Summary of my bike tour from Kumamoto to Tokyo

Posted on November 4, 2011. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Divorce | Tags: , , , , , |

Here is a summary of my 30 day cycling tour. My goal was to raise awareness about child rights, especially the right for children to see both parents after divorce/separation.

Kilometers cycled, 1500
Diet members met, 2
Times in the paper, 3 (Asahi Shimbun and Kobe Shimbun and Japan Times via Kyodo News)
Times on TV, 1 (NHK Oct. 31st)
Left Behind Parents I stayed with, 9
Left behind parents I met before reaching Tokyo, 14
Left behind parents I met in Tokyo, numerous
Child Welfare division that I spoke to (prefectural offices), 15
Questionnaires given to Child Welfare Offices, 15
Parades/Demonstrations attended, 1 (with a big welcome in Shibuya)
Everything on behalf of Childrenfirst

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Children First at the Nagoya Walkathon

Posted on May 26, 2011. Filed under: Orphanages, Uplifting Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

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.jp

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20th Anniversary Walkathon International Charity Festival

Posted on April 22, 2011. Filed under: Orphanages, Uplifting Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at Moricoro Park (Nagoya)

2011 brings the ACCJNIS 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.

http://nagoyawalkathon.com/?lang=en

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International Divorce and Japanese Family Law

Posted on January 20, 2011. Filed under: Child Abduction, Child Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Hague Convention, Japanese Family Law, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Asahi Broadcasting Corporation in Osaka did a story about international divorce and the state of Family Law in Japan. They focused on 2 cases, Craig Morrey and Yuka Yamanaka. Craig’s ex moved to Yamaguchi-ken with their daughter and left Craig to care for his severely handicapped son all by himself. Craig rarely gets to meet his daughter. Craig, as most divorced parents, is extremely unhappy with the family court system. He is working with many people in Japan and America to change the Family Law System in Japan.

Yuka’s children live in America and her ex refuses to let the kids visit Japan because Japan is not a signatory to the Hague Convention. Her ex’s knows there is no legal or diplomatic way to return the children from Japan to America, unless Japan signs the Hague. Yuka is hoping the government of Japan will sign the Hague. She would also like to see changes in the Family Law System so both parents can have access to their children.

Click on the link to watch the 14 minute video: ABC video on divorce and Japanese Family Law_

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Fifth Grader Making a Difference

Posted on January 20, 2011. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Japanese Family Law, Uplifting Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

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.com

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