Tag Archives: Japan and child abduction

PM Noda would visit North Korea over abduction issue: linkage with the Hague

PM Noda would visit North Korea over abduction issue: linkage with the Hague

Olivier LeCourt and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda made it clear that he would visit North Korea if deep-rooted issues could be resolved between both nations. This statement is very intriguing because while it was aimed at showing sincerity towards the abduction issue, it is clear that you have a bigger picture and this applies to the nuclear problem and other major concerns. Also, was the statement aimed at the ongoing political changes within North Korea?

North Korea isn’t isolated in the region because China and the Russian Federation have cordial relations with North Korea. This is based on geopolitics, energy related issues, sphere of influence, containing any possible crisis with South Korea, keeping America in check and other important areas. 

Japan, on the other hand, is deeply concerned about the nuclear issue because despite all expert information about the “real reality” of North Korea’s nuclear program, it is often based on sketchy information and this worries Japan.  Also, Japan is deeply concerned about the abduction issue related to Japanese nationals who were taken to North Korea.

Noda commented that “I would go there anytime if various pending matters including the abduction issue could be resolved by my visit.” This statement is very important because it is in the interest of Japan and North Korea to resolve, or at least mend, many fences which have prevented both nations from forging a relationship based on trust.

It is also important that Japan understands the genuine concerns of North Korea and this applies to American bases and real objectives, South Korea and American military war games, comments related to past history whereby North Korea believes that they are the true guardians of Korean nationalism and patriotism. 

It simply isn’t good enough to just become embroiled in a propaganda war or to do the bidding of external nations. The fact is that North Korea’s nuclear capability can only endanger two nations during “the worse-case-scenario” and this applies to Japan and South Korea respectively. Therefore, it is unimportant about which nation in northeast Asia is the aggressor because the only important issue is that Japan could become embroiled and threatened by unforeseen events related to a regional military conflict.

It matters not if this is most unlikely because for people who reside in Japan the real issue is that it could happen, even if it is very remote.  Therefore, PM Noda would be wise to kick-start a new approach to North Korea because just like China, then one day military elites within North Korea may focus on self-interests and economic revival based on the support of external forces.

Once you had the Cultural Revolution in China and Maoism was very potent but within several decades “a new spring” emerged which focused on economics and market forces. 

The abduction issue is clearly important to the people of Japan and this topic is in the news often and it is a subject which binds forces on all sides of the political spectrum. Noda is clearly concerned about this problem and he will continue to meet members of relatives of Japanese nationals who have a family member who was abducted to North Korea.

Noda also commented to the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea, that “It’s a race against time. We aim to give thought to every specific measure with a sense of urgency and take action.”

Despite only taking office recently this is the second time that Noda spoke about this issue with Shigeo Iizuka. Therefore, with Shigeo Iizuka being a very important figure within the association which desires to see all abductees returned and to obtain full knowledge about possible individuals who may have died. It is apparent that Noda understands the real urgency of this crisis because the years keep on ticking.

American left-behind parents and international children in Japan

Also, for foreign nationals who also want access to their children in Japan it is clear that Noda seeks the support of America to raise this issue to a higher level or to at least maintain real pressure on North Korea. Therefore, with Noda paving the way for President Obama to talk delicately about American children abducted to Japan – and, more importantly, with Noda and the Democratic Party of Japan being supportive of signing the Hague Convention with regards to children. Then mutual support by both America and Japan on both issues should help to resolve this complex problem between both nations.

Japan also must open into genuine dialogue with North Korea and the same applies to North Korea. It is not in the interest of both nations to maintain such negative relations and “maintaining a wall” will not help either side.

Also, Noda is correct because “It’s a race against time” for Japanese nationals who were kidnapped. This applies to complete details about possible individuals who may be alive or for complete information about individuals who have died. It is also “a race against time” for American and international left behind parents who have genuine rights to see their children in Japan, irrespective if the issue is Hague related or based on denied access within Japan.

Therefore, in the last few weeks Noda spoke sincerely with America about abducted American children and other areas related to non-access of left behind parents in Japan. He then followed this by focusing on the abduction of Japanese nationals to North Korea by stating that he would visit North Korea if it would help the cause of Japanese families.

During Noda’s visit to America it was reported that “Obama also praised Japan’s efforts to join the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.”

Prime Minister Noda commented that “We are preparing the domestic laws that will be needed to enter into the convention at the earliest possible date.”

It is abundantly clear that Japan and America spoke about this issue behind closed doors before it was made public and Japan was not negative towards this being stated openly. This applies to the reality that higher echelons, on the whole, within the Democratic Party of Japan, are favorable to legal reforms in order to solve this serious issue which is being raised by left-behind parents in Japan and outside of Japan.

This is a clear sign that you have a leader who is fully up-to-date about both serious issues and of course Noda is deeply concerned about the nuclear issue and other areas with North Korea.

Signs are promising even if the road is still bumpy and all interested parties need to work together in order to resolve many complex issues.

This can only be obtained providing that political leaders are open to change but at least Noda is making it clear that he is open to “real change.” It is essential that this momentum is built upon and that “anti-negative forces in all camps” are silenced so that serious discussions can take place. MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF JAPAN NORTH KOREAN NEWS


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JAPAN allows international child abduction

Japan Allows International Child Abduction


By Lee Jay Walker
Tokyo Correspondent  – THE SEOUL TIMES

Japan allows international child abduction.

In Japan the “kicking-boy” is always North Korea and one reason for this is the abduction issue which is raised all the time. Yet, in Japan, you have a much bigger abduction issue but this gets little media coverage and of course the nationalist tainted government does not want to dwell on this problem. Therefore, is the “wall of silence” based on racism, double-standards, or is it about Japanization and superiority?

Before focusing on Japan and this nation allowing international child abduction it is important to note that Japan desires to be a permanent member of the United Nations. However, the same Japan will not ratify the Hague Convention and despite ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is a mere gesture because many aspects of this convention have not been implemented.

In recent times, many nations have put pressure on Japan about the seriousness of child abduction and the need to amend the legal system in Japan. Some people, including myself, who is very cynical, believe that even if Japan signs the Hague Convention, it will not have the desired result. After all, it will look good politically and help in Japan’s bid to be a permanent member of the United Nations, however, the reality will be very different.

In Japan the family court does not have real enforcement powers and the police, even if provided with an address of an international child who was kidnapped, will do little. The “wall of silence” behind “false smiles” will just continue and Japanese courts will still have many ways to block real reforms. Or if the courts try to enforce these laws then the police and other authorities will do little.

Also, I know of one foreign parent who went to the immigration office in Tokyo (name withheld for safety reasons) because I went with him to give him moral support. He took evidence of bank statements which showed that he had been paying a sizeable amount each month to support his two children. Not only this, the ex-partner wrote a letter supporting him. Despite this, the immigration official just asked the same question, “Why are you in Japan” and then refused to give him a proper visa to stay and work in Japan.

At the same time, the same immigration officials were stamping visa’s for sex workers. You see, in Japan, failed mixed-marriages and the desire to stay near your child means little; but stamping visas for sex workers, well then the immigration system is much kinder and understanding. However, to see “a person broken” while this was happening at the same time was truly sickening.

The Children’s Rights Council of Japan was created by foreign victims of the Japanese legal system. Yet other nationals have been victims of two legal systems. For example the legal system of England and Wales does not care about deporting children with meaningless documents after sending their child or children to a non Hague Convention nation. Therefore, while this article is primarily focused on the failings of the Japanese legal system, it must be remembered that other legal systems are also failing children, parents, grandparents, and other family members who can no longer see “special people.”

However, the main difference between the United Kingdom and Japan, and all other G-7 nations, is that they have to abide by international legal documents, but Japan does not worry about this for this nation refuses to sign the Hague Convention. Therefore, the Children’s Rights Council of Japan faces an uphill struggle because they have been campaigning for a long time and despite this, they have had little reward for their “just cause.”

I am not being negative towards the Children’s Rights Council of Japan because if you check their website at it is clear that all members are committed and they are giving more than 100 percent. Also, this organization is tenacious but the cold reality of day is that children are being manipulated and brainwashed by the respective Japanese parent who is violating international law.

Also, with each passing month and year, we are seeing Japanization and cultural alienation. Therefore, the years keep on ticking and grandparents and parents of abducted children are dying or losing their health. The mental and physical strain is also enormous and “rays of sunshine” are few and far, but long periods of hopelessness and despair is common.

According to the Children’s Rights Council of Japan “there are 100 or more new cases of U.S. citizen children who are abducted to and/or retained in Japan.” If we look at this figure it is clear that Japan is an abducting nation when it comes to children and ignoring international law. Therefore, binding legal documents from all nations are blatantly ignored in Japan and it makes a mockery of Japan complaining about the North Korean issue.

If we add the 100 or more children from America each year and then apply this to other nations, it is clear that we are talking about the illegal abduction of thousands of children. However, while nations like America and the United Kingdom will openly condemn North Korea; the same nations are quiet when it applies to children who are American or British.

Therefore, why doesn’t the international community call for a United Nations motion against Japan? Also, why are nations like the United Kingdom sending children to Japan and other non-Hague nations during custody battles? After all, this is sanctioning child abduction by either blatant complacency or pure ignorance.

The Children’s Rights Council of Japan states the following. “Japan is the only G-7 industrialized country that is not a party to The Hague abduction convention, which is an important tool for those seeking the return of children abducted across international borders, or to exercise their rights of access to see them. Japanese law enforcement and social service agencies do not enforce custody orders, international arrest warrants, and extradition requests relating to international child abduction. Japan also indirectly supports international child abduction by not having a formal two-parent signature requirement for obtaining passports for minors.”

The following statement sums up Japan correctly. It is a nation which discriminates to the full and refugee or asylum figures is further evidence of the right-wing nature of the elites within Japanese society. However, for parents, grandparents, and family members, it is not about ideology or a clash of culture; it is about justice, pain and sorrow, abandonment by their own national governments, betrayal, frustration, and so much more.

Therefore, is Japan ashamed by being a nation which supports the abduction of thousands of international children of mixed blood? Apparently not, so “the road remains long and full of obstacles” for foreign nationals and sadly it is too late for many. I will say it once more; Japan is the main nation for international child abduction when it applies to developed international nations. Yet silence, racism, indifference, and other negative factors, are at the heart of this nation and until a binding resolution is made against Japan then little will change.



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