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We continue to address officials of G7 countries in our Kidnapped to Japan Reunification Project.
Here is the text of the 2021 letter:

Canada

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau;

Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau;

Ambassador of Canada to Japan Ian Burney

 

France

M. Emmanuel Macron, Président de la République Française;

M. Jean Castex, Premier ministre;

M. Gérard Larcher, Président du Sénat;

M. Richard Ferrand, Président de l'Assemblée nationale;

M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Ministre de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères;
M. Éric Dupond-Moretti, Ministre de la Justice;

M. Philippe Setton, Ambassadeur de France au Japon

 

Germany

Sehr geehrte Frau Bundeskanzlerin Merkel;

Sehr geehrter Herr Bundespräsident Steinmeier;

Sehr geehrter Herr Minister Maas;

Ihre Exzellenz Ina Lepel der Botschafterin von Deutschland

 

Italy

Ill.mi Sergio Mattarella, Presidente della Repubblica Italiana;

Mario Draghi, Presidente del Consiglio;

Luigi Di Maio, Ministro degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale;

Marta Cartabia, Ministro della Giustizia;

Elena Bonetti, Ministro per le Pari Opportunità e della Famiglia;

Giorgio Starace, Ambasciatore d’Italia in Giappone

 

United Kingdom

Prime Minister Boris Johnson;

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab;

Minister of State (minister of Asia) Nigel Adams;

Her Excellency Ambassador Julia Longbottom

G7 Sherpa Jonathan Black

 

United States of America

President Joe Biden;

Vice President Kamala Harris;

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer;

Senate Minority Leader Mitchell McConnell;

U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman;

Senator James E. Risch, Ranking Member; Senator Marco Rubio; Senator Tim Kaine;

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi;

U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs: Representative Gregory Meeks, Chairman;

Representative Michael McCaul, Ranking Member;

Senators Patty Murray; Thom Tillis; and Diane Feinstein;

Representatives Christopher Smith; Adam Smith; Pramila Jayapal; and Jimmy Panetta.

 

 

 

April 27, 2021

 

2021 G7 Summit, open letter - G7 Kidnapped to Japan Reunification Project

 

The Japanese government continue to ignore the issue of parental child abduction to and within Japan allowing large scale human rights abuses against children in Japan.

 

Japan is in breach of its freely assumed international treaty obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Hague Abduction Convention, and Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Japan fails to comply with Interpol notices issued both against child abductors and in order to help locate children abducted to Japan. It has also failed to comply with court orders from other countries such as Hague return mirror orders and divorce rulings with their stipulations.

 

Member nations of the G7 and the EU Parliament have now been raising the issue of Japan’s poor treatment of children’s human rights with the Japanese government for several decades and have cited it as an abduction offender nation. Still, a very large number of abducted children are unable to meet or communicate at all with their parent. Many parents do not know the whereabouts of their abducted children. Japan’s promises coupled with its lack of meaningful action that actually reunites abducted children with their families demonstrates that Japan chooses to negotiate in bad faith on this issue. Japan must acknowledge its failure to a generation of families. Until it does so, the injustice remains. Japan would demonstrate a true commitment to the victims and genuine respect for their human rights not by unnecessary rhetoric and activities without results but by actually reunifying children with their parents and families. This is the objective indicator of their performance of human rights obligations, yet it has still not occurred in many cases.

 

Multilateral human rights diplomacy with Japan is needed. This problem can be solved if the appropriate actions are taken. Appropriate actions are.

 

  1. Tell Japan to comply with its international treaty obligations or face a proportionate response. This is an approach already applied to other nations.

  2. Issue a joint statement highlighting representative examples of where Japan has failed to meet its international commitments and set out the intention to monitor the situation working toward reunification of children with their families. [see attached]

  3. Establish a permanent joint task force to manage the resolution of this issue.

  4. Identify that Japan is negotiating in bad faith and that activities such as the recent promise to “study joint custody” are delay tactics that serve as a substitute for decisive action. This is an infinite game strategy aimed to dissipate international pressure to improve child rights in Japan and reunite abducted children with their parents.

 

Allowing a G7 member to ignore international law protecting children without receiving criticism or facing any consequences is undermining the core values of the G7. Action is required.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

International Alliance Partners:

 

Canada

Henrik Teton Bring Takaya Home                            

 

France

Paul-Georges Touja Membre fondateur, Sauvons Nos Enfants Japon                      

 

Germany

Björn Echternach japanchildabduction.org               

D.W. Japan-Kindesentfuehrung.com

 

Italy

A.C.

 

United Kingdom

Paul Halton stopjapanchildabduction.org                  

Adam Perry stopjapanchildabduction.org                 

 

United States of America

John Gomez Chairman, Kizuna Child-Parent Reunion                     

Jeffery Morehouse Executive Director, Bring Abducted Children Home

 

Here is the attached supplemental text.

Suggested statement:

 

Parents of children abducted to or within Japan continue to be let down by the Japanese legal system. Citizens of our countries regularly find themselves cut off from their children by the Japanese courts and authorities and are at best given nominal rights to see their children. The situation is unacceptable.

 

Japan’s family courts do not enforce Japan’s freely assumed international treaty obligations related to child rights. Consequently, large scale human rights abuses are being committed against children in Japan. Rather than address this issue, Japan continues to negotiate in bad faith by recognizing the need for action but taking no meaningful steps.

 

Japan must start abiding by its human rights commitments or face proportionate measures from its partners until it does.

 

A joint task force will be set up with the goal of ensuring Japan takes actions to unify parents and children and fix its system imminently so that citizens of our countries are able to have a relationship with their children in the same way Japanese parents are able to have a relationship with their children in our countries.

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Here is the text of the 2020 letter:

Canada

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau;

Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne;

Ambassador of Canada to Japan Ian Burney

 

France

M. Emmanuel Macron, Président de la République Française;

M. Jean Castex, Premier ministre;

M. Gérard Larcher, Président du Sénat;

M. Richard Ferrand, Président de l'Assemblée nationale;

M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Ministre de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères;
M. Éric Dupond-Moretti, Ministre de la Justice;

M. Philippe Setton, Ambassadeur de France au Japon

 

Germany

Sehr geehrte Frau Bundeskanzlerin Merkel;

Sehr geehrter Herr Bundespräsident Steinmeier;

Sehr geehrter Herr Minister Maas;

Ihre Exzellenz Ina Lepel der Botschafterin von Deutschland

 

Italy

Ill.mi Sergio Mattarella, Presidente della Repubblica Italiana;

Giuseppe Conte, Presidente del Consiglio;

Luigi Di Maio, Ministro degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale;

Alfonso Bonafede, Ministro della Giustizia;

Elena Bonetti, Ministro per le pari Opportunità e della Famiglia;

Giorgio Starace, Ambasciatore d’Italia in Giappone

 

United Kingdom

Prime Minister Boris Johnson;

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab;

Minister of State (minister of Asia) Nigel Adams;

His Excellency Ambassador Paul Madden

 

United States of America

President Donald Trump;

Vice President Michael Pence;

Senate Majority Leader Mitchell McConnell;

Representative Christopher Smith;

Representative Adam Smith;

Representative Pramila Jayapal;

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez;

U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: Senator James E. Risch, Chairman;

Senator Bob Menendez, Ranking Member; Senator Marco Rubio

Senators Patty Murray, Kamala Harris, Thom Tillis, and Diane Feinstein

 

 

December 6, 2020

 

2020 G7 Summit, open letter - G7 Kidnapped to Japan Reunification Project

 

It is for the grave and ongoing risk to children that we must persist in calling for the ongoing crisis of international parental child abduction to Japan and domestic parental child abduction within Japan to be prioritized for the 2020 G7 meeting. The Japanese government continues to resist recognizing the dire nature of the problem. This resistance can be observed by the lack of a concrete plan for resolution of the crisis. We ask that G7 members take an outcome-focused approach to the status of children’s human rights in Japan. The current status quo cannot be allowed to continue.

Studying family law systems of other nations over decades has not resulted in an immediate, decisive course of action to rectify problems with the Japanese legal and social infrastructure. Rather it appears more like a delay tactic. Explanations about cultural differences are given by Japanese officials when talking to foreign officials, but in effect these supposed differences result in a legal system that violates the human rights of children and undermines the ability of Japan to comply with its international human rights treaty obligations as a member of the G7. Moreover, the policies put a strain on the social infrastructure of Japan that results in children living in poverty and prevents achievement of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Parental alienation resulting from the current situation in Japan is causing a great deal of suffering amongst children and parents. Concerns over Japan’s commitment to children’s rights have been raised by the international community with Japan for more than a quarter of a century. Sadly, the crisis remains.

Rulings by Japanese judges and statements by Japanese officials give mixed messages. For example, a class action suit petitioning for protection by law for the right to access children was reported by Reuters in November 2019. "In the Tokyo District Court ruling, presiding judge Tatsuro Maezawa said the UN treaty [The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)] was "merely an agreement to respect" those rights but had no binding power." What does "agreement to respect" mean if there is not also implementation of a legally binding requirement for entities that do not respect human rights?  The UNCRC in Japan has no meaning if it has no influence on society through enforceable laws with the intended effect of protecting children. In this milieu, the abduction problem would certainly persist unabated.

Statements by former Minister of Justice Masako Mori upon assuming office proclaimed her intention to protect the human rights of children. However, the disconnect between Japan’s words and the reality suffered by the child victims could hardly be more fundamental and distinct. There clearly appears to be a steadfast protection of the Meiji era civil code rather than doing what is needed to protect children who are suffering today in the 21st century.

 

These positions by the Japanese government and its officials inadvertently point to deeper actual causes of the problem. Why would the Japanese government prioritize and use the term “cultural differences” to excuse human rights violations, thereby undermining its ability to meet treaty obligations and degrade and damage the quality of life of its beloved children and society? Since the violations have continued after many years of calls by the international community to resolve the crisis, then we must conclude that the cultural difference explanation is merely a pretext to justify an actual lack of respect for the human rights of children and that the abduction issue is not considered to be an urgent problem. Then, what does this say about the government of Japan and its treatment of children? Violations of children’s human rights are time-sensitive, urgent matters in the lives of our children and all the children affected.

The world has been listening to Japan’s excuses for over a quarter of a century. Now it is time to start listening to the victims, and although the majority are too young to speak up, we represent the victims. We do not advocate merely for the benefit of the children now, but also because lack of a resolution to this crisis will continue to have adverse consequences for future generations and for the sustainable viability of the country of Japan.

We seek to build an alliance of nations working harmoniously in a framework to continue to raise the abduction issue with the Japanese government like a drumbeat until it is resolved. Action has already been taken by a number of G7 nations and the EU Parliament to confront Japan on this issue:

1. On January 24, 2020 the French Senate adopted unanimously a European resolution on children deprived of any link with their European parent subsequent to an abduction committed by their Japanese parent.

 

2.  On February 5, 2020 the French Senate adopted unanimously a resolution relating to Franco-Japanese children deprived of any link with their French parent subsequent to a parental abduction.

 

3.  Italy and Germany have issued travel advisories for Japan regarding child abduction.

 

4. On July 8, 2020, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the international and domestic parental abduction of EU children in Japan.

 

G7 nations need to take further action based on an outcome-focused approach that addresses Japan's excuses. We caution officials to be wary of being told by Japanese officials about activity that does not actually lead to a resolution of the problem. The treatment of domestic cases, the UNCRC, and Hague Abduction Convention return and access cases has changed little, despite much posturing that the issue is being worked on and progress is being made. Today there remains no legally enforceable path for the return of or reunification with kidnapped children that does not rely solely on the voluntary will of the kidnapping parent.

The Japanese government is engaging in what is known as an “infinite game” (Sinek, 2019), but other governments should be wary not to be willing finite-game players as counterparts in the game. This scenario would continue indefinitely and result in quagmire for the governments with no resolution of the issue. This is the intention of the Japanese government, the infinite game player: an infinite process with no fundamental change in their treatment of abducted children, all their rhetoric notwithstanding.

The following actions are needed:

  • A unified statement by G7 leaders that they are committed to the return of and/or reunification of abducted children with their parents

  • The establishment of a permanent joint task force to manage the resolution of this issue

 

We look forward to collaborating with officials toward constructive, decisive solutions for the children who are waiting and for the prevention of future tragedies. The main purpose of the G7 is to promote a global rule-based order. Allowing Japan to ignore international law protecting children without criticism and consequences while remaining a G7 member, enables a precarious standing in the G7 while the suffering of children continues.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

International Alliance Partners:

Canada

Henrik Teton  Bring Takaya Home                           

 

France

Paul-Georges Touja  Membre fondateur, Sauvons Nos Enfants Japon                     

 

Germany

Björn Echternach  japanchildabduction.org              

D.W.  Japan-Kindesentfuehrung.com

 

Italy

A.C.

 

United Kingdom

Paul Halton  stopjapanchildabduction.org

Adam Perry  stopjapanchildabduction.org

 

United States of America

John Gomez  Chairman, Kizuna Child-Parent Reunion                    

Jeffery Morehouse  Executive Director, Bring Abducted Children Home