Summary of the Prefectural Offices I visited

Posted on December 26, 2011. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Japanese Family Law | Tags: , , , |

From September to December I visited 41 prefectural offices. In general all most all prefectures did their best to accommodate my needs. Since my Japanese ability is not very good, I would first go to the International Affairs Division and ask for translation help. Then someone from International Affairs would accompany me to the Child Welfare Department or in some cases Child Welfare would come to the International Affairs Division. Ibaraki-ken was the most friendly prefectural office I visited. The people in the International Affairs Department and the Child Welfare Department were both great. Mie-ken was the most unfriendly prefectural office. They turned me away and told me to make an appointment if I decided to come back. They were the only prefecture that turned me away. Other unfriendly prefectures included Saitama, Oita, and Fukuoka. Some of the better prefectures were Iwate, Yamanashi, and Ibaraki, with the remaining prefectures falling in the middle. Sometimes I met with as many as 4 members from Child Welfare. Many times the people I met with would take notes as I spoke. All most every prefecture said they would share the information I gave them with others in their department. They all said they would have a meeting to discuss what they could do for me (for children who can’t meet one of their parents). But they said it was difficult for them to do anything significant. Of course I said they were limited in what they could do but I also suggested some simple things they could do, such as ask the governor to send a request to the Diet in Tokyo requesting Japan adopt “Joint Custody”. Japan is the only G-7 country that does not have some form of joint custody. I met some good people along the way. Left behind parents supported me in Fukuoka, Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, Gifu, Shiga, Aichi, Yokohama, Tokyo, and Nagano. I am grateful of their help and generosity. I was definitely able to raise awareness at the prefectural level but the general public still is largely unaware of this problem. More work needs to be done. I told all of the prefectural offices that the family court was the problem. The ruling the family courts make go against the message contained in the DVD Supreme Court video and the UNCRC. The family courts do nothing to ensure children have contact with both parents. The government encourages fathers to take a more active role in child rearing and has established policies for workers to take more time off when their kids are born. But the family courts/government seem to ignore this fact when couples divorce. After divorce one parent somehow becomes unimportant. Ten’s of thousands of loving parents, maybe more, are being denied access to one parent. You can make a difference by getting involved. Oyakonet and K-net are 2 of the biggest LBP groups in Japan. There are many other smaller groups too, most of whom support each other and work toward the same goal “spending more time with their children”. Contact Children First if you are interested in helping out.

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3 Responses to “Summary of the Prefectural Offices I visited”

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And may I know the outcome of all your efforts

How do you measure success? No laws have changed. Visitation for left behind parents has not increased. Judges are still making rulings that separate parents and children. If you look at things in terms of change then my efforts have changed nothing. My goal was to raise awareness about the problems related to joint custody and children of divorce as well as children that have been abused. My story (Japanese) was in the Kobe, Nagoya, Nagano, and Mie area papers. My story (English) was also in the Japan Times. Over 150 people in the prefectural offices have heard my story and are now aware or more aware of the issue. I was on NHK and some of my friends have been on ABC and TBS. Definitely, more people are aware of this issue than they were one year ago. But a lot of work still needs to be done. More people need to write their diet members, contact their city halls, write to people of influence including the media and local politicians. If more Japanese people would complain then change would happen more quickly.

Thank you Kevin for your reply and for your ever efforts and advocacy on these issues…I promise that if ever my own issues get resolved or not at all, I still will be active in voicing out whatever that has to be in the open.
me and my husband and my son are just to embark on a long struggle on our grandchild and his daughter as to our riights. We ae just on our first step expecting nothing from the family court and being prepared for slow actions from officials concerned.
Thanks to you that you have given me awareness and I am inspired. If I had known you last year and had this problem I would have cycled with you all the way…but who knows, maybe it’s not yet too late, right?
Who m kws, maybe my son can be of help as well as he’s Japanese and hopefully with time and the right finances he tok can be start awareness if he doesn’t give up, like you, I won’t give up though.
When I get to know the details and the conclusion to all these, I already had in my thoughts on going public by media, etc..

I wish you well and hold on tight to this ever changing journey!

God bless,
Mari Fujisawa

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