John Gomez - Chairperson
Yumiko Sakai - Deputy Chairperson
Photo Credit: Nathalie-Kyoko Stucky
John Gomez has lived in Japan since January 1995. He graduated from Harvard University in 1983 with an A.B. in Physical Sciences. He has been friends with the son of Ms. Sadako Ogata since the fall of 1979 at Harvard. She was the UNHCR from 1991-2001. He spoke with her about the child abduction issue in September 2012. He spoke with Crown Princess Masako at a Harvard Club of Japan event at the Hotel Okura in 2001. They studied at the University at the same time.
He attended five town hall meetings in Washington DC about the child abduction issue. Those were chaired by Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell. He spoke along with several US government officials and left-behind parents at a press conference on May 5, 2010, Children's Day, to introduce House Resolution 1326 to the US House of Representatives. This resolution addresses Japanese parental child abduction. It passed by a vote of 416 - 1 on September 29, 2010. With several parents, they successfully negotiated with the US State Department to include details of international parental child abduction for all countries in the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. A member of the US Congress has written a letter to President Obama about his daughter's case. This was received by the White House.
By their activity in Washington, American parents raised the child abduction issue to the top bilateral issues between the US and Japan. This was confirmed by the top-level bilateral meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Noda at the UN General Assembly on September 21, 2011. He met Congressman Chris Smith, an original sponsor of H Res 1326, five times, four in Washington and once at the US Embassy in Tokyo. He attended two of Congressman Smith's congressional hearings on international child abduction on May 24 and July 28, 2011. He met and spoke with US Ambassador John Roos, UK Ambassadors David Warren and Tim Hitchens, US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and officials of several Embassies in Tokyo and the EU delegation about the child abduction issue. He has lobbied numerous US legislators and Japanese Diet members and collaborated with left-behind parents from countries around the world. (Please note that lobbying was done as an individual prior to the formation of Kizuna Child-Parent Reunion.)
He organized and co-hosted with David Hearn a seminar at the Nippon Foundation building on April 9, 2012: Child abduction to and within Japan: movie screening of “From the Shadows” and seminar. This is located 100 meters from the US Embassy. The welcoming speaker was Parliamentary Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Kazuyuki Hamada. Congressman Smith wrote a letter of support for the event. There was a panel discussion in the afternoon, and From the Shadows, a documentary movie about the issue, was shown in the evening. On July 6, 2012, an open letter was hand-delivered to the US Embassy for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking her to ask Japan to sign the Hague Convention. The letter was well received by US officials. On December 4, 2012, Senate Resolution 543 passed unanimously. John was involved in promoting this legislation from the outset.
John has done a number of public speaking events at Azabu High School, TEDxYouth@Tokyo, TEDxMarunouchiWomen, Blog Talk Radio, the Roppongi Bar Association of attorneys and so on.
絆・チャイルド・ペアレント・リユニオン, Kizuna Child-Parent Reunion, submitted paperwork to become a Japan-based NGO on October 10, 2012. Approval was granted by the Japanese government in February 2013. John is serving as the Chairman.
An open letter has been sent by Kizuna Child-Parent Reunion to Secretary Kerry in February 2013, and it received a response from the Department of State in Washington DC.