TOKYO — May 12th, 2013 (Japan Today)
In a small ceremony at the Ukyo Ward Precinct of the Kyoto Prefectural Police recently, Chief Suzuki presented 13-year-old junior high student Ryoga Nomura with a certificate of appreciation for his bravery during a train ride home. Nomura was recognized for almost single-handedly leading police to the arrest of a drunken adult male for inappropriately touching the woman next to him.
The story, according to Nomura, began at around 5 p.m. on April 14. He was returning home from baseball practice on the Sanin rapid train from Kyoto to Nijo Station when he detected “booze stink.” Looking over at the seats across the aisle, he could see an intoxicated male in his 60s sitting next to a 29-year-old woman. The male was persistently touching the woman on her breasts and lower body. The male was sitting on the aisle seat resulting in the woman being pinned between him and the window. She sat silently pressed up against the glass while shaking her head “no” at him.
It wasn’t long before the young man spoke out very calmly and clearly telling the letch, “The lady doesn’t like that, so stop.” The male either too drunk to know better or playing it up so he could get away with it responded by saying things like, “She doesn’t hate it” and “I’m not a pervert.”
Soon after the train arrived at Nijo Station, Nomura chose to remain on the train and play this scenario out. Unshaken, but now a little pissed off because he missed his stop, Nomura went into action. “Everyone around listen up, if this guy flips out, just take him down,” said Nomura sternly yet calmly as he called out to the woman. He was then able to escort her over to where a group of high school girls were waiting, having heard the entire exchange. Rather than flipping out, the male pretended to sleep as if nothing had happened once the woman was out of the seat.
When the train arrived at Saga Arashiyama Station, Nomura immediately went to contact the conductor, who then called the police. Officers arrested the man for indecent assault. Nomura decided to call it a day and go home, but having ridden the train two stops past his destination, he had to buy another ticket (Nomura went past the ticket gates with the police officers, making sure the perpetrator was apprehended). Seeing the hero try to pay extra for his train ride, the cops told him not to worry about it and decided to give him a commendation.
During the presentation ceremony, Nomura said of his actions with a shy smile, “I’m glad, but I just did what’s normal to do in that situation.”Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
A statewide group working to reform family law is laying down roots in Central Georgia while making moves at the State Capitol. The group, called The Georgia Parental Alienation Awareness Organization secured a proclamation from Governor Nathan Deal on Thursday.
Parental alienation is an issue that’s just beginning to gain awareness according to members of the group. It’s when one parent gets custody of a child, and through negative comments and characterizations, the child begins to form unjustified hatred and a strong dislike for their mothers or fathers. Parental alienation can make a rejected parent’s access to their children difficult and sometimes even impossible.
“It makes me very sad, it makes me mad,” said Brenda McIntyre, a Centerville woman, who is leading the charge for parental alienation awareness in Central Georgia.
The only times McIntyre regularly sees her two kids is shuffling through old photos. The self-proclaimed victim of parental alienation says after her divorce eight years ago her ex-husband began funneling his dislike for her through the couples then 5-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter.
McIntyre says she was characterized as a lunatic. She was arrested twice. Once for trespassing as she tried to pick her children up from her ex-husbands home, and another time for making harassing phone calls, trying to contact her children. In both instances the charges were dropped because McIntyre says she was just exercising her custodial rights.
“It’s ridiculous,” McIntyre said.
Searching for support … McIntyre eventually became connected to the statewide group Georgia Parental Alienation Organization,
that traveled to Atlanta last week seeking a proclamation from Governor Nathan Deal to recognize parental alienation as a growing problem in the state.
Hilary Crowe, who spearheads the group out of Loganville says she asked the Governor to set aside one day as Parental Alienation Awareness Day. He gave her a week.
“By him signing the proclamation it’s that one giant leap we need to get local senators and local legislators attention,” Crowe said.
Crowe’s group hopes to create legislation giving parents equal rights in custodial matters, and they want people, specifically judges, to recognize that parental alienation is real, and it’s wrong.
“This will lead to other opportunities for parental alienation awareness in the state, and it’s a way to reach out to others in the state that may not know about parental alienation, or know that they’re experiencing it,” Crowe said.
Crowe says the group is quickly expanding as people realize they’re victims of parental alienation, but most members say the real victim’s are the children.
“You want them to have a healthy psychological disposition, and to do that you need both parents involved in their lives,” said Bill Moore, an advocate for family law reform who’s longstanding group has merged with the Georgia Parental Alienation Organization.
While the group is gaining momentum, McIntyre says she’s doing what she can. She’s created a Central Georgia chapter for parental alienation awareness, and plans to hold regular meetings.
If you or anybody you know is a victim of parental alienation and you want to make a difference, McIntyre’s says she wants to hear from you.
You can reach her at: (478) 333-6100 or firstname.lastname@example.org
She has also event planned for her chapter.
April 16: Mayor Harley presenting proclamation making April 25 Parental Alienation Awareness Day in Centerville
April 20: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Bubbles of Love event at Rozar Park in Perry
April 20: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Bubbles of Love event, FBC Centerville
April 25: first meeting of Middle Georgia Regional Chapter of Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (location to be determined).Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
KUMAMOTO–Controversial when it started five years ago, the Jikei Hospital’s “Akachan Post” (Baby box) remains a source for critics, despite its successful track record for allowing unwanted babies to get new homes.
The hospital in Kumamoto Prefecture opened the Akachan Post on May 10, 2007, in which parents can anonymously place their babies they cannot raise by themselves.
A total of 81 babies were placed into the box, named “Konotori no Yurikago” (Stork’s cradle), by September 2011.
Of these, 37 are currently living with new families as adopted children or under the care of foster patents, while 27 others have been placed in child-care facilities. The remaining 17 are being raised by their real parents or others, according to the Kumamoto city government.
The service remains a source of debate. Critics say that it deprives children of the chance to know who their real parents are. They also wonder if it is an appropriate route for unwanted babies to be sent through, and for society as a whole to allow it.
However, the hospital said it will continue to allow parents to put their babies in the box anonymously.
“The right to know who their real parents are is important,” said Yukiko Tajiri, head of the nurses’ section of the hospital.
“But there are babies who may have been abandoned and died unless their parents can put them in the box anonymously. “Anonymity is necessary to save the babies. Though it looks like the parents easily put their babies in the box, they are also tormented by having to do so.”
In one success story, in the house of a married couple in their late 30s, a 2-year-old boy is actively walking around. His favorite television show is a children’s program in which the good guys fight and defeat the bad guys. Imitating the good guys, he holds a stick and wields it like a sword. The couple is watching him happily.
The boy was put in the Akachan Post soon after he was born. When he was around 11 months old, the couple adopted him.
The mother had experienced recurrent miscarriages. Wanting a child desperately, they knew that an adoption agency was looking for a couple to adopt the boy. They applied to the organization for his adoption.
When the couple met the baby for the first time at a home for infants, they were told that he had been placed in the Akachan Post. At that time, they also knew that his real parents were facing circumstances in which they could not raise him themselves.
Though the couple was surprised to hear that, they decided to adopt him after visiting him for a month, thinking that the baby was not responsible for such circumstances.
In their house, the couple slept with him for the first time and responded to the baby’s repeated cries at night. They also took the boy on trips. Through those experiences, the Akachan Post baby became a loving son for them.
Imagining the difficulties of his real mother who had placed the baby in the Akachan Post immediately after he was born, the couple still feels pity.
“Thank you for sparing the life of this child,” the wife said she wants to tell her. “We will accept the job of offering to this boy the affection you should have offered.”
The couple is now praying that his real mother will recover and become happy.
The couple thinks that in the future, they should tell their son that they are not his real parents, although they feel anxious about doing so. However, they are going to tell him that the Akachan Post was set up to save the lives of babies, and that his real mother put him in the box to save his life.
The couple says that the Akachan Post is necessary in today’s society and hopes that it can be an accepted alternative for unwanted children.
Since the Akachan Post was set up five years ago, however, there has been criticism that putting babies in the box anonymously is depriving the babies of their right to know who their real parents are.
The parents of 67 of the 81 babies have been found. Those of the remaining 14 babies have yet to be located.
A former staff member of a child counseling center, who had been working for the protection of babies put in the box for several years, searched for their parents to make it possible for them to know who their real parents are.
“I wanted to look for them by any means,” the former staff member said.
According to reports revealed in a meeting of a Kumamoto city government’s committee specializing in the issue, some of the real parents put their babies in the box for selfish reasons, such as jobs or going abroad to study.
“Some parents come to the box because they can abandon their babies anonymously. We can say that the babies were separated from their parents because there is the Akachan Post,” the former staff member said. “We also have to pay attention to the fact that about 10 percent of the babies placed in the box are children with disabilities.”
Jikei Hospital is asking parents to consult its staff before putting their babies in the box. It is making the request to avoid a situation in which the parents of the babies are not known. The hospital is also putting in the unmanned box a letter asking parents to give their names to its staff.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
By DANIEL KRIEGER
Special to The Japan Times
A group of dads and their small kids gathered around for a step-by-step demonstration of how to make perfect French toast. Then they got busy cracking eggs and beating them, cutting the bread into small squares that they dipped in the egg and then dropped into a hot skillet to watch sizzle as a buttery scent wafted through the room. Finally, they sliced up some banana and strawberry and topped the whole thing off with whipped cream. Voila!
“In ‘Kramer versus Kramer,’ (a film about a man who is suddenly thrust into single fatherhood) Dustin Hoffman can’t make French toast,” said Tomoyuki Katayama, the event’s organizer. “But then he learns how and does it beautifully at the end.”
That little anecdote sheds light on the events that led 41-year-old Katayama to the Gender Equality Center in Nishinomiya city in Hyogo Prefecture on a Saturday morning in mid-January. He was there to help local dads bond with their kids over French toast, to give a talk on the state of single fatherhood in Japan and offer his thoughts on the way forward, as he recently had in a bunch of other cities.
Since late 2009, when he founded Single Father Japan, a Niigata-based NPO that advocates the interests of single fathers, Katayama has been raising awareness of low-income single dads and petitioning the government to get them the same benefits as single mothers. The plight of such men is quite a twist in a patriarchal culture where the short end of the stick is typically reserved for women. But with an increase in divorce and rising female independence, the number of single fathers in Japan rose from roughly 166,000 in 2005 to 204,000 in 2010, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
Over a bento (packed lunch) before his lecture, Katayama, who grew up in Niigata Prefecture, shared his story. He confessed that when he got married in 1993 he never imagined he would become a single parent, much less that he would spearhead a movement to fight for single fathers’ equal rights.
When his marriage officially ended in 2005, he gained custody of his two kids — a 10-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl. At the time, he said he had little sympathy for struggling single dads because, like many people in Japan, he thought it a man’s duty to support his family on his own.
Over the next few years, he was active in an online community of single parents where he dispensed legal advice about divorce. One day in 2008, a man contacted him for guidance. He said he was unable to juggle child-rearing and his demanding job, so he quit. But he couldn’t find another job because prospective employers didn’t think a single dad with a toddler was a safe bet. When he contacted Katayama, he had used up his savings and was getting evicted from his apartment.
His dilemma: Should he kill only himself? Or would it make more sense to take his child along with him?
Katayama stayed up all night on the phone talking him out of suicide and explaining how to get help. He was outraged that this man had not been given a break and felt that not only were the unsympathetic companies to blame but also that society itself had let him down.
“That was the trigger,” he said. “It made me realize that we need support for single fathers in Japan.”
The following year, through Fathering Japan, an organization he had joined, Katayama got involved in a new charity — the French Toast Fund, which provided money for needy single fathers. Then, after the 2009 election, Katayama decided the only way to bring about legislative change was to give the government a big push. To strengthen their voices, he brought together various regional groups that support single fathers to form a unified nationwide organization — Single Father Japan.
The organization’s first order of business was to get financially strapped single dads child-care allowance, something that single moms were entitled to, but fathers were not. Once Single Father Japan had aroused media interest in the cause, the government took notice and it passed a bill granting allowances to men, which went into effect in August 2010. After six months, 59,000 single-father families were receiving it.
The next battle was to fight for bereavement benefits for fathers who have lost their wives, which with the increase of widowers after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami has become a heightened concern. The bill is currently winding its way through the legislature.
Katayama said he is driven by the desire to remove the stigma from single fatherhood in Japan, to level the playing field for single dads of today and to make sure the next generation won’t have it as hard as his did.
“What we really need,” he said, “is a safety net that stops single fathers from falling into a bottomless pit.”
For more information on support for single fathers in Japan, visit: Single Father Japan at zenfushiren.jp and Fathering in Japan at http://www.fathering.jp. (both websites are in Japanese only).
Prime Minister NODA’s KEYWORDS November 18 (Friday) 14:50
October 31, 2011, in response to a question from Representative Yuko Obuchi during the Plenary Session of the House of Representatives
“Measures to address the declining birthrate are a pressing matter of importance, in light of the arrival of a society whose decline in population is underway in earnest. For that reason, we must stand by the principle of ‘children first’ and strengthen our support for the child-raising generation both nationally and regionally in order to enhance social security more fully during the first half of people’s lives.”
Interactions between fathers and children are the starting point of education
October 14, 2011, during a visit to facilities providing child-rearing assistance
“There is a theory that the Japanese character used in the first half of the word ‘education’ kyouiku derives from first writing the character for ‘father’ and then the character for ‘child’ below it, and then the character for ‘interact’ alongside it to the right. Interactions between fathers and children are the starting point of education.”
A country that devotes attention to its children
October 14, 2011, during a visit to facilities providing child-rearing assistance
“Meiji-era Japan was viewed by other countries as a country in which parents doted greatly on their children. Consequently, I consider it important for us to promote the principle of ‘children first.’”
Children’s smiling faces also bring smiles to the faces of their mothers and fathers
October 14, 2011, during a visit to facilities providing child-rearing assistance
“I have been moved by children’s smiling faces beyond the extent of this visit. When children are smiling, their smiles spread to their mothers and fathers as well. Thus, a society of ‘children first’ is a society that nurtures smiling faces in everyone.”
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Below is my detailed schedule of my bike ride from Kumamoto to Tokyo. I will be starting on the 13th of September in Kumamoto. I will hopefully end my ride on the 18th of October. I attended an Oyakonet Kansai meeting on Sunday and some people have already volunteered (through mixi) to let me stay at their residence. I have a place to stay in Fukuoka, Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, Shiga (Hikone), Nagoya, Okazaki, Yokohama, and Tokyo. Some will even accompany me to the prefectural offices. A big thanks to all those who intend to help me along the way. Everyone will be able to follow me on my trip in a few different ways. I will make posts to this blog, children first facebook page, and joint custody facebook page. In large part, my trip is to raise awareness about the need to change Japanese Family Law. More specifically, children need both parents in their life to be happy. Currently, every 3 seconds a child loses contact with one parent after divorce. Every year 100′s of thousands of children lose half of their family. Japan is way behind the rest of the civilized world in terms of international norms. My hope is to garner media attention and support from governor’s of Japan. I would like Japan to finally take the steps needed to make it a better place for children.
Children First was one of many charities at the walkathon at Morikoro Park on May 22nd. Children First was selling shirts, magnets, coffee cups, buttons, and they also sold a wide variety of food. Many families attended. Children First was handing out free balloons with the help of kids from the Nagoya International School. The balloons were a big hit with the kids. The weather was good most of the day. Many left behind parents came to help with the event. All of the proceeds went to charity. We did not sell as much as we hoped to but it was an overall good experience. Next year we will be better prepared and more organized. To see some pictures of this event please visit the Children First Facebook Page. childrenfirstfacebook Children first is dedicated to protecting the rights of children. To learn more about Children First please visit our website www.childrenfirst.jpRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
For those of you living in Japan, tickets to the Nagoya Walkathon can be purchased from Children First or from any of the other sponsors of this event. The great thing about this event is that all of your donations go to charities or Tohoku tsunami & earthquake victims. If you buy a Gold Ticket you have a chance to win a big screen TV or a new car. Even if you don’t win one of the big prizes all of your money will go to a great cause. Please show your support by purchasing a ticket. You can go to the following website to buy tickets: nagoyawalkathon.com/tickets?lang=en.
| – Entry to the Walk
– Free Walkathon T-shirt
– Music & Entertainment!
– Entry into general raffle draw
|Golden Raffle Ticket
| – Entry to the Walk
– Free Walkathon T-shirt
– Music & Entertainment!
– Entry into Golden ticket raffle draw (You have a chance to win a big screen TV or a new car)
– PLUS entry into General raffle draw*Golden Raffle Ticket holders may claim a General ticket at registration to gain entry into the general raffle draw.
*Limited number of T-shirts available. Come early!
**Adult & student ticket proceeds will be donated to local charities.
***Golden ticket proceeds will be donated to the Tohoku relief fund.
Children First Pledge
To all children,
To always show you compassion,
To ensure your basic physical and psychological needs,
To shelter you from violence,
To defend your rights, and
To be a positive role model.
In short, I pledge that the happiness and welfare of all children will be my top priority.
A Former Child.
To learn more please visit childrenfirst.jp or check out the children first facebook page.
Sunday, May 22, 2011 at Moricoro Park (Nagoya)
2011 brings the ACCJ/ NIS Walkathon and International Charity Festival into its 20th year. Over the past years this event has been a huge success and has become the largest annual international event in Nagoya and Chubu area. And with the 20th Anniversary, we are taking it to a new location at the 2005 Expo Aichi Commemorative Park or Moricoro Park as it is now known.
This annual event brings together well over two thousand members of the International and Japanese communities to support the vital work being conducted by local NPOs and charitable organizations.
The Walkathon has also been successful in raising money for local charities and last year the Walkathon Committee was able to distribute over 7 million yen to 27 charities, which support children and those in need in the Chubu Area. This year we hope to improve on that success.
This year will see the event held at MoricoroPark for the firsttime and our goal is to raise well over 8million yen. This will get us back on track to the level of funds raised before the economic downturn 2 years ago and we need everyone’s help in reaching this goal, whether you are participating as an individual or as part of an association or company.
The Walkathon should prove to be a fun and memorable event and a super opportunity for international exchange between members of the Japanese and International communities. So invite your friends and family and join in the fun.
Children First will be one of the many groups (NPO’s) at this charity festival. Please come and support Children First or one of the many other charities. All of the money goes to helping children. For more information (sponsors, charity recipients, access, purpose, etc.) about the event please visit the website below.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
A Tokyo-based nonprofit organization has set up a new foundation for children at orphanages nationwide, inspired by a recent spate of anonymous donations to child welfare offices under the names of the legendary Tiger Mask manga character.
The NPO, “Fathering Japan,” which supports men raising children, established the “Tiger Mask Foundation” on March 1 to raise individual and group donations and provide the benefits to orphanages as well as support groups across the country as needed.
“Not to miss this opportunity, we want to make a broad appeal for donations and keep the (Tiger Mask) movement going,” said Fathering Japan Chief Representative Tetsuya Ando.
The organization also obtained permission to make a logo featuring Naoto Date — the main character of the Tiger Mask manga series — from the families of the late Ikki Kajiwara and Naoki Tsuji, the work’s author and illustrator, respectively.
“Thanks to the Tiger Mask movement, I have come to want to do something for our society,” Kajiwara’s wife Atsuko Takamori, who serves as a member of the foundation’s steering committee, told a press conference on March 1. “I believe the foundation lives up to my husband’s will.”
According to Hiroshi Nakata, chairman of the National Council of Homes for Children, the orphanage support foundation is probably the first of its kind to operate on a national scale in Japan.
If requested, the foundation will also assist former orphanage children in living independently.
To make donations, send funds to:
Account name: “Tiger Mask Kikin” (Tiger Mask Foundation)
Account No.: 0135667
The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Sendagi Branch
For inquiries, call the Tiger Mask Foundation at 080-6810-5215.
(Mainichi Japan) March 1, 2011
As public perceptions of traditional gender roles shift, more Japanese men are willing to take on homemaking. Some opinion polls show most males in their 20s and 30s have no negative notions of men serving as househusbands.
|Mr. Mom: Masashi Nihei, a 30-year-old stay-at-home husband in Kanagawa Prefecture, entertains his baby son at their home in January. KYODO PHOTO|
Working around the house instead of holding down a career has increasingly become an option since more wives are staying in the workforce. Meanwhile, more men are trying to start their lives anew at home after burning out on excessively demanding jobs.
Takatoshi Miyauchi, 31, gets up every morning at 5 to scrub the floors of his Tokyo house. He then turns on the bread maker and begins preparing breakfast. After his family finishes eating, he heads out at around 8, taking his 2- and 3-year-old daughters to day care.
He does the laundry and cleans the home before returning to the day care center to pick up his kids. Then dinnertime comes, after which he tucks in the children at 9 in the evening. Exhausted, he often falls asleep together with them.
Miyauchi says the day passes quickly, what with all the household chores keeping him busy.
When they got married, he and his wife had planned to raise children while keeping their double-income lifestyle. But Miyauchi fell ill from overwork, and strained relationships at his workplace added to his stress. He quit and devoted himself to homemaking.
He thought he would be a stay-at-home dad only for a while, but a second child came along, making it difficult to juggle the job search and parenting. He decided about a year and a half ago to remain a homemaker.
His wife, who works in the research and development department at a medical equipment firm, is the family’s sole breadwinner.
Miyauchi had mixed feelings about becoming a househusband. He thought of himself as a failure and didn’t tell others about his life decision. But he got over it when his acquaintances barely batted an eye when he told them he had decided not to seek a new job.
|Takatoshi Miyauchi, 31, also a stay-at-home dad, prepares a meal last month while looking after his younger daughter in Tokyo. KYODO PHOTO|
Miyauchi compares his role with that of a company’s general administration department, handling all manner of tasks to support the work of the entire firm.
“I used to underestimate housework, thinking it was easy, but now I’ve realized it requires a serious commitment,” he says.
Now feeling more comfortable with himself, he runs a blog titled “Katarue,” chronicling his day-to-day activities in comic strips in hopes of networking with people in similar situations.
Masashi Nihei, a 30-year-old resident of Kanagawa Prefecture, decided to become a stay-at-home dad last September and says he has no second thoughts.
Nihei had a busy career as a computer programmer, often giving up weekends to work. But after a child was born, he became a househusband because he excels at homemaking. His wife, who holds a higher-paying job, continues to work.
“I’m happier now because I used to work all the time,” he says. “I can keep a close watch as my baby starts to teethe and learns to toss and turn in bed. I also feel great because my child is more attached to me than to my wife.”
According to welfare ministry data, the number of men financially supported by their spouses has been rising steadily in recent years. It reached 110,037 as of March 31 last year, up from 98,510 three years earlier. There was a particularly sharp increase of 6,490 in the fiscal year through March 2010.
A survey in 2009 of some 1,100 young men conducted by a Tokyo matchmaking service, O-net Inc., found that 62 percent of the respondents in their 20s and 69 percent of those in their 30s think there is nothing problematic about a man becoming a homemaker.
The rise in women’s earning power could be one factor. The average disposable income of single women aged 29 or younger exceeded that of their male counterparts for the first time in 2009, according to the internal affairs ministry.
Masahiro Yamada, a sociologist at Chuo University, points out that many women also want to become homemakers because of generally harsh working conditions. Regular company employees are often worn to a frazzle by long hours, while nonregular workers worry about their future due to the lack of job security.
“It’s good that the public attitude (toward a man becoming a househusband) has changed, but it is hard to make ends meet on a single income, so few can afford to become full-time homemakers,” Yamada said.
According to the Japan Times, pediatricians and other members of a nonprofit group are preparing to open a retreat facility in Oiso, Kanagawa Prefecture, next year for children with serious illnesses or disabilities.
Relatives taking care of children suffering from serious diseases at home can’t take a break because there are no such facilities in Japan where they can temporarily leave their children, she said.
Minoru Mizusawa, 44, said: “Families with sick children tend to stay home a lot. I hope there will be more facilities like this.”
Unlike conventional hospices that accept terminal-stage patients, it will accommodate children with illnesses of varying degrees.
Once the facility opens the organizers are planning to provide stays of around one week during which nurses will be always on hand to help.
To read the full story click on the link: retreat facility for disabledRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Craig Morrey told me a great story about a 5th Grader making a difference. The following is what Craig said:
When raising my severely disabled son alone while fighting in a dysfunctional court system to defend my daughter’s rights to be with her father and brother seems overwhelming, I remind myself of Einstein’s quote- “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity”.
Focusing on the opportunity my family was given, I chose to publicly share our story to raise awareness of the critical need to reform Japanese Family Courts. I was exceptionally pleased, not to mention quite surprised, when Leena Balanag contacted me after her teacher shared our Metropolis story with her class.
Leena, a 5th grade student at Tokyo’s K’s International School, chose custody laws as the topic of her final school project with a special emphasis on my children Spencer and Amelia. With her mother Joyce’s help, she interviewed numerous experts, although she was disappointed to find the Foreign Ministry’s Division for Issues Related to Child Custody completely uncooperative.
On May 8th, Leena and her mother traveled to Okazaki to meet her final interviewees- Spencer and me. She proved to have a firm grasp of the subject, an inquiring mind, and a sincere desire to see changes in the system and to help Spencer- qualities that belie her age. More importantly, we all became fast friends.
After returning to Tokyo, Leena started a blog to discuss her findings/ custody issues (http://www.letsbefriendscampaign.blogspot.com/), presented her project at the school exhibition and started working on a children’s petition to ask why Japanese law takes away one parent after divorce. Leena is an excellent advocate for children. Spencer and I are honored to work with Leena to continue building momentum to bring about positive changes. Please visit her blog for updates on her petition and to learn how you can help.
To learn how to help please follow the link www.foreveryourfather.comRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Gakkyusha Co, an operator of cram school networks in Japan and overseas, said Thursday it will donate knapsacks worth a total of 5 million yen to children at welfare facilities, becoming one of the first companies to join hundreds of anonymous individuals in the country in making donations for underprivileged children.
About 300 cases of donations in cash, stationary, knapsacks and other items have been delivered to nationwide children’s welfare facilities under the names of heroes like Date Naoto, the main character in the 1960s comic series Tiger Mask.
To read the full story in Japan Today, click on the link.
More anonymous donations for kids
A bit of good news the other day. An anonymous donor left several backpacks for children at a welfare facility. I’d like to see more of this kind of story. It is a positive and uplifting story with good intentions. Follow the link to read the entire article. http://http://japantoday.com/category/national/view/anonymous-donor-leaves-school-knapsacks-at-childrens-facilityRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )