A thousand unanswered calls.
A family ought to be a source of refuge and safety for a child, as well as for grown-ups. But thousands of abductions of children across international boundaries having taken place over the last decade have made Japan famous. The refuge these parents seek are family courts that predicate decisions regarding the lives of children on belief and practice that custody of a child should belong solely to one parent only, a Japanese parent, and that love of a child by and for both parents can be dismissed and disregarded with the exclusion of dual parental rights. In such a system there can only be winners and losers; small children lose a loving parent, and the consequences for them are obviously tragic.
Japanese courts continue to prefer that custody and visitation arrangements be agreed upon outside of court. It’s a family matter. How like the antiquated rape laws that left women all over the world unprotected for centuries! Family matters are to be worked out by the family alone, say the wise men of the law. What can courts say about matters of private life? Behind the closed doors of the family home, the state must not intervene! This is an argument with a long international history which meant that women could be (and were, and are) physically assaulted in their own homes by the men with whom they shared their familial bond. And now, under the guise of protecting a traditional cultural standard, the domain of family privacy is extended to legal matters in which the law should be protecting innocent victims. In the age of globalization and steeply increasing numbers of international marriages, the Japanese state defines post-divorce custody as exclusive, and defends only those parents whose whim is sole possession of the children, regardless of the interest of their alienated spouses in the welfare of their children. Disregarding a recognized international standard by which children are protected from being stolen from a loving parent, a mother or father who doesn’t wish to face the tough work of dealing fairly with her ex-husband or his ex-wife can whisk children away and alienate them from the other parent who loves them and from whom comes their most powerful hope of love and healthy self-regard.
Watch for names and pictures of the perpetrators and co-conspirators of abduction on this blog soon!
Something interesting to mull over, here:
Even if they were to sign, how long before children are allowed to return to their families? Would signing an unenforceable treaty make any difference to Japanese judges who jealously guard their domains and exercise autonomous power of the lives of the parents and children they believe they are entitled to control?