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Loss of Access clarification

Dear reader:

We are very pleased to see that the estimate of the number of children affected by the human rights problem we work on in Japan has been widely reported and cited as 150,000 children per year.

The accurate description is that an estimated 150,000 children per year lose access to one of their parents. This is due to an inability to see their parent after divorce in Japan.

The loss of access does not mean abduction as it has been described in some instances, and the loss of access may be due to other factors besides an abduction. Surely, an abduction is the cause of loss of access in some cases, but this cannot be stated in describing the estimate because the data used to make the estimate refers to parents not visiting their children after divorce.

The misunderstanding about what the number means has appeared in several press articles and a human rights complaint submitted to the United Nations even though the estimate has been explained verbally and in writing. Citations of the Kizuna CPR NGO name or my name (JG) are not withstanding as these descriptions are not direct quotations. It is not feasible to correct all instances in which the estimate has appeared because we are not aware of all of those.

Therefore, the time has come to issue this clarification of the estimate in the hope that this is reported more accurately in the future and misunderstanding is avoided.

Nonetheless, loss of access of a child to a parent is a human rights violation with respect to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child article 9. The difference in terminology does not diminish the concern about nor severity of the human rights violation.

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