Archive for August, 2012

Osaka assistant judge arrested for taking upskirt photos on train

Posted on August 31, 2012. Filed under: other | Tags: , , , |

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.

Japan Today

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Man arrested for beating 3-year-old daughter after he loses at video game

Posted on August 24, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , , |

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.

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Man held for beating girlfriend’s 4-year-old son

Posted on August 24, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , , , |

 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.”

Japan Today

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Italian father gives up custody battle in Australia

Posted on August 22, 2012. Filed under: Child Abduction | Tags: , , , , |

Sidney Morning Herald
the Italian father caught up in international custody battle between his ex-wife and four daughters.Despair … the father caught up in an international custody battle has “had enough” and returned to Italy. Photo: Michelle Smith

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.

SMH NEWS - A GREAT-GRANDMOTHER in Queensland was on the run last night with her four grand children - custody battle story by Brisbane Times. His four daughters left behind in Australia. Photo: Cade Mooney

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.

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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.

original article: http://www.smh.com.au/national/father-gives-up-custody-battle-20120818-24f30.html#ixzz24FQL7rpZ

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Bullying countermeasures spreading at education boards after suicide in Otsu

Posted on August 20, 2012. Filed under: Bullying | Tags: , , , , , |

Click here for the original Japanese story

Moves to curb school bullying are spreading across Japan in the wake of an incident in which a bullied second-year junior high school boy in the Shiga Prefecture city of Otsu committed suicide.

In the Otsu case, the boy’s school came under criticism for failing to detect signs of bullying, and conducting a sloppy probe after his suicide. By reinforcing intervention by prefectural and municipal education boards, education officials hope to curb bullying at an early stage.

The Mainichi Shimbun surveyed education boards in all 47 of Japan’s prefectures and in 20 major cities on their response to school bullying. In July, the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education informed some 2,200 public elementary, junior high and high schools under its jurisdiction to report the number of cases of bullying at schools — including suspected cases — as well as their response to these cases. Previously schools would report only the number of confirmed cases, three times a year.

“In light of the problem in Otsu, we felt it was necessary to expand our scope to avoid overlooking any signs of bullying,” an education board representative said. “We will follow up on cases in which bullying is suspected from September onwards, responding firmly.”

Previously at the Shizuoka Prefectural Board of Education, only serious cases of bullying were reported to board members, but in July, Superintendent of Education Toru Abe declared that all future cases would be reported. It emerged that in one case, bullying at a prefectural high school had continued for about a year, and the perpetrator was suspended, but the prefectural education board office didn’t deem the case serious, and refrained from reporting it. This sparked calls for greater transparency.

“We had restricted the number of reports to avoid an information overload, but as we reviewed our response to bullying cases, we decided that this wasn’t appropriate. If there are any insufficiencies in the office’s response we want board members to give us instructions from a broad perspective,” a board representative said.

To encourage a speedy response from schools, the Nara Prefectural Board of Education has produced a quick response manual for educators, while the Kyoto and Tottori prefectural education boards and the Fukuoka Municipal Board of Education are revising their past manuals.

The Shiga Prefectural Board of Education has instructed schools where past cases of bullying were detected to conduct new inspections. The Ibaraki Prefectural Board of Education, meanwhile, has confirmed that it will actively report criminal behavior to police.

Eiichi Kajita, former president of Hyogo University of Teacher Education, commented, “Education board secretariats should properly share information, and board members should be aware of their responsibility and frankly discuss the problems together, each member fulfilling his or her role. It’s important that teachers and schools don’t bottle up their problems, but maintain the awareness they are raising children together.”

August 20, 2012(Mainichi Japan)

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More bullying victims turning to police to file criminal charges

Posted on August 20, 2012. Filed under: Bullying | Tags: , , , |

Aug. 19, 2012 – TOKYO —

Police have been called in to take action in 11 cases of bullying nationwide in the past month, according to the National Police Agency.

The filing of criminal charges by bullying victims is believed to be the result of a high-profile case in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, in which three bullies were blamed for the suicide of a 13-year-old boy last October. More victims have started to speak out against their tormentors now that bullying has become a national talking point.

Public broadcaster NHK reported that in the past month, police were consulted on bullying that included victims suffering broken bones and cases in which photos and video of acts of violence were posted online.

In the most recent case, a junior high school boy in Tokyo filed criminal charges against his classmates after he sustained broken ribs in a bullying incident. In other cases, a high school boy in Sendai sustained 20 cigarette burns to his arms, and a junior high school boy reportedly took a video of himself bullying a primary school boy in Hyogo and uploaded it to the Internet. The video was viewed around 180,000 times, NHK reported.

Last month, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced plans to conduct a nationwide survey of all public elementary and junior high schools in an attempt to ascertain the prevalence and nature of bullying in the nation’s public schools.

On Aug 2, the ministry also launched a taskforce dedicated to supporting schools as part of its drive to stamp out bullying.

The taskforce consists of staff from departments currently dealing with bullying, national educational policy researchers and experts from the National Police Agency.

Japan Today

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Baby’s body found in Saitama river

Posted on August 20, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , |

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.

Japan Today

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Baby left in car dies while mother plays pachinko

Posted on August 18, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: |

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.

Japan Today

 

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19-year-old man held over attack on Otsu education board head

Posted on August 16, 2012. Filed under: Bullying | Tags: , , , |

Aug. 16, 2012 – 06:45AM JST

SHIGA —
Police on Wednesday arrested a 19-year-old man for allegedly trying to kill the superintendent of the Otsu Board of Education in Shiga Prefecture.

According to police, the suspect, who cannot be named because he is a minor, attacked Kenji Sawamura, 65, with a 30-cm-long hammer in his office shortly before 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Sawamura suffered a gash above his right eye, police said. Office staff subdued the suspect until police arrived.

The suspect was quoted by police as saying he wanted to kill Sawamura because of the way he covered up the bullying incident that led a 13-year-old boy to commit suicide last October, TV Asahi reported.

Police reported that the suspect is from Saitama where he attends a university. Besides the hammer, he also was carrying a piece of wire about 70 cms long, with small pieces of wood attached to each end, TV Asahi reported.

Sawamura and the education board came under heavy criticism last month for their handling of the bullying case at the school.

The father of the boy who committed suicide has filed a damages suit against the school and board of education which initially said there was no link between the bullying two weeks before the boy’s death, even though two questionnaires given to students after the boy’s suicide revealed that at least 60 students had witnessed the bullying.

After the questionnaires became public knowledge, both the school and board reversed their stance and said they believed bullying led to the boy killing himself by leaping from a building.

Sawamura was also criticized for going on a 5-day business trip to Australia last Nov 6, which was two days after the board received the results of the second questionnaire on bullying.

Japan Today

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Old and recent stories about my travels to prefectural offices

Posted on August 15, 2012. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Human Rights | Tags: , , , |

Interview about child rights in October of 2011.

Interview about child rights, joint custody, and my visit to 45 prefectures.

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In Japan, Child-Abusing Parents Retain Parental Rights

Posted on August 13, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death, Human Rights | Tags: , , |

By   /   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.

1. Sachiko Bamba and Wendy L. Haight, Child Welfare and Development: A Japanese Case Study (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 180-81.

2. The government workers involved in this case have done a good job protecting this child. Without being able to forcibly cut parental rights, there’s not much else they can do.

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High school student arrested for breaking classmate’s back

Posted on August 11, 2012. Filed under: Bullying | Tags: , , , |

AUG. 10, 2012 – HIROSHIMA —
Police said Thursday that a junior high school student in Hiroshima has been arrested after he allegedly broke a classmate’s back in June.

According to police, the 15-year-old boy was with four friends in a school corridor on June 22 during recess when several of them picked up the victim, TBS reported. The youth then allegedly kneed him in the back. Police say the boy suffered a broken bone in his lower back.

Following the alleged assault, the school principal publicly apologized for failing to protect the boy. The school subsequently distributed a questionnaire to students, the results of which suggested that the victim had been bullied regularly by his assailant.

The boy and his parents filed a complaint with police on July 17. The arrested youth denies any intent to harm the victim, TBS reported.

Japan Today

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Body of newborn baby found in trash can in toilet at train station

Posted on August 11, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , , , |

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.

Japan Today

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Bullied boy’s parents file criminal charges

Posted on August 9, 2012. Filed under: Bullying | Tags: , , |

The parents of a 16-year-old boy in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, have filed charges against classmates who bullied him at school.

The case follows the high profile suicide of a bullied junior high school student from Otsu in Shiga Prefecture which hit headlines nationwide.

Fuji TV reported Tuesday that since last November, the boy was punched and had his arm burned with cigarettes over 20 times. In July, the bullying had become so severe that the boy could no longer attend school.

The boy’s parents told reporters that the school felt the boy’s burns were disturbing other students and subsequently asked him to leave the school, Fuji reported. The school has so far refused to comment to media.

Following his expulsion, the boy’s parents said they decided to take action to force his assailants to confess to bullying him.

In the Japanese media, the filing of criminal charges is being taken as a sign that students are becoming more likely to speak out against their tormentors now that bullying has become a national talking point.

Police say an investigation into the nature of the alleged bullying is now underway.

Japan Today

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Bullying – the problem that won’t go away

Posted on August 6, 2012. Filed under: Bullying | Tags: |

TOKYO —
Bullying—is it insoluble, human nature being what it is? Or are school authorities simply too busy, too pressured, too spineless, too concerned with their schools’ image, to face it squarely?

The suicide last October in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, of a 13-year-old second-year junior high school boy who had been relentlessly bullied by classmates while teachers looked the other way reminds us how little progress has been made over the past 30 years. “Schools,” says Chiba University education scholar Daisuke Fujikawa, “are not learning the lessons of the past.”

The education ministry officially recognizes some 77,000 “ijime” (bullying) cases a year – “the tip of the iceberg,” says Josei Seven (Aug 9). Should bullying be made a crime? In raising the question, the magazine reviews some of the tortures that apparently drove the boy to jump to his death from his family’s 14-story apartment building last October. They include routine beatings, the forced eating of dead bees, forced shoplifting, and, most notoriously, “suicide practice.” It certainly sounds criminal on the face of it, and Josei Seven detects a groundswell of feeling that the full force of the law is the only language kids who go in for that sort of thing would understand.

A counterargument is raised by Kinokuni Children’s Village Free School principal Shinichiro Hori. A “free school” is an alternative facility for kids who, whether because of bullying or for other reasons, are unable to cope with regular school. “Kids who bully others do it because their hearts are disturbed,” Hori writes. “With society foisting its ideals on them – good marks, for example – they can’t breathe. Their hearts don’t get enough oxygen. So you can punish them, or threaten them, and it might have some effect, but it doesn’t go to the root of the problem.”

What would? Nothing short of a fundamental reform of education, in his view.

“More important than anything is that children should be happy, absorbed, interested. For that to happen, teachers have to be passionate about what they do. But as it is, they’re too burdened with administrative responsibilities. Teachers need to be free to use their imaginations. Without a radical change in the top-down approach to education, I don’t see how the problem can be solved.”

Three boys in particular are considered ringleaders in the torments endured by the victim. Two have moved; the third remains in Otsu but has stopped going to school. From acquaintances, Josei Seven hears the three show no sign of repentance or reflection, no sense of having done wrong.

School kids tormenting each other must be as old as school, but “ijime” as a social problem – ordinary rough-housing getting seriously out of hand and drawing national attention – dates to the February 1986 suicide of a 13-year-old Tokyo boy who hanged himself in a shopping center washroom. He left a suicide note which mentioned, among other tortures he endured, “mock funerals” – complete with flowers and incense – with himself as mock corpse. The similarity to the “suicide practice” in Otsu 26 years later is unmistakable – a reflection of how little has changed.

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Woman arrested for beating 8-year-old son

Posted on August 6, 2012. Filed under: Bullying | Tags: , , , |

Aug. 04, 2012 OSAKA —

Police said Friday they have arrested a 29-year-old woman in Osaka for allegedly beating her 8-year-old son.

The woman, who has been named as Chisato Kuroki, was arrested by police at her home on Thursday after her husband reported that she had been abusing the couple’s son, Fuji TV reported.

Officers arrived at the couple’s Minato Ward apartment at around 5 p.m., 15 minutes after receiving the call, and found the boy had sustained an injury due to allegedly being punched by his mother moments earlier. Kuroki was arrested at the scene.

On Friday, members of staff at the boy’s school said they had noticed bruises on his back and torso previously and that the school had notified a juvenile consultation center, Fuji reported.

Kuroki was quoted by police as saying she hit her son because he wouldn’t listen to her.

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BOXER, LAUTENBERG, KERRY, LUGAR, INHOFE JOIN COLLEAGUES TO INTRODUCE RESOLUTION CONDEMNING INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION

Posted on August 3, 2012. Filed under: Child Abduction | Tags: , , |

 
Bipartisan Resolution Calls on Countries to Do More to Prevent and Resolve Cases of Children Abducted by Parents Across International Borders
 
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today joined Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), John Kerry (D-MA), Richard Lugar (R-IN), James Inhofe (R-OK) and 10 colleagues to introduce a bipartisan resolution condemning the unlawful international abduction of all children. The resolution also calls on the United States and the international community to take additional steps to resolve current and future abduction cases.
Tragically, international parental child abduction continues to be a common occurrence. According to the U.S. Department of State, last year 1,367 American children were reported abducted by a parent from the United States to a foreign country.
The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is the principal tool for a parent seeking the return of a child abducted across international borders. The Convention provides a legal framework for securing the return of an abducted child so that judicial authorities can make decisions on issues of custody and the best interests of the child. However, many countries do not participate in the Hague Abduction Convention and the Convention does not apply to abductions that occur before a country joins.
The resolution calls on all countries to join and fully comply with the Hague Abduction Convention and to take other steps to prevent and resolve cases of international parental child abduction. The resolution also expresses the Sense of the Senate that the United States should “aggressively pursue the return of each child abducted by a parent from the United States to another country through all appropriate means, consistent with the Hague Abduction Convention, and through extradition, when appropriate, and facilitate access by the left-behind parent if the child is not returned.”
“These abductions are devastating for the parent who is left behind and are extremely harmful to the children involved,” Senator Boxer said.“I have met parents who have not seen or heard from their children in years, and this is simply unacceptable. The international community must be united in its condemnation of child abduction and in its commitment to resolve custody disputes by rule of law.”
 
“International child abduction is a tragic situation that impacts not only the parents who are left behind but also the children who have been illegally separated from them and denied any contact,” Senator Lugar said. “Bringing greater attention to this issue is important if we are to change other governments’ attitudes to these abductions.”
 
“Conservatives and liberals rarely agree, but on the issue of these child abductions, we see eye to eye,” Senator Inhofe said.  “Unfortunately, some countries around the world are complicit in allowing these unacceptable acts.  The heart wrenching stories I have heard from parents is not just devastating for them, but destructive for the children.  It is time for the Senate to act in a way that will help end this injustice.  This well written measure is a high priority.  I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join in this effort.”
 
“International child abductions aren’t faceless crimes, they’re real and they’re tragic,” Senator Kerry said. “Over the last two years, I’ve gotten to know Colin Bower, a Massachusetts father who had full legal custody of his two young sons and whose life was ripped apart when they were abducted and taken to Egypt. We’re still fighting and working to get his boys home and reunite them with their dad. If you know Colin, you know it’s almost a cliche to say that this is any parent’s worst nightmare and a tragic, all-too-real reminder of why the United States must condemn international abductions and work to resolve them.  The international community must stand up and do all it can to make this right.”
“We saw firsthand the devastation that international child abductions cause for parents and children when New Jersey resident David Goldman had to fight for years to be reunited with his son Sean.  We need to gain the support of countries around the world in condemning this practice and agreeing to cooperate in the return of abducted children. This resolution will help us prevent these tragedies in the future,” said Lautenberg, who was instrumental in helping the return of Sean Goldman from Brazil to his father in the United States.
 
In November 2009, Senator Boxer and 21 colleagues wrote to President Obama urging him to address international parental child abduction with Japanese leaders during a trip to the country. Japan remains the only G-7 industrialized nation that has yet to ratify the Hague Abduction Convention.
The resolution introduced today will help continue to raise the profile of this important issue in the United States and across the globe. Additional cosponsors of the resolution currently include Senators Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Patty Murray (D-WA). The full text of the resolution is below.
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RESOLUTION
To express the sense of the Senate on international parental child abduction.
Whereas international parental child abduction is a tragic and common occurrence;
Whereas the abduction of a child by one parent is a heartbreaking loss for the left-behind parent and deprives the child of a relationship with 2 loving parents;
Whereas, according to the Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of the United States Department of State from April 2010, research shows that abducted children are at risk of significant short- and long-term problems, including “anxiety, eating problems, nightmares, mood swings, sleep disturbances, [and] aggressive behavior”;
Whereas, according to that report, left-behind parents may also experience substantial psychological and emotional issues, including feelings of “betrayal, sadness over the loss of their children or the end of their marriage, anger toward the other parent, anxiety, sleeplessness, and severe depression”, as well as financial strain while fighting for the return of a child;
Whereas, since 1988, the United States, which has a treaty relationship under the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, done at The Hague October 25, 1980 (TIAS 11670) (referred to in this preamble as the “Hague Abduction Convention”) with 69 other countries, has agreed with its treaty partners to follow the terms of the Hague Abduction Convention;
Whereas the Hague Abduction Convention provides a legal framework for securing the prompt return of wrongfully removed or retained children to the countries of their habitual residence where competent courts can make decisions on issues of custody and the best interests of the children;
Whereas, according to the United States Department of State, the number of new cases of international child abduction from the United States increased from 579 in 2006 to 941 in 2011;
Whereas, in 2011, those 941 cases involved 1,367 children who were reported abducted from the United States by a parent and taken to a foreign country;
Whereas, in 2011, more than 660 children who were abducted from the United States and taken to a foreign country were returned to the United States;
Whereas 7 of the top 10 countries to which children from the United States were most frequently abducted in 2011 are parties to the Hague Abduction Convention, including Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Ecuador, Brazil, and Colombia;
Whereas Japan, India, and Egypt are not parties to the Hague Abduction Convention and were also among the top 10 countries to which children in the United States were most frequently abducted in 2011;
Whereas, in many countries, such as Japan and India, international parental child abduction is not considered a crime, and custody rulings made by courts in the United States are not typically recognized by courts in those countries; and
Whereas Japan is the only member of the Group of 7 major industrialized countries that has not ratified the Hague Abduction Convention: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That—
(1)   the Senate—
(A)  condemns the unlawful international abduction of all children;
(B)   urges countries identified by the United States Department of State as noncompliant or demonstrating patterns of noncompliance with the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, done at The Hague October 25, 1980 (TIAS 11670) (referred to in this resolution as the “Hague Abduction Convention”) to fulfill their commitment under international law to expeditiously implement the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention;
(C)   calls on all countries to accede to or ratify the Hague Abduction Convention and to promptly institute measures to equitably and transparently address cases of international parental child abduction; and
(D)  calls on all countries that have not acceded to or ratified the Hague Abduction Convention to develop a mechanism for the resolution of current and future cases of international parental child abduction that occur before those countries accede to or ratify the Hague Abduction Convention in order to facilitate the prompt return of children abducted to those countries to the children’s countries of habitual residence; and
(2)   it is the sense of the Senate that the United States should—
(A)          aggressively pursue the return of each child abducted by a parent from the United States to another country through all appropriate means, consistent with the Hague Abduction Convention, and through extradition, when appropriate, and facilitate access by the left-behind parent if the child is not returned;
(B)           take all appropriate measures to ensure that a child abducted to a country that is a party to the Hague Abduction Convention is returned to the country of habitual residence of the child in compliance with the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention;
(C)           continue to use diplomacy to encourage other countries to accede to or ratify the Hague Abduction Convention and to take the necessary steps to effectively fulfill their responsibilities under the Hague Abduction Convention;
(D)          use diplomacy to encourage countries that have not acceded to or ratified the Hague Abduction Convention to develop an institutionalized mechanism to transparently and expeditiously resolve current and future cases of international child abduction that occur before those countries accede to or ratify the Hague Abduction Convention; and
(E)           review the advisory services made available to United States citizens by the United States Department of State, the United States Department of Justice, and other United States Government agencies—
(i)                 to improve the prevention of international parental child abduction from the United States; and
(ii)               to ensure that effective and timely assistance is provided to United States citizens who are parents of children abducted from the United States and taken to foreign countries.
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Getting a moped license in Japan

Posted on August 3, 2012. Filed under: other | Tags: , , |

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. http://www.nic-nagoya.or.jp/en/e/archives/404

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Body of newborn baby found in Kanagawa river

Posted on August 3, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , , , |

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.

Japan Today

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