Today on the 6-month anniversary of Rui’s abduction, I haven’t got the heart to write much myself.
With all the respect that is due to a man who has suffered the worst and deserves nothing but plaudits for his efforts, and the supportive shoulders of his friends, I invite you to read this short summary of the Saitama court/ Murray Wood case on the Japan Children’s Rights Network’s website. If this doesn’t break your heart, then you haven’t got one.
In it are several parallels to my Rui boy’s situation, minus the judicial findings which are on a stage we haven’t reached, not yet.
Looking at the story Mr. Wood tells is disheartening and infuriating, but it is cold reality. From an earlier vantage point in the course of these things, it’s a tableau vivant, all laid out for us to walk through, like looking at a set piece with a scripted dreary ending, the pot of tin-pan gold at the end of the rainbow, as predictable as a B Movie, and just as sordid.
You may very well ask how it is that each Japanese child abduction story follows such a typological, common path? How does it happen that each and every one of them all turn out with such similar trajectories? I have more than a guess.
***If you read the piece, and you haven’t gotten queasy enough yet, try this ulcer-inducing fare from a transcript of an interview with Japanese Ambassador to Canada, Sadaki Numata. The whole piece is a sorrowful lesson, but if you would like to focus on what constitutes Japanese diplomacyspeak on the subject of Japanese Parental Abduction, then put Mr. Numata’s name in the find function of your browser and pick it up where he starts talking.
It’s barely sensible, but the ambassador offers twisted justifications and depersonalization of the crimes that are being committed.
“Now firstly, I have some difficulties in your talking about ‘Japan’ as if the government is making this decision. This is in the judiciary process. That’s my first point.”
That is a remarkable start to the discussion, isn’t it? Mother steals children. Japanese judiciary steals jurisdiction. So does the Ambassador mean to suggest that the judiciary process does not follow laws established in ‘Japan’? I see. In what country is this “judiciary process”? Is the judiciary a rogue outlaw band operating illegally within the borders of Japan? Or is there perhaps no law in the judiciary process, but rather just hot air and the whims of judges? Last I heard, the Japanese had the rule of law within their borders. Does the esteemed ambassador mean to tell us that they actually do not?
‘Japan’ either is a state whose judiciary practices arbitrary exculpation of Japanese citizens for crimes committed abroad, or it isn’t; in which case it’s time to put a few thousand children on airplanes back to their countries of origin.
If you read on, you saw that next, the ambassador conceded that the mother committed an illegal abduction of children, that she committed a multiplicity of actions that indicate that she fully intended to abduct them, that there is a warrant for her arrest for this crime in Canada, that the highest court in Canada found against her … but then, the Japanese court discounted all of this and turned the decision over to the kids! And after keeping these defenseless minors far away in Japan for 6 months, isolated from their Daddy, and threatening them with never seeing their mother again if they gave the wrong answer, the kids said it’s ok!! And on that basis, on that basis alone, the mother was given absolution, and the children were kept in Japan.
The Stockholm Syndrome, revised for minors. If a child can learn to love his abduction, then it’s no longer a crime.
It seems that we have found a new way to reduce the numbers of criminal charges and people in prisons. If someone is found to have obviously, flagrantly carried out a long-term scheme to defy the law, ask the kids if they want Mommy or Daddy held accountable for commission of a crime. What answer would you expect from the children? The children in this story will have the rest of their lives to live with the memory of having been shouldered by ‘Japan’ with the burden of their own parentage. My heart aches for the wound this deals to Mr. Wood and his family. I feel wounded as well just to hear of it.
The interviewer then posed this to the esteemed ambassador:
“Ambassador, there are 21 cases like Mr. Woods of custody disputes between Canada and Japan, leaving some to suggest that Japan has a reputation as a haven for internationally abducted children.
To which he responded by saying,
” That is precisely, precisely, what I am disputing. And to cause suspicions, like saying Japan is a haven for abducted children and so forth, I don’t think it’s just, it’s not the way I go about this business of diplomacy.”
“I do feel that in the process that has taken place so far, the children’s interest has been very seriously taken into account. And one last point I would like to make is I’m not quite sure whether it would really serve the children’s interest for this case to be talked about in the glare of publicity. Should the children happen to know about it, what do they think about it?”
First children are illegally abducted to Japan in defiance of international law and the Supreme Court of the sovereign state of their birth. First, they are stolen. Next it becomes year zero in their lives. The children’s homes, their previous existence, are wiped clean from judicial memory. Only from then, their interests begin to be taken into account, as if they had no prior history.
Second, to observe, inquire into, and oppose the Japanese practice of providing safe haven for criminal abductions is bad “diplomacy,” bad manners, in essence. The ambassador prefers not to have this conversation; it’s not his way of doing business. But he defends the actions of the Japanese state anyway.
Third, through talking about crimes against families and children in public, the guilt is transferred from the perpetrators to the victims. Just because the Japanese state (er … excuse me, the judicial process) visits a hideous abuse on families and children, the ambassador says, the real harm to the children is for you and I to make public mention of it. After all, it’s a matter of good manners, isn’t it? The ambassador prefers that you and I leave them alone.
I believe this is enough. I suggest we all lower our heads in humbling shame that the human race produces beings with such souls with such words and thoughts to express on the subject of the welfare of the children we are sworn and obligated to love and protect.