement] – even in such cases, the reluctant but successful imposition of court orders to protect the children from being abducted has resulted in the children being abducted anyway. See the cases of my friends Christopher Savoie, Jeffrey Moorehouse and Randy Collins. Each of them had the law on their side in the United States where they and their children and spouses resided. Each of them lost their children to Japanese state-supported child abduction anyway, through ruses and defiance and law-breaking with the help of Japanese consulates and official “procedures” while US officials looked the other way.  Each of them lives lives of grief, sorrow and loss no conscientious parent should be subjected to.

I had no such prior court order, although I was warned by a lawyer with expertise in this area prior to the abduction. I could see signs of the impending tragedy; but I wanted to keep a roof over Rui’s head with the love of both his Momma and Daddy readily available to him. I wanted him not to suffer from having his identity, his security, his self-structuring and process of identity formation ruptured. I wanted him to remain close, where he could enjoy his mother’s love, and mine, and where I could balance his mothers’ obsessions and control with the acceptance and loving presence I could offer. I wanted to model a spirit of  curiosity, inquiry, creativity and freedom of choice for him, such as it might be.  I see now that indirectly, without my being able to absorb its impact in advance, this was a gamble in which I could not accept the gravity of the stakes; and thus I lost. I will take this enormous life-engulfing weight to my grave with me.
In 1939, Sigmund Freud made a last-chance exit from Austria, just months before the German,  Nazi dominated government set out to invade Poland and militarily occupy nearly all of Europe. Freud believed to the end in the liberal democratic state to which he was devoted, the state which as the harbinger and guarantor of the Enlightenment and Emancipation had ensured that the legal status of citizenship in the state was sufficient and rigorous enough protection. He was forced to flee when the Nazis invaded, and invade they did. He lost his sisters to the Nazis, who murdered them. Had he known, or been able to acknowledge in advance, to what extent the human drive to destruction was as real in the action of massed people as he had theorized it be in the individual, perhaps he could have saved the rest of his family. Who will be the judge and point the finger of blame at Freud for his naivete? Now we know, but could we all have known it then? Perhaps, the Nazis always do march in.

Rui & Daddy DC 11-11 3

Rui & Daddy DC 11-11 3

Below is the story from Yomiuri Shimbun:

Swiss court returns boy under Hague pact

Shimbun chart

The Yomiuri Shimbun 

October 02, 2014

An American father living in Switzerland was ordered by a Swiss court in late September to return his child to the Japanese mother residing in Japan under the Hague Convention, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The 8-year-old boy has already returned to Japan.

The Japanese mother asked the Swiss government for the return of her child via the Japanese Foreign Ministry, claiming that her American husband took the boy to Switzerland without her consent.

There have so far been 17 cases in which parents have applied to the ministry for assistance regarding the return of their children based on the convention, which took effect in Japan in April. The Swiss case is the first in which a return order was issued by a foreign court with the ministry’s assistance.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction aims to settle disputes over the parental custody of children in such cases as failed international marriages. It stipulates that a parent who takes a child aged under 16 overseas without the other parent’s consent must, in principle, return the child to the country where he or she was living. As of May, 92 countries were parties to the convention.

In the Swiss case, the couple and their child had been living in Japan. After the convention took effect in Japan in April, the American father took the boy to Switzerland. The Japanese mother applied for ministry assistance in August to recover her child.

The ministry then asked the Swiss central authorities for their cooperation on the matter. The Swiss side identified where the boy lives and aided the mother in judiciary proceedings. Ultimately, a Swiss court ordered the American father to send the boy back to Japan.

In July, a Japanese woman living in Britain was ordered by a British court to return her child to the father residing in Japan under the Hague Convention. In this case, the Japanese father directly asked Britain to make judicial arrangements for the return of the child and did not request assistance from the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Even before the convention took effect in Japan, it was possible to directly ask a foreign country to help make judicial arrangements for the return of a child. In the latest case, Japan’s accession to the convention made it possible for the Japanese Foreign Ministry to provide assistance, which helped realize the boy’s return to Japan from Switzerland.

According to the ministry, of the 17 applications seeking assistance for the return of children that were filed in the six-month period from April 1 to Oct. 1, nine cases involve parents who asked for help with the return of children who were taken away from foreign countries to Japan.

The aforementioned case involving the Japanese couple is not included among those 17 cases. There have also been 56 cases in which parents applied for ministry assistance to see their children.

Posted in BACHome, Brian Prager, Hague Convention, Japan Child Abduction, Japanese Child Abduction, Jeffery Morehouse, Machiko Terauchi, Ohnuki Kensuke Child Abductor, Parental abduction, Parental Alienation, Randy Collins, Rui Prager, Rui Terauchi, 寺内るい, 寺内真智子 | 5 Comments

The Dilatory State: Stand Back and Watch From the Shadows

*You* can now buy the DVD of From The Shadows: A documentary about Japanese international child abducton.
Awarded an honorable mention at the 2012 Philadelphia Film Festival.

All persons, advocates and otherwise, concerned with globalization and international law, with family law, with respect for children’s human rights – including the right to their parents, with respect for parents’ rights to raise and protect their children;
with the obligation of the State, not only to assert the principles of children’s protection and preservation of family unity, but to act on those assertions  in a speedy and judicious way:
All of these, all of us, can learn more about this:
State Supported Child Abuse;
State Sanctioned and Supported Child Abduction.
The withdrawal of the state from concern for the welfare of people.

University libraries, public libraries, personal copies, educators. All can obtain this DVD now, while its availability lasts.

Like the children massed at the US border, suffering the abuse they suffer at the hands of the National Guard, Rick Perry and the vigilantes, victims of drug cartels, the US War on Drugs, and the cruel indifference of State institutions, equally deserving are children who are slipped out of a country and hidden from view by so-called “friendly” (national) states, whose violations are hushed from the top down by means of (and served by) their close relations with Washington.
Obama, Kerry, Clinton, Roos, the Bushes before them, Clinton and Reagan before them… all of them, and their administrations they headed, have known the full story more or less, and have failed to act. They dissimulate and wring their hands while responsible agents and agencies of the state under their command remain silent, manage and suppress dissent,  and while another several hundred children have been slipped away from their families with the blessing of the Japanese state.
A few hundred more; cumulatively, a few thousands.
Every major news outlet that looked in this direction blinked, and provided comfort to abductors by soft-pedaling the roles played by the US and Japanese States in condoning and deferring resistance to this crime for as long as they could hold out. Today, 3 million children in Japan alone do not have ongoing relationships with their parent.

Grave violations of human dignity are not only committed with a gun, a drone, a tear gas cannister, and an Airforce bomber.
Excruciating damage is also done to lives every day by the dilatory state which terminates the right of citizens to be citizens, the right to have rights, and diminishes the meaning and application of citizenship every day.
When States act *in concert* to fail to deliver on the promise of due process, it is very difficult to find the right noises to make to draw attention to what is happening.

Please help. Learn about our plight. Inform others.
Build connections between us for our mutual needs.
This is one set of stories. There are thousands more:

From The Shadows Movie | From The Shadows

“Japan is a safe haven for parental child abduction.”

Colin Jones, Professor Doshisa University Kyoto, Japan

“In Japan, the parent that has physical possession of the children is guaranteed legal custody. It is ‘finders keepers, losers weepers’ in its rawest and most cruel form.”

Jeremy Morley, International Family Attorney

“Japan needs international child support law.”

Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services

“I just want my children to know that their family in Canada will always love them. The Japanese courts have refused to acknowledge the damage that has been done to us and, more importantly, to Takara and Manami.”

Murray Wood, Left behind father

“When my son finally came out of the house, I yelled, ‘Kento, are you OK? ” then the gangster pushed me away and eventually jumped on my back. The whole time he was repeating in English ‘This is Japan!'”

Steve Christie, Left behind father.

It is not in any way hard for some of us, parents of kidnapped children, to understand why the protester who set himself on fire in Tokyo this summer did what he did. He couldn’t tolerate the indifference, and wanted to be heard.
How can one live among the dead?

I did not know that this DVD release of the film, From The Shadows, is a new edit since the Washington DC screening of the film I attended in 2011. It is markedly different in some of the details and focus. It is notable that the entire story of one parents’ beating (with bricks) by gangsters after waiting outside of buildings trying to see his children was cut. On the other hand, there was a clearer explication, from my p.o.v. of the ways in which families, more than one, but several generations, drive the process in complete and utter ignorance of the children’s interests, inner lives, and existence as persons. The portrayals of Paul Toland and Paul Wong’s ex-wive’s families, and the obvious energy and decency of the two father/ survivors of their wives’ deaths, could hardly be more eloquent. The earnestness of Murray Wood in trying to see his children, despite the absurdly petty, self-embarassing behavior of his ex’s family, is apparent. (Can any scene in the film be more eloquent than the ex-Mrs Wood climbing out an upper floor window to shoot a photo of the father of her children pleading at the door for his last chance, rather than speaking to him like an adult?)

The Terauchis really must see this film, and recognize themselves in each of them.

I also know more now than I did then; and it’s clear to me now that what the law says has little impact on what police (who don’t give a shit) and courts (which operate on such an arbitrary basis that it is hard to call them a judiciary) and **utterly** sham institutions of child welfare working for pay for the previous two, all do. I could not help but be moved by Paul Wong’s story, as his ex-wife’s parents fabricated horrid lies – no doubt with the help of lawyers similar to those Machiko hired to help her abduct Rui-  about his relationship with his daughter, making totally unsubstantiated claims that the courts, the mediators, the judges and the child welfare agencies could not be bothered to investigate, despite their transparent falsehoods and destructive impact on the children and father. It is more than scandalous;  it is unbearable for the skimpy, thoughtless, mindlessly vacuous basis on which the structure operates, with no discernable prinicples other than that the children and parents should just shut up and go away while lawyers earn, bureaucrats grow deaf and old, and families turn into multi-generational abusers of their own children’s minds, memories and perceptions in the interest of preserving their false self-deceiving sense of dignity, all the while believing that somehow, their shabby reputations have better survived intact by lying and by scheming and gaming the lousy system, rather than by seeking the real dignity that could only come from truth-telling, earning respect for themeslves and their children.

Thank you, a Big Thank You, to Matt and David, the filmmakers, for making the film, and (not inconsequentially for me) for including my name in the thanks & acknowledgment credits at the end of the film. I came to one of the world’s saddest parties long after all of this was already shot, and in process of production. But I believed we might yet prevail, and I also fought, and in the end, overmatched, I lost.
But perhaps the last bell hasn’t tolled quite yet.

Posted in Brian Prager, 誘拐犯, Japan Child Abduction, Machiko Terauchi, Ohnuki Kensuke Child Abductor, Parental abduction, Rui Prager, Rui Terauchi, 寺内るい, 寺内真智子 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fatherless Day 2014

Walking the Dog in Austin 2009B
“… and with the melancholy awareness of someone whose most poignant moment of existence has been turned into an infinitely reproducible object, he remarked that the boy “will never be able to get over it. He’ll spend the rest of his life staring into the distance, wondering what they’ve done to him.” ¹
Rui's daddy blur 3C2

Rui, today is a sort of holiday for fathers to spend with their children. But this isn’t a day that is any different from any other.
Rui you have a Daddy here who is bereft because of what your mother, Japan, Ohnuki, and others have done to us. I am engaged in this struggle to remain your Daddy, every single day.
I am lo0king for some ways to restore a loss whose depth we can’t even understand, and as strange as it sounds to you and to me, it’s a loss that can’t be restored.
Rui I walk by our park every day; the one we played in most.
Rui, I have your pictures here. I still have your old clothes, your books, a lot of your toys.
Rui, I have never had a day of peace since your mother abducted you.

Rui, my whole spirit, my whole being, is dedicated now, as it always was even though you might not remember, to finding and bringing you back to the life that should have been yours and mine to share.
Rui, words aren’t good enough to repair time, soulful experiences, and real, deep, honesty and care.

Rui boy. I won’t, can’t, haven’t, could never have forgotten.

1. The quote is from a book review, written by British journalist Michael Ignatieff, about a book of war photographs  The Temptation of Despair: Tales of Life in the 1940s by Werner Sollors (Belknap), and a well-known photograph of Holocaust survivor, Sieg Mandaag.

Posted in Brian Prager, 誘拐犯, Hague Convention, Japan Child Abduction, Japanese Child Abduction, Machiko Terauchi, Ohnuki Kensuke Child Abductor, Parental abduction, Parental Alienation, Rui Prager, Rui Terauchi, Uncategorized, 寺内るい, 寺内真智子 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

June 10th (Part B)

Fukushima water leak spring 2C

Fukushima Water Leak Spring

Japanese people have no protection from the self-seeking  (malevolence, greed, self-absolution) of their ruling elites. In this most serious of all instances, the institutions of government,  the energy industry, and many in Japanese universities and institutions of science are pulled in as agents of the on-going cover up of the magnitude of the Fukushima Daichi nuclear disaster. Victims of the tsunami and plant meltdown are still living in irradiated areas, eating irradiated food, tens of thousands of them in tent cities and “temporary” housing, while the government of Japan is busy with Olympics construction development in Tokyo, preparations to build massive new US military facilities and reinvigorate Japan’s military industries, while gradually revving up enough of the population for war-like hatreds or fearful “threatenedness” directed towards Koreans and Chinese. That is the long-term vision on which the future is being constituted.

Japan's gift to children

Japan’s gift to children

Posted in Brian Prager, 誘拐犯, Japan Child Abduction, Japan Nuclear Radiation Crisis, Japanese Child Abduction, Machiko Terauchi, Ohnuki Kensuke Child Abductor, Parental abduction, Rui Prager, Rui Terauchi, 寺内るい | 2 Comments