Archive for August, 2012
OSAKA — Aug. 30th, 2012
Police said Thursday that an assistant Osaka district court judge has been arrested for allegedly taking photos up a woman’s skirt while on a train.
According to police, the suspect, who has been named as 27-year-old Toshiki Hanai, is alleged to have taken the upskirt photos on a Keihan train at around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday between Neyagawashi and Kayashima stations. Hanai was reportedly squatting and taking photos with his cell phone when he was spotted by another male passenger who then restrained him until he was handed over to the authorities, Fuji TV reported.
During police questioning, Hanai was quoted as saying that he was interested to know what kind of underwear the woman was wearing. His cell phone had images taken up other women’s skirts, police said.
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Aug. 24, 2012 – AICHI —
Police on Thursday arrested a 39-year-old man for allegedly beating his 3-year-old daughter in a fit of anger after he lost while playing a video game on his TV at his home in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture.
According to police, the suspect, identified as Yukihiko Sakata, was at home with his daughter on the night of Aug 7. He told police he was absorbed in the video game and got so upset when he lost that he hit his daughter in the head with a plastic toy, Fuji TV reported. When Sakata’s wife came home from work, she noticed bruising around the girl’s left eye and took her to hospital. Hospital officials notified the police.
Police said the girl suffers from a congenital illness and that there were marks on her body indicating she may been abused before, Fuji reported.
AUG. 23, 2012 – TOKYO —
Police on Wednesday arrested a 39-year-old man for allegedly beating the 4-year-old son of his girlfriend at their apartment in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward.
According to police, the suspect, identified as Yoshiyuki Ishibashi, beat the child repeatedly between late May and early June, TBS reported. Police said the boy was hospitalized for about two weeks. Hospital officials notified police of the child’s injuries.
Ishibashi was quoted by police as saying the “child didn’t take to me and I was trying to discipline him.”
- Sidney Morning Herald
The Italian father embroiled in an international custody battle has left Australia after giving up hope he will win his legal fight to get his daughters back to Italy.
The father – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – flew out of Australia on Friday morning without telling any of his local supporters he was leaving. He contacted them from a stopover in Abu Dhabi to tell them he had “had enough”, and was on his way back to Italy.
The 35-year-old has been in Australia since May trying to engineer his daughters’ return to Italy. Born and raised there, the sisters, aged nine, 10, 13 and 15, were brought to Queensland by their Australian mother two years ago on the pretext of a holiday – and stayed.
Supporters said the “very emotional and angry” father made the snap decision to abandon his fight for custody after his daughters made it clear on Wednesday they would resist any court orders to return them to Italy for a custody hearing.
The Sun-Herald has been told the sisters said authorities would have to handcuff and drug them to get them on a plane to Italy and, once there, they would simply run away.
The sisters went into hiding in May when the Family Court first ruled they must go back to Italy so courts there could settle the custody dispute in accordance with Australia’s obligations as a signatory to the Hague Child Abduction Convention.
But the father despaired of this ever happening, after a Family Court judge agreed on Thursday to hear an appeal to dismiss his original order the girls be sent back to Italy. The application to discharge his ruling will be heard on September 27.
The judge also ordered the girls be interviewed again by an independent consultant to ensure their wishes were understood, noting their desire to remain in Australia could have intensified since his first order was made.
It is understood that the father has spent €120,000 ($142,000) on the custody fight and has been on unpaid leave from his job for months.
Although he declined to comment on why he decided suddenly to leave Australia, supporters said he had grown increasingly frustrated with the way his former wife had used the Australian legal process to evade the Italian courts.
The father has publicly accused the mother of playing “dirty tricks” to win custody.
A spokesman for the father said he could not continue to fight for the children under circumstances that constantly thrust them into situations that were not in their best interests emotionally or psychologically.
”He loves and cherishes his daughters and always will,” he said. ”He will never give up on them.”
The spokesman also said Australia had little respect for the Hague Convention and international child abduction laws.
The father said last month that he felt discriminated against because he was a man and not Australian.
While the custody case dragged through the courts, the girls have been living with their mother and attending school on the Sunshine Coast. Their father had been granted regular access pending the final decision on whether the family must return to Italy.
The girls hold dual Italian-Australian citizenship.
AUG. 20, 2012 – SAITAMA —
Police said Sunday that the body of a baby girl was found in a river in Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture.
According to police, a man fishing in the river noticed the body at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday and notified police, TV Asahi reported. The man told police that at first, he thought it was a doll floating.
Police said the baby was naked and appeared to be several months old. She had been dead for a couple of days, police said, according to TV Asahi. There were no external signs of injury on the body, they added.
Aug. 17, 2012 – 04:30PM MIE —
Police in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture, said Friday they have arrested a 45-year-old woman over the death of her 5-month-old son whom she left in her car for more than three hours while she played pachinko.
According to police, the suspect, identified as Takako Sato, left her baby son Ryosuke in the car in the parking lot outside the pachinko parlor for around three hours from 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Fuji TV reported. The car’s engine was not running and the windows were closed.
The local meteorological observatory said that the temperature outside at about 3 p.m. was 32.9 degrees, but inside the car, it would have been much higher. Ryosuke is believed to have died of heat stroke, police said.
Police said Sato will be charged with negligence resulting in death.
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By Cynthia Ruble / August 6, 2012 /
Several facts stood out to me from the recent report on the record-high number of child abuse cases in Japan in 2010. One was that in the previous three months, only seven petitions to temporarily suspend parental rights were presented to the court. And of those, only one was granted. Realize that these were not petitions to end parental rights, just to suspend them for up to two years.
It is extremely difficult to terminate parental rights against the will of the parents in Japan. For example, in 2007, out of 40,639 cases of child abuse handled by Child Welfare, staff members appealed to the family court for termination of parental rights in only four cases, and only one case was approved.1 This is the norm. As a college professor said ironically, “It is easier for judges to give someone the death penalty than for them to forcibly sever parental rights in Japan.”
Secondly, over 84% of the 51 children who died due to child abuse were age three or under; most were under age one. I have been watching a situation up close that almost contributed to this statistic. In 2010, a father, the boyfriend of someone I know, almost killed his son, who was about one year old at the time. That child remains in the child orphanage system almost a year later. The father’s rights have not been severed, nor has he been charged with a crime. The child is in limbo where he may remain until he is 18 years of age.2
Of course, there is no reason to work to sever the father’s rights if the goal of the government is just to keep the child safe in an orphanage . The primary reason that parental rights would need to be severed is so that the child could get adopted. Sadly, that is not the goal. And especially in cases where the child is still so young, how much more sense it would make to push as quickly as possible to a clear conclusion for the good of the child.
As it is, though the government doesn’t sever parental rights, the parents in abuse cases can be legally deprived of their child for long periods of time. The main right they retain is to keep the child from going to a loving family. By bringing the case to a clear conclusion as soon as possible, perhaps extended family members would step up and offer to become legal guardians. Or maybe mothers would get serious about leaving abusive husbands/boyfriends to keep their parental rights. The way things are, children are left waiting while the wheels of the system grind slowly and their childhood slips away.
I asked my professor friend why Japan prefers this approach. A gross oversimplification of what he said is that Japan had long been a theocracy with the Emperor as father/god, and the Japanese as children. Families were/are also considered small theocracies where the parents have the divine right to do whatever is necessary to keep the family under control. Thus, the system works in favor of the parents, and he said parental rights are very unlikely to be severed more often in the future.
Another way to understand this and other things in Japan is to recognize the value placed on form over substance. Keeping parental rights in tack and placing children in orphanages protects the form of the blood-line family. Cutting parental rights and adopting children to unrelated parents wrecks the form and makes the situation “abnormal.” The substance of family love and life-long support is not the main consideration.
An issue that often comes up when discussing orphanages and/or adoption here is the idea of taking responsibility. Parents must be made to take responsibility for their children at some level even if it hurts the children. I was not surprised to read that many of the 2010 abuse cases involved teenage mothers who didn’t know how to take care of their babies and had been ostracized by their local communities (Japan Today, 7/27/2012). Since these mothers didn’t do the responsible thing and get an abortion, they must be made to suffer the consequences. Probably no one around them suggested they choose adoption because that is considered “irresponsible.”
The truth is that unless Japan can wholeheartedly embrace adoption and foster care, there is nothing to do but continue placing abused children in the ever-expanding orphanage system where they are likely to be abused again. The unwillingness to cut parental rights is undergirded by the same thinking that leads to an aversion to adoption.
As I’ve written elsewhere, the government is beginning to promote adopting out newborns before they enter the system, so there is some hope. Of course, the women in those cases voluntarily give up their rights. That process began when a brave government worker started asking pregnant women in distress if they were interested in adoption.
I think the government should at least ask this same question to parents of young, abused children. Reluctant parents can be strongly encouraged by offers to drop criminal charges or reduce sentences, though bringing charges against abusive parents seems to be another weakness of the current system. It may be that especially young, single mothers of abused babies would quickly agree if only someone would ask and encourage them.
Stopping the abuse would, of course, be best, and I applaud the government’s call for more consultation services for at-risk pregnant women. But given the many adults who were themselves abused as children, the likelihood of a continued cycle of abuse is pretty high. I hope Japan will stop the cycle whenever possible by not only getting children away from abusive parents but by also getting them into loving families.
8-11-2012 Japan Today-Shizuoka
The body of a newborn baby boy was found on Thursday morning in the trash can in the women’s toilet at JR Yaizu Station in Yaizu, Shizuoka Prefecture.
According to police, a cleaning woman noticed a strange odor coming from the trash can at about 8 a.m., NTV reported. She notified the police who found the body of the newborn infant wrapped in a towel in the trash can.
Police said that the body was placed in the trash can sometime between 8 p.m. on Wednesday night, when the toilet was last cleaned, and early Thursday morning. Police are checking station surveillance camera footage to try and identify who brought the baby into the toilet.
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BOXER, LAUTENBERG, KERRY, LUGAR, INHOFE JOIN COLLEAGUES TO INTRODUCE RESOLUTION CONDEMNING INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION
Getting a moped license in Japan is not that hard. It is much easier than getting an auto license. The cost is reasonable and the process is straightforward, thanks to the Nagoya International Center. Need to get to work in a reasonable time. Don’t want to pay for parking. Don’t want to pay outrageous prices for gas. Don’t want to pay exorbitant insurance rates. Then a 50cc scooter is for you. You have to get at least a 90% on a written exam (which is given in English or Japanese) to obtain the scooter license. But the Nagoya International Center has study materials including old exams that will almost guarantee you will pass the 50 question (True/False) test. The test is mostly common sense but there are a few questions that require specific knowledge.
Read about the details on their website.
Police said Wednesday the remains of a newborn baby were found in a river in Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture.
According to police, a woman contacted emergency services after noticing what appeared to be a baby floating in the Shimotsuruma River at around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, TBS reported. Police arrived at the scene to discover the body of a newborn baby boy that had apparently been put into the river shortly after birth.
Police believe the body had been in the water for around a month. Investigators say they are currently interviewing local residents in an attempt to uncover further information about the mother, TBS reported.
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