We Have No Rights, and There is No Law: Abduction Cases in Sham Courts in Japan

When is a law not a law?

U.S. political buddy Japan provides no means to recover our abducted children, as testified in Congress by Jeffery Morehouse in March, 2015.

Learn more about the hearing here.

And about what Japan and the U.S. have really accomplished together, here.

Posted in BACHome, Brian Prager, 誘拐犯, Japan Child Abduction, Japanese Child Abduction, Jeffery Morehouse, Machiko Terauchi, Ohnuki Kensuke Child Abductor, Parental abduction, Rui Prager, Rui Terauchi, 寺内るい, 寺内真智子 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Japanese International Parental Child Abduction – JIPCA – Human Rights Committee:Congressional Hearing Live Feed


Watch the Congressional hearing on-going now, on international parental abduction

including Jeffery Morehouse testifying… and Ambassador Susan Jacobs

After the live feed is done, find some recorded portions here:
Obama Administration Reviewed: Goldman Act Hearing – Return American Children

Posted in Japan Child Abduction | 8 Comments

Juridical Placebo

The Emancipation Of Children Is Still Far Off

State-Dept-entrance 3ESaturday, March 21- Sunday, March 22, 2015

On March 25th, the Human Rights Committee of the world-class, immoderately insane body of legislators known as the U.S. House of Representatives will host an important event in its legislative oversight role: it will review the operations of the U.S. response to the international abduction of children, a category with soaring numbers and immensely and overwhelmingly traumatic consequences for the children and parents who are its victims. At this Human Rights committee hearing, Office of Children’s Issues Ambassador-at-Large Susan Jacobs will  unfortunately take advantage of yet another opportunity to lie like a rug on behalf of the Department of State and the Obama Administration and claim that the U.S. and Japan are helping parents of internationally abducted children. After she has done making eyes at the committee chair and pretending to be seriously engaged, two parents of abducted children will have the floor to testify on behalf of parents everywhere in mourning for the psychologically violent and exclusionary loss of our children to the insistently myth-stricken, monoculturalist government of Japan and the increasingly violent and hideous government of India. The parents who will testify are my friend Jeffery Morehouse and Bindu Philips.

People will wag their fingers at me for saying it so bluntly, but we know exactly what Susan “Ambassador” Jacobs is going to say well before she says it, and can also describe how her remarks will be forumlated to feign sympathy for the parents and children who are victims of DOS/ MOFA chicanery, and how she will claim “a tremendous amount of progress has been made” because of two or three international abduction cases that were mediated outside of any court or Hague process in the last year, thus leaving thousands of other children unrescued, thousands of other cases untouched, and none ajudicated in the family court on which the Hague Convention supposedly invests jurisidiction, much less  power of protection for the vulnerable huddling under its leaky umbrella.

March 2015 Congressional Hearing on International Child Abduction

Meet the Professionalized ‘Officialdom’ of International Child Abduction

Since the spring of 2014, a number of parents of children who have been kidnapped to Japan have begrudgingly applied under the severe coercion of our circumstances, under the provisions of the U.S. DOS-OCI’s favored toy, the Hague Convention Article 21, which claims to require that parents of abducted children have access to their children restored. After five months of delay from the U.S. and Japanese governments, I received what I believe is a close-to-standard message from the Department of State’s OCI in response which I can describe as follows: 1) the State Department Office of Children’s Issues has devised no assistance to offer in defense of children or parents; but it has cheerfully acted instead as the willing messenger of the same primary representatives of the professional class of Japanese international child abduction (Ohnuki Kensuke, in my case), who now require that either I/we offer terms (which they are under no obligation to accept, ostensibly under Japanese “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (more on this in a moment), and which would therefore be pointless to pursue); or, 2) the law states that, alternatively, I may now proceed (as we all now can) to buy access to a hearing in identical Japanese family courtrooms to the ones which stole jurisdiction and made a formal legal gesture of the abductions of our children: in the case of my son Rui, in 2011, a year after his disappearance in 2010. Neither of these two options contains any potential for benefit to us as parents, nor certainly to our children. But that is not their purpose, a subject that we must explore further.  Neither are either in any way binding; nor do either grant me and/ or my son any real, equal, defensible, or reciprocal rights. So I have not cooperated with Japan’s abduction industry by going any further as of yet.

“ADR” a la Japonaise

Two more points of great importance at this time:

(1) the State Department knows very well that Japanese incorporation of “alternative dispute resolution” into its institutional process of professional, legal child abduction is understood by Japanese mediators not only as a non-binding form of  dispute resolution, but is actually “conciliation-mediation”, a creature quite different from dispute resolution. Conciliation-mediation means that the non-residential, rights-violated parent has to select one of these choices: Either: (a) agree to lose your child, and…  lose your child; or, (b) DO NOT agree to lose your child, in which case you are liable. That is, you are deemed to be acting against the “spirit of conciliation”, and you are therefore more than likely to have the loss of your child again reaffirmed in the family court ruling which (theoretically, “legally”) must follow.

The second point of great importance at this time, in my view: (2) International law, strikingly in the instance of non-binding, non-criminal law treaties like the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of the International Abduction of Children, is a formal relation that is structured to create an illusion that our protections and those we possess on behalf of our children are now a part of what the US insists on, which is the systemic “interoperability” of numerous aspects of the US and allied legal and technological systems (such as those of the Japanese), in which the appearance of equality, universality, and reciprocity is foisted on socially and /or politically unequal parties. We parents have much in common with the private rights-violated, rights-deprived parents of Japan, but very little in common with these systemic objectives of the US Departments of State and Defense and the US policy establishment which, after all, is directly responsible for the return of Abe Shinzo to power, as Prime Minister.² The option of entering into a court legal process in Japan that has been sanctioned by the Japanese and American national governments cannot achieve an outcome for which it is neither designed nor an outcome which its practice is built to prevent; nor has this outcome even been achieved by indirection or accident. The form of the relations  enacts its self-perpetuation, and can’t be otherwise, because neither we nor Japanese parents have the necessary powers there to protect our rights nor our children’s rights.

Who (or What) is the Subject of International Law?

 I don’t want to make the ineffectual responses of OCI chair-warmers into the issue. What after all do they have to offer, but angst-inducing, empty, formulary statements? I wish I were able to attend the hearing on Wednesday, to offer what morale support I could to Jeffery Morehouse. He speaks for us.

I suspect we parents will not have many, (if any) more opportunities to make statements in the U.S. Congress, nor to protest the violation of our rights in that forum, although I hope that by some miracle, some of us do. The Department of State remains the institutional subject of this battle over international law; and before Jeffery gets to the table to speak, Susan Jacobs will be there first, making the usual statements about what wonderful hard-working (sic) persons she and the members of her DOS subdivision are, and how proudly they have been able to successfully place a legal document on file stating that Japan is a signatory, a part of the international community of human rights treaty partners. She will make her stand on that basis – stating that she and her fellow OCI and DOS colleagues can take *credit* for having created a marvelous chunk of institutional progress – a convention signing – without resorting to sanctioning the violators of our rights and the ruiners of our lives and those of our children.

Treaties: Form’s Pseudo-Equality

If I were able to testify – about as likely as a second solar eclipse occurring this week – I would say some of the above to illustrate how governing agencies like the Department of State use the “treaty form” as a wedge, not against Japanese international family abduction, and not as a weapon against the violation and violent ruin of children and their parents; but as a wedge against popular opinion, which if it were allowed to develop and speak, would unquestionably favor that parents and children be protected from Japan and its family court practices, as well as many other aspects of contemporary life in which a globalized world brushes territorially-distant people against one another and causes them harm against which they have no sufficient or effective defensive structures.

I would put it this way, more or less: international law, particularly non-binding, non-criminal law treaties like the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of the International Abduction of Children, exists to create an illusory appearance of equality, universality, and reciprocity between socially and politically unequal parties. The measure of its “success” is the degree to which it is able to make it appear that the parties are equal, universally protected, and reciprocally obligated, rather than permitting the true condition of their relations to be made visible: that of unequal parties to the conflict, whose differential levels of social power render the equality and reciprocity between them fictive.

A brief examination of international law history readily reveals this. The origins of international law lie in declarations of equality – legal equality – between technologically proficient, emerging national polities like those of the ocean-going European colonialists of Spain and Portugal on the one hand, and the tribally organized agrarian and hunter-gatherer peoples of North America on the other. Land would be made available for cultivation and settlement, and Aztec gold would be available for trade, because the “law” created and disseminated by the European powers as they emerged insisted on it; otherwise, the law said, the “rights” of the Spanish to trade (in the Aztec gold, or to occupy the territory for economic exploitation) would be violated, thus authorizing the Spanish Conquistadors to make war to ‘defend’ those ‘rights.’ The legal right itself was designated as reciprocal: should the Native American tribesmen choose to canoe their way across the Atlantic and offer trade in exchange for European wealth, they would have to be entitled to that right, or could legally make war on the Europeans for not honoring it. That they did not gather up their bows and arrows and do so, well… that’s their own fault.¹ Oh, and by the way, the European powers wrote the laws, too.

Japanese international child abduction, presented to the public as a private matter that is now regulated under a multi-lateral treaty between legally equal and reciprocally constituted entities (the State, now being the subject of all international law), is a direct case of an unchanged international law logic. The questionable presumptions underlying this include the idea that the State represents not itself, but the sovereign people. Sovereignty, despite the myriad ways in which power circulates and is captured today, is insisted upon by the State Department and its staff as principle number one, despite the numerous ways the principle is obviously flaunted. This renders our children unprotected on the basis of a seriously eroded territorial-jurisdiction-convceived structure of law which has little to do with the operations of contemporary global power.

Thus, we are Free… Free to defeat the Japanese state, and free to overcome the obstacles placed in our paths by the full organizational heft of the State Department and the forceful maintenance of its interests in creating an environment supportive of enormously powerful financial institutions; supportive of the wielding of massive levels of infrastructural, energy, resource and capital development; supportive of forward military base construction on territory of “our” choosing for profit-making, power projection, and to provide launching pads for future East Asian policing and war-making, over and against the will of the populations of the territories on which the wars are projected to take place. And all of this is rumored to take place under the guidance of a Swiss clock-like reciprocal, egalitarian, “democratic” rights-respecting, globally-scaled structural order of which the Hague Convention is a minute but necessary part.

Except that we have no say in its construction; and our children are ineligible for protection under the law.

If children are ever to be protected from abuse and harm, then the voices of their protectors, we who love them,  must be heard. What stands the best chance of getting those voices heard, I claim, is for parents to break the insularity of family politics today, to see and claim as strongly as we can bear it, the commonalities of our oppression with that of numerous others who are harmed in similar or somewhat disparate ways by similar *forms* – legally sanctioned forms – of abjection and abuse, and whose claims to the right to live and be minimally secure are ignored in favor of a violently and oppressively maintained privileged few. To me, the large and unwieldy core of this process would entail the reconstitution of democracy: the democratization of institutions in which people can be authentic participants.


1 I’m very grateful and indebted to China Mieville’s discussion of just war for this example. It can be found in Between Equal Rights, (Haymarket Books, 2006, pp. 174-177).

2 There are ample resources demonstrating the role that the United States has played in the origins, building, re-building and restoration to power of the LDP in general, and of Shinzo Abe in particular. An outstanding recent source is R.Taggart Murphy’s Japan and the Shackles of the Past, Oxford University Press, 2014. Others include Gavin McCormack, Client State, Verso, 2007;  Jeff Kingston, ed.,Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan, Routledge, 2014. And many others.

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

March 11th – Anniversary of Japan’s Well-Learned Lesson: ‘Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste’

Four years to the day, on March 11, 2011, precisely nine months into Rui’s abduction, the triple disaster struck Japan.  Earthquake, tsunami, and multiple nuclear plant meltdowns.

On that day, Japan nuked itself.

The surrounding lands and population stood no chance against the ruin of the extensive nuclear power station networks knowingly built in what is perhaps the world’s single most precarious earthquake zone. The reactors at Fukushima Daichi which melted down have proceeded to leak vast amounts of radioactivity into the air, the ground water and the ocean, with still no end in sight. Today, numerous reports make it clear that the radioactivity leaked into the Pacific by Tepco is on a still-increasingly devastating scale, despite withering official denial. That the governments of Japan and the United States have consistently covered up and lied about the extent of the danger from the first is not secret. But by virtue of the rule of “plausible deniability” which has long served the interests of Japan’s corporate and governmental oligarchy and its intimate partnership with the U.S., the U.S. and Japan have evaded responsiblity for the ongoing contamination of the seas, marine life, and the agricultural produce of the region. And they will continue to strive to evade taking cognizance of the consequences in the form of thyroid and other cancers in children, in the devastation of livelihoods and homes, in ruined lives, and in early deaths.

Today, Japan is undergoing a political transformation unequaled since what most of us believed to be the final defeat of Japanese fascism in 1945. But as in Europe and South Asia, fascism is now in a state of revival. Remarkably since the nuclear disaster, the LDP- the political party most responsible for building the nuclear industry into the *core* of Japanese capitalism- has been returned to power by election. The LDP leadership, filled with the children and inheritors of the wealth and class benefits of the era of fascist rule, is now at the pinnacle of  capital-state power in prime positions of authority throughout the economic and political establishment. Currently, with the closely held, unqualified support and full partnership of the range of United States political and military powers, the ruling party has seized the opportunity provided by the nuclear crisis, following as it did on the heels of the massive and lingering global economic crisis, and is working on multiple fronts to suppress the corruption and rot in the reputation of Japan’s past and present ruling elites, “restore” a rosy retrospective veneer of respectability to the brutality of the former fascist regime of the imperial years, and to alter Japanese educational and legal-constitutional institutions to achieve these ends. Ultimately of course, the goal is to give Japan’s elites a more direct and effective position from which to obtain the benefits of technocratic power, wealth, and influence in global economic, political and military affairs, even if doing so requires the country to further embrace its role as U.S. vassal and client state, and to supress all internal opposition at least until it is able to attain these aims. The continual push towards realization of these latter aims is profligate: most recently, in the suppression of democratic opposition to the destructive location of the enormous U.S. military facility at Henoko in Okinawa; the passage of deeply consequential state security laws aimed at suppressing press freedom and the development, organization and expression of dissent; the seemingly never-ending efforts at forced silencing of historical record and overturning of an internationally recognized consensus with regard to the invasions, occupations, and abuse of populations throughout East Asia in the first half of the 20th century; and the current efforts to revise, circumvent, or override the Japanese constitution ( for the LDP top leadership, either one will do) in order to free up the process of Japanese remilitarization.

And then, in yet another sideshow, the revival of Japan’s nuclear power industry, inclusive of the sale of technologies to the Japanese right’s neo-fascist political allies abroad. The current regime in command of the Japanese vassal state, it seems, will stop at nothing.

Since nine months before the nuclear disaster and massive violence of the 2011 tsunami and earthquake, I have not heard nor seen any image, nor heard any news of my son, much less the sound of his voice or feel of his touch. Since that same time period, I have not seen any image, nor heard any news, nor heard any sound, nor felt any feeling, nor had any thought that did not carry with it the reminder of the loss, sorrow and urgency of the unknown life and whereabouts of my missing boy, Rui.

this post is for him

Rui Skype snapshot 04 - 10

And for all the victims of the tsunami, nuclear meltdown, and the lethal partnership of US and Japanese capital.

¹ (Post title borrows from Philip Mirowski’s well-known book on the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. H/t to Professor Mirowski!)

Posted in Brian Prager, 誘拐犯, Fukushima Crisis, Japan Child Abduction, Japan Nuclear Radiation Crisis, Japanese Child Abduction, Machiko Terauchi, Parental abduction, Rui Prager, Rui Terauchi, 寺内るい, 寺内真智子 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments