Last Thursday, June 11, 2015, my old colleague and friend from the Left Behind Parents movement and the BACHome group, Christopher Savoie, gave testimony at last in a Congressional hearing on International Parental Child Abduction. Christopher explained quite clearly that the US Department of State, acting as the Central Authority and the sole US agency that is mandated to assist parents of missing, kidnapped children, has been misleading and betraying us and our children in deference to Japanese state sponsorship of international parental abduction from the outset, and since well before I came to them to plead for help. This is not news to me, nor to anyone else among us, yet it has to be said again and again. He quoted his former case officer and mine, Courtney Houk, who wrote this to Christopher in 2011: “The State Department has not formally demanded the return of any abducted children.”
The second major theme of the day concerned U.S. officials intentional misrepresentation of the numbers of kidnapped children in Japan whose parents are seeking them, in an unequal fight against the governments of the tw0 countries. According to the Department of State, which has been delegated the responsibility to name and give percentages and evaluations of those countries that are non-compliant with international legal standards and refuse to return or process access and the restoration of parental rights, in a new report Japan was given a completely clean slate. At the request of a Japanese delegation which visited and requested this from the State Department prior to the report’s completion, the State Department issued this report – which requires sanctions against non-cooperating states – which completely cleared Japan of 35 years of child abductions, abductions which in reality number in the millions within Japan. It was a particularly bold act of American false representation, whose victims are children and parents. 50 “officially” unresolved US cases, a number dependent entirely on the willingness of thwarted U. S. parents to beat their heads against the same brick wall for decades at a time, year after year, a number that were it to be told truthfully would be something on the order of 80 times greater (an astonishing but nonetheless truthful representation). 50 cases, 30 with unanswered applications in the last year, remained unmentioned. Any judge consulting the report would find Japan to be a completely safe country to which to release children for visits. Nothing could be further from the truth, and the Department of State is thereby playing the lynchpin role of assisting in the abductions of children from the U.S. to a safe haven in which there exists no recourse. Congressman Chris Smith, who convened the hearing and interviewed representatives of the Sate Department was scathing, declaring that the Department was intentionally doing a great disservice to aggrieved and desperate parents, while Christopher Savoie made it abundantly clear that whitewashing reality in this manner has contributed to numerous abductions and put countless others at great risk.
“You see, in Japan, every divorce results in the total loss of all parental rights to one of the parents. That’s right. Under Japanese law, after a divorce — even a completely amicable divorce, the parents (or a court) must decide which parent will maintain parental rights. Not custody. Parental rights. The result of this rule is that one parent must by law have his or her parental rights terminated…becoming, legally, a total stranger, a non-parent to the child. The non-parent may not have any decision-making over the child anymore– never mind guaranteed visitation, decisions over medical care, access to a child in a hospital, or access to school records. None of that.
This is also why the State Department and Japanese Government, both of which would like to maintain smooth bilateral relations, have had to contort the numbers in this report and distort the truth in order to hide this awful fact about Japanese law and cultural values.”
There is video here: http://www.c-span.org/video/?326519-1/hearing-international-parental-child-abduction
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Today -June 15th, 2015- is the 5th anniversary of Rui’s disappearance into Japan. No one has come forward to tell me where he is living. The U.S. Department of State knows where my son is; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs knows where he is. Ohnuki, the abduction lawyer, knows. But according to their respective understandings of Japanese law, I have no right to know, and cannot be given that right. Instead, they as a group decided to create false psychological reports on him as a late toddler; they devised methods of delaying and hiding him for just long enough for the law to alter his status in Japan; they made public unproven fabricated accusations that I, Rui’s father, was not who I said I was, a daddy who loves my son, protects, takes care of, and longs to educate, play and relay the beauties of the world to my son, and to assuage his pain and teach him as well as I can, what a complex, nuanced, and sometimes decisively difficult thing it is to be a human being. The time has been stolen and no one can return that time to us. The damage is severe, and cannot be undone.
But still, as I always have, I love you Rui, and I want you home. I want the truth of our lives to be faced squarely and honestly. No lying, no dissimulation. And I want to rebuild the bond between father and son. I have much to give you and share with you, and there is so much to overcome.
Please let’s begin today, because once Machiko Terauchi and Kensuke Ohnuki kidnapped you, what was ordinarily normal became too beautiful to bear.