Archive for June 21st, 2011

H.R. 3240 International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2009

Posted on June 21, 2011. Filed under: Child Abduction, Child Custody and Visitation, Hague Convention | Tags: , , , , , , , |

H.R. 3240 International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2009, if passed will impose economic and security sanctions on non-compliant countries. To read the report click  HR 3240 then download the PDF.

The purposes of this Act are to:

(1) protect United States children from the harmful effects of international child abduction and to protect the right of children to exercise parental access with their parents in a safe and predictable way, wherever located;

(2) provide parents, their advocates, and judges the information they need to enhance the resolution of family disputes through established legal procedures, the tools for assessing the risk of wrongful removal and retention of children, and the practical means for overcoming obstacles to recovering abducted children;

(3) establish effective mechanisms to provide assistance to and aggressive advocacy on behalf of parents whose children have been abducted from the United States to a foreign country, from a foreign country to the United States, and on behalf of military parents stationed abroad;

(4) promote an international consensus that the best interests of children are of paramount importance in matters relating to their custody, and that it is in the best interest of a child to have issues of custody determined in the State of their habitual residence immediately prior to the abduction;

(5) provide the necessary training for military officials and training and assistance to military families to address the unique circumstances of the resolution of child custody disputes which occur abroad, or occur when a parent is serving abroad;

(6) facilitate the creation and effective implementation of international mechanisms, particularly the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, to protect children from the harmful effects of their wrongful removal and retention; and

(7) facilitate the compliance of the United States with reciprocal obligations contained in the Hague Convention regarding children wrongfully removed to or retained in the United States.

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Support network backs Japanese-Filipino kids abandoned by fathers

Posted on June 21, 2011. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Japanese Family Law | Tags: , , , , , |

Japan Times By ASHLEY THOMPSON

We regularly receive emails from Japanese-Filipinos searching for their Japanese fathers. Many of these adults were abandoned as children, along with their Filipino mothers, while others were forced to leave Japan for various reasons.

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Though the circumstances are different for each family, many of these children (and mothers) lack the support of the father (financial or otherwise). So, in answer to these inquiries, the following nonprofit organizations may be of help:

The Citizens’ Network for Japanese-Filipino Children primarily offers support to abandoned Japanese-Filipino children (JFC). Their services include locating fathers within Japan and providing legal assistance, in cooperation with the JFC Lawyers Association, with issues such as paternal financial support and acquisition of Japanese nationality.

JFCNet also holds regular seminars and provides informative publications.

In the Philippines, JFCNet offers services for JFC and their mothers at the Maligaya House including a scholarship program for children, legal and psychological counseling, Japanese language classes and workshops, a research and publication program, and an advocacy and networking program.

An important point to note, says JFCNet, is that JFC born out of wedlock can acquire Japanese nationality if their Japanese father legally recognizes them before their 20th birthday, even if the JFC resides outside Japan.

For more information or to receive help from the Citizens’ Network for Japanese-Filipino Children, please visit or contact them in Japan at: JFCNet Tokyo Office, Nishishinjuku High-Home 206, Nishishinjuku 4-16-2, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo 160-0023. Email: jfcnet@jca.apc.org. Telephone/fax: (050) 3328-0143.

In the Philippines: Maligaya House, 18-A Cabezas Street, Project 4, Quezon City, Metro Manila, 1109 Philippines. Email: maligayahouse@gmail.com. Telephone/fax: (+63) (2) 913-8913.

JFCNet services are offered in Tagalog, English and Japanese.

The Center for Japanese-Filipino Families (CJFF) is a sister organization of JFCNet, supported by the United Church of Christ in Japan, United Church of Canada and the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity, or EMS, of Germany.

They offer a variety of services, which include: temporary housing; school and employment opportunities for JFC who travel to Japan to locate their fathers; counseling services; cultural activities; psychological support and related services, particularly for those unable to locate their fathers; regular workshops for JFC; and a youth development program.

For more information about CJFF, you can find their website at youthjapan.net/cjff.html.

Or, contact CJFF at: CJFF, Room 32, Japan Christian Center, 2-3-18 Nishi Waseda, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo 151-0069. Email: cjffinfo@gmail.com.

The Development Action for Women Network (DAWN) is “a nongovernment development organization created on February 6, 1996, to assist Filipino women migrants in Japan and their Japanese-Filipino children (JFC) in the promotion and protection of their human rights and welfare.”

Similar to the organizations mentioned above, DAWN provides a wide range of services for JFC and their mothers, including counseling, travel assistance to and from Japan in necessary cases, temporary shelter, health care assistance, educational support and legal help.

DAWN also works to provide other community services and opportunities to rehabilitate women and their children. Their website is at www.dawnphil.org

You can also visit or contact DAWN at: DAWN-Philippines, Room 514, Don Santiago Building, 1344 Taft Avenue, Ermita, Manila, Philippines 1000. Telephone: (+63) (2) 526-9098. Fax: (632) 526-9101. Email: dawnphil@i-next.net.

For DAWN-Japan, email dawnjapan@hotmail.com

The Batis Center for Women, located in the Philippines, also assists women and their Japanese-Filipino children. Most of the cases they handle involve “returned women migrant workers from Japan with young children who have been abandoned or are separated from their Japanese husbands or partners.”

The Batis Center primarily works to rehabilitate women and children after they’ve returned from Japan, and their services cover counseling, education, financial assistance, advocacy, legal assistance, and health and medical support, among others.

Additionally, they partner with Batis-YOGHI, a youth organization devoted to providing ongoing support to JFC.

To contact The Batis Center, email batis@pacific.net.ph or call (+63) (2) 925-7843. You can contact Batis-YOGHI via the same email and phone number — ask for Lala Javier.

The Batis Center also has a regularly updated Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Batis-Center-for-Women/136570526371270.

If you know of any other organizations or services, especially any located in Japan, that provide support of any kind to Japanese-Filipino children, please email us.

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Volunteer firefighters need care / Experts will treat PTSD, survivor’s guilt

Posted on June 21, 2011. Filed under: mental health | Tags: , , , , |

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The government will dispatch mental health experts to the three prefectures worst hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami to provide counseling for voluntary firefighters who may have been traumatized when they responded to the disaster.

In the face of imminent tsunami, many volunteers did such dangerous work as trying to manually close floodgates and leading people to safety.

Previously, mental health counseling had been provided only to professional firefighters, but the Fire and Disaster Management Agency of the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry has decided to offer counseling to volunteers, too.

The experts will counsel the members of the local volunteer firefighting associations in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures for such problems as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In the three prefectures, a total of 249 voluntary firefighters died or went missing in the disaster.

Volunteer firefighters usually are ordinary citizens who help extinguish fires and provide logistical support to their local fire departments. They also participate in local disaster management activities.

They are regarded as part-time special local public servants.

In the event of a large-scale disaster, volunteer firefighters work to limit disaster damage by, for example, evacuating residents and closing floodgates.

According to the agency, as of April 2010, municipal governments across the nation had 2,275 teams of local volunteer firefighters with a total membership of about 883,000.

The agency will dispatch psychiatrists and clinical psychotherapists belonging to its mental health support team for emergencies, which was established in 2003.

The team has dispatched experts 30 times for serious accidents and disasters, including the train derailment on JR West’s Fukuchiyama Line in 2005.

In the three disaster-hit prefectures, there are about 80,000 local volunteer firefighters in total. In Iwate Prefecture, 116 volunteer firefighters died or went missing, the highest number among the three prefectures.

In Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, a total of 27 professional firefighters died or went missing. Thirty police officers belonging to the prefectural police forces were killed or went missing.

In Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate Prefecture, 50 volunteer firefighters died while trying to evacuate residents after a tsunami warning was issued.

In the prefecture’s Iwaizumicho, four volunteer firefighters narrowly survived when they stayed on a flood barrier until just before the tsunami struck, trying to manually close a floodgate that would not close mechanically.

Since the disaster, local volunteer fighters have shown symptoms of what is known as critical incident stress.

And some are reportedly suffering from survivor’s guilt after other volunteers died in the disaster. Others are said to feel they can no longer work as volunteer firefighters due to strong fears of tsunami.

The agency feared that unless the volunteers receive counseling, they may develop PTSD.

The experts will inquire about such things as sleeping problems, and introduce the volunteers to medical institutions specializing in their problems if necessary.

An official of the agency’s Disaster Management Division said: “This disaster is unprecedented in terms of the large number of local volunteer firefighters affected.

“It [counseling] is necessary because they were exposed to so much danger.”

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