12 o’clock

Rui Boy 2B

12:00 – Christmas Eve, and I’m moving boxes around in the night here in my apartment, trying to get myself ready for the arrival of the last of the holidays without making too much noise and disturbing my neighbors. I thought of people sleeping and anticipating what they might be doing tomorrow. I always imagine – it’s a night when many sleep poorly, anticipation agitating their thoughts, listening through the night for someone rustling the sheets as they turn over, or low creaking from bedsprings down the hall, or next door  – wondering who else is awake, and who is dreaming, what will the morning bring?

I looked up at the clock just now and saw it was midnight. I thought of my childhood, as everyone around me in the surrounding buildings and lamplit rooms above me are probably doing now.  And a window opened… now Santa comes. Is the chimney flue open?  He has to come down, unobstructed. Where do I have a chimney in my cramped one bedroom place on the ground floor?

Who do I tell this to…  moving the boxes around. I’m not wrapping new gifts for Rui, the old ones are still here. The big firetruck is on the dresser in front of the never-used television. It fell off and clattered to the floor two days ago when I walked past. I examined it a moment longer. Would it still be ok to play? Nothing broken; reinsert the little gray plastic motor. It fell out.

His joy, his smile in the morning. His curious method of looking through and considering each car in the box before deciding which one. Holding, replacing. Weighing with his hand. It’s blue. This one’s greenish. The paint scraped off the side of the bumper. Is the loose wheel still on?  Slap it – it spins.

Lauren Berlant wrote, in Cruel Optimism, “it matters how much an instance of sentimental abstraction or emotional saturation costs, what labor fuels the shift from the contrete real to the soundtrack reel, and who’s in control of the meaning of the shift, the pacing of the shift, and the consequences of detaching, even for a moment, from the consensual mirage.” ¹

Outside of consensus here.

Merry Christmas Rui, Daddy’s lost heart.

black cloud 1

1. Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism. Duke U.P., 2011. p. 35

Posted in Brian Prager, 誘拐犯, George Washington University Professor Joan S. Meier, George Washington University Professor of Clinical Law, Hague Convention, Japan Child Abduction, Japanese Child Abduction, Machiko Terauchi, Ohnuki Kensuke Child Abductor, Parental abduction, Parental Alienation, Rui Prager, Rui Terauchi, 寺内るい, 寺内真智子 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Child Abduction Enforcment Law Passed by the U.S. House

“Even in the darkest times, we have a right to  expect some illumination.”   –  Hannah Arendt

The story below (in Japanese) quotes U.S. parent and chldren’s rights activist, Paul Toland (co-founding member of U.S.-based Bring Abducted Children Home) saying, “I am only one of 400 people whose kids have been stolen to Japan and not one child has been returned due to the efforts of the Japanese government.” With these words, Paul welcomed the passage of  the Sean and David Goldman Act, giving the President and State Department of the United States one less justification for continued complicity with the government of Japan, and continuedl refusal to pursue the return of our abdcuted kids.
Here is Congressman Chris Smith arguing in support of the Act on the floor of the House of Represetatives.
The bill creates new options for the government to press for the resolution of the numerous child abduction cases like Rui’s.

The legislation passed on Wednesday by a vote 398 yays, and 0 nays.

子の連れ去り制裁法案を可決=米下院、日本に対応促す

 【ワシントン時事】米下院は11日、米国人と国際結婚した日本人などが、結婚生活の破綻に伴って子どもを母国に連れ去るケースが相次いでいることを受け、連れ去られた子どもの返還に応じない国に軍事支援停止などの制裁を科す法案を全会一致で可決した。
日本は米国などの要求に応じ、国が連れ去り問題の解決に積極的にかかわることを定めたハーグ条約への加盟を決めている。ただ、加盟前に発生した事案には同条約が適用されないため、法案には日本にさらなる対応を促す狙いもありそうだ。
今後は上院の対応が焦点となるが、下院外交委員会人権小委員会のスミス委員長(共和党)は記者会見で「成立には自信を持っている」と強調。約10年前に日 本人に娘を連れ去られたという米海軍大佐も会見に同席し、「私は日本人に子どもを連れ去られた400人以上の親の一人だ。400人の中に日本政府の努力を 通じて子どもを返してもらった親は一人もいない」と日本政府の対応を批判した。(2013/12/12-09:37)

US House pressures countries on child abductions

By Shaun TANDON (AFP) –

Washington — The US House of Representatives voted Wednesday to punish countries that do not promptly return abducted children, upping pressure in an issue that has soured relations with Japan and other allies.

With no dissenting votes, the House voted to create an annual report to assess every country’s history of child abductions and to require President Barack Obama to take action against nations with poor records.

Potential US measures include refusing export licenses for American technology, cutting development assistance and putting off scientific or cultural exchanges. The president would have the right to waive the punishment.

Representative Chris Smith, the author of the legislation, said it would put the force of the US government behind solving the more than 1,000 cases each year in which US children are taken overseas, generally by a foreign parent after separation from an American partner.

“It is a full-court press to finally elevate this issue, where American children’s human rights are being violated with impunity,” Smith told reporters.

“Right now, it’s like other human rights abuses, maybe on page five as an asterisk” in talks between the United States and other countries, he said.

Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, previously led legislation that set up annual reports on human trafficking and religious freedom, which have often caused discomfort for countries deemed to be lagging behind.

The child abduction legislation still needs approval in the Democratic-led Senate, but Smith voiced confidence at passage as the bill has been revised over several years to ensure support of both parties. The State Department had initially voiced concern at proposals to impose outright economic sanctions over child abductions.

By far, the greatest number of abduction cases takes place in Japan, the only major industrialized nation that has not ratified the 1980 Hague convention that requires countries to send abducted children back to the countries where they used to  live.

Japanese courts virtually never grant custody to foreign parents or fathers.

Paul Toland, who served in the US Navy in Japan, said that his daughter Erika was put in the care of her maternal grandmother and that he has no visitation rights after the girl’s mother committed suicide.

“For me, this will be my 11th consecutive Christmas without my daughter,” he told reporters.

In the wake of persistent US and European criticism, Japan’s parliament took key steps this year to join the Hague treaty. But critics say that the decision will not address past cases.

The House legislation calls on the United States to seek legal agreements with all nations not party to the Hague convention to lay out ways to return children within six weeks after abduction cases are reported to authorities.

Smith named the bill after David Goldman, who succeeded in bringing his son Sean back to the United States after a five-year fight with Brazilian courts.

“We won’t stop until we get the children home, one by one, child by child,” Goldman said.

Parents of children in countries including Brazil and Argentina said that they often had no recourse, even if individual officials in foreign countries are sympathetic to their cases.

Arvind Chawdra, whose two children were abducted to India, said he had no other option but to take out a newspaper advertisement because he does not know where they are.

Posted in BACHome, Brian Prager, 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 , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New U.S. Ambassador Kennedy? Same Old International Child Abductions in the Framework of U.S. – Japan Relationship

“No one can say without being comical that he is getting ready to overturn things. He must overturn, and that is all.”
– Georges Bataille, The Accursed Share, p.10

Kennedy in Japan

Ambassador Kennedy talks about Hague Convention with Minister of Justice Tanigaki just prior to the visit by Vice President Biden.

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The terms of the Hague Convention’s adoption in Japan are set. The U.S. Ambassador and Department of State and the Japanese Ministers of Justice and Foreign Affairs are all in agreement. They each got what they wanted.
You and I, non-Japanese, will never have parental rights under this convention. No children will be returned to their families. You will have the privilege of applying to a Japanese court – with Japanese judges,  educated in Japan, directed to uphold Japanese laws – created for the purpose of serving the treaty cases, which will decide whether or not you will be able to look at your child without breaking the law. For parents of internationally abducted children, there will be no change in the status of state-condoned child abduction, and our children will remain imprisoned where they are now. The implementing law transfers the courts’ right to abuse children, parents, and extended families to the new Hague courts which they’re supposedly going to create. Rules of evidence, fake charges, nationalist, gendered justice… impunity and immunity from criminal charges for the abduction … All this is in the works for the new, Liberal Democratic Party/ United States-sponsored accession by the Japanese state to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of the International Abduction of Children, set for a ceremonial signature in January 2014 and to go into effect as law in April.

One really must not expect Caroline Kennedy and the U.S. Embassy and Department of State to become different institutions from what they have been to now. They represent the positions decided in Washington, D.C. and send people like Kennedy and Roos to play golf, attend parties and enjoy life in Japan while giving photo-ops and showing everyone that irradiated food is good for you, more or less. She shakes hands and smiles with whichever government official the GOJ sends her way, just as Obama, Biden and all previous Republican and Democrat U.S. administrations have done:
Put people in jail and deny them rights or access to a lawyer? Shake hands. Torture confessions out of everyone the police arrest? Shake hands. Enact new secrecy laws that fly in the face of any concept of right? Shake hands. The policies of the two governments converge and mirror one another to a great extent anyway.

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The Prime Minister of Japan is no better than the average Holocaust denier¹ ², as is the Minister of Finance and most all of the top leadership of the LDP, which has the USG’s full support, as does the Saudi Royal Family and essentially every tinpot military dictator the world has known since the 2nd World War. The U.S. supplied Suharto’s Indonesia, Pinochet’s Chile, Apartheid South Africa, and military dictatorships all over Africa, Asia, and Latin America. They armed Saddam; they armed the Shah; they armed the Taliban. They bombed the hell out of Yugoslavia, supported the Mafiosos who took over Kosovo; they support the Turkish government as it cracks down and bloodies the population… No justice comes from the US / Japan relationship; only hardship –  for the mass of Japanese people and for us.

Let us continue to advocate for our kids, to analyze and expose the situation honestly and without veils over our eyes; and without sucking up to officials on both sides who will have extensive well-funded institutional support to naturalize and rationalize their practices and prevent justice or care for children from becoming law. Let us oppose them! It’s unequal warfare, but we must. That’s basically what we can do.

Keep in mind, by the time most people find their way to a web-page like this one, or a group like Kizuna CPR, BAC-Home, or CRN-Japan, they have already lost their children to the Japanese state, which very nearly instantaneously terminates our parental rights in a blink, as a matter of course.

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Not that we can do something miraculous;  of course not. Still I would like us to be arguing from a point of view that sees the part our countries play in enabling, facilitating and pushing this policy and rigid lack of change. The Japanese people indeed have to be the source of policy change; so one asks why they haven’t. Japan has a literate and educated population, so the direction should be clear and the mindset that is needed should have become obvious. The lessons of psychological well-being, childcare and support for parents are known; but they can’t be disseminated unless they have the opportunity to develop such a dialogue, and the power to create an enforceable law to protect children. To maintain the hosting of U.S. military bases, real reform-minded political parties are driven from power and marginalized. Massive military and economic support upholds the neo-fascist ruling elites with family and institutional ties to the right wing of the old regime – the emperor-fascists, Yakuza, and Zaibatsu and more, unchallenged and entrenched. Revanchist politicians win, and drive the education and social policies to the right, over and over again. The media are well aware, and are institutionally required to toe the line or lose their press passes and ability to work entirely. Now they’ve got TPP coming to drive down wages and benefits even further and make social supports and economic rights “unaffordable” as Americans always say they are here in the U.S., and they’ve got increasing power passing to the unfolding Japanese military/ national security state – with the U.S. egging them on, their political fortunes tied together.

Honestly. U.S. officials are about as responsible for the rigiidity and horror as Japanese are; and more so, in some areas. This is what has developed.

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Our interests lie in the decoupling of the U.S./Japan stranglehold. Japan has been twisted and perverted by the U.S.’ timeless “postwar” – which in turn makes of Japan a place of denial, disavowal and fantasizing about what makes Japan special and different. The past and present have to be simultaneously whitewashed together. Our task is to tear down this wall of dishonesty and betrayal.

Notes:
1 See: Abe Shinzo, a Far-Right Denier of History, http://www.japanfocus.org/-Narusawa-Muneo/3879

Abe Shinzo, a Far-Right Denier of History
Abe Shinzo, a Far-Right Denier of History

2 Sorry, But Japan Still Can’t Get the War Right / Abe’s Statements on War Responsibility Anger China, South korea

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The End of Ordinary

Ordinary expressions of feeling become too painful to bear when your child has been abducted.
Days become weeks become months become years, in which it is impossible to enjoy what has been casually if intensely important all my life:  music, movies, poetry, playing a guitar, singing,  writing a song, taking pleasure in seeing children on the train or in the park or street. Sorrow in the ordinary way it is usually culturally expressed becomes an outrageous and  overwhelming thing that can’t be approached or touched, because to do so is to risk searing pain and deep penetrating misery. Sad poem or song? Spririted expression of sympathetic feeling? Others around are enjoying the beauty, simplicity and charm of a child’s voice, his or her smile, warm face, tenderness. The swinging of her feet against the air in front of her seat. The longing look he gives his father and mother from the cave of a stroller. When she turns away or exits the subway car, my insides turn to  fire. I have to grimace inwardly, or bury my face in my hand.

Work can routinely become extremely difficult to do. I cannot express this strongly enough. To have gotten through a work day is an accomplishment of great and intensive effort, now spread over years. Therapies, medical attention. Reading and contemplation.  Fits of brain activity and emotion that are incommensurate with the trudge of the everyday sometimes plague me.  Incongruous responses to ordinary stimulii. There simply are no “ordinary” feelings available any more.

I have taken refuge in reading over the last years, and it helps. I have also written and written, in notebooks and in unfinished blog posts that were supposed to go up here. As of this date, I have 167 unfinished drafts saved.  … 167…  They are probably mostly worthless, but among them are thousands of words in which I’ve been trying to reckon with politics and domination, privacy and security, precarious existence and “governmentality”… My mentors and teachers have been in strong disagreement with each other: Michel Foucault, Wendy Brown, Harry Harootunian, Carol Gluck, Masao Miyoshi, Donna Haraway, Jacqueline Rose, Anne Allison, Karyn Ball, Elisabeth Young-Bruehl, Slavoj Zizek, Bernard Stiegler, Lauren Berlant, Karatani Kojin, Julia Kristeva, Giorgio Agamben,  Adrienne Hurley, Walter Benjamin,  David Harvey, Ueno Chizuko, Bruce Cumings, and so many others. I don’t have the strength to name them all. They are my only saving graces, without knowing how to bring Rui back home.

So today is Thanksgiving, and the first night of Hanukah. I have my family’s menorah but I will light no candles in it without my son.

I am thankful nonetheless, for a handful of friends who have cared enough to pick up the phone, spend time with me, and give me consolation and encouragement.
I hope that one day I can name and do them all justice by producing a study, and a child who is now on his way to becoming quite something else from the boy emerging from the toddler, as I knew him.

I love you Rui.
Daddy

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Posted in Japan Child Abduction | 6 Comments