Japan’s ‘silent tsunami’ severs parental ties, wrecks children’s lives

Posted on August 30, 2011. Filed under: Child Abduction, Child Custody and Visitation, Japanese Family Law, United Nation Convention on the Rights of a Child | Tags: , , , , , , |

Japan Times    Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011
HOTLINE TO NAGATACHO

To the next Prime Minister,

 

News photo
Left behind: Parents who have lost contact with their children after divorce or separation from their Japanese spouses march through Tokyo with their supporters on Aug. 23. The demonstrators urged Japan to sign the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and amend its current child custody laws. Left Behind Parents Japan planned the march to coincide with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Tokyo. SIMON SCOTT PHOTO

I am the cofounder of Children First (childrenfirst.jp), an NPO that focuses on children’s issues. Every three minutes another child loses all contact with one of their parents after divorce. Every seven minutes another child is a victim of school bullying. Every 12 minutes another case of child abuse is reported to protective services. Every week at least one child dies as the result of abuse.

Children First is working to overcome these issues and other problems affecting children. But we can’t do it alone. We need the help of Diet members and policymakers to change things so Japan is a better place for children.

Most people are aware of bullying and abuse. These two issues make the headlines often. But a problem I and many other parents find more alarming is that every three minutes a child loses contact with one parent due to divorce.

On March 11, more than 16,000 people died; about another 5,000 are still missing. Hundreds if not thousands of children lost at least one parent on that day. Since March 11, more than 82,000 children have lost contact with one parent due to divorce.

This is a silent tragedy that is spreading like a cancer throughout Japan. It is preventing children from reaching their full potential. It is destroying families and family values. It leaves children confused about the future and it reduces their chances of having a normal life. It leaves some parents and children to deal with unimaginable grief. It is a silent tsunami that many people don’t know about. The family courts and the Japanese legal system are allowing this tragedy to continue.

In 2006 the Supreme Court made a DVD titled “What Couples with Children Must Think About When They Live Apart.” Surprisingly, the family courts don’t show this video to parents. Quite the opposite: They hide the existence of this DVD and family court judges make rulings that go directly against the message contained in the DVD — that children need both parents to be happy. Some family court lawyers are unaware that this video exists.

Now, the average parent gets four hours of visitation per month with his/her child. This is hardly enough time to form a bond or make a difference in a child’s life. Some parents use parental alienation to destroy the relationship the child once had with the noncustodial parent.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), children are entitled to have a relationship with both parents. If for some reason the parent and child are separated, the state (Japan) must re-establish contact with the left-behind parent. Of course, this never happens. So, the family court has failed twice. They don’t follow the advice of the Supreme Court DVD and they ignore the UNCRC, which is equivalent to a law.

I think it is time to review the rulings of judges throughout Japan and get rid of the ones who make bad rulings. I have been told by lawyers that judges sometimes don’t even look at the case files and are unprepared for what takes place in court. Bad judges need to be removed from the bench.

Mr. Prime Minister, I am asking you to take the necessary steps to remove bad judges as well as pass laws that guarantee children will have a long and meaningful relationship with both parents. Furthermore, I would also like you to pass laws that do a better job of protecting children from abuse and bullying, as well as implement better policies for reporting abuse and bullying. Teachers and bureaucrats are the key to eliminating abuse and bullying. I hope you give them the necessary tools to make a difference.

Currently, I have an active court case but that should soon change. On Sept. 13, the judge will make a ruling on my case regarding divorce and custody. If history is any indication, there is a 100-percent chance that I will lose. I plan to ride my bicycle from Kumamoto, where my court case is, to the Supreme Court in Tokyo. I will demand that family law be changed. I will stop at prefectural offices along the way and garner support from governors. I have taken eight weeks off of work for this cause. You can follow my progress on the Children First Japan Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/pages/Children-First-Japan/115396388532379) or the Joint Custody in Japan Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/oyako) and you can also find more information about my trip on my blog Children First Japan (kwbrow2.wordpress.com).

KEVIN BROWN
Nagoya

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20110830hn.html

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Detailed schedule of my bike ride

Posted on August 23, 2011. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Japanese Family Law, Uplifting Stories | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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.

date day holiday prefecture city pref. office court int.school flyer event
?
km time
12-Sep Mon 熊本 Kumamoto 熊本 Kumamoto
13-Sep Tue Kumamoto Kumamoto
佐賀 Saga 佐賀 Saga 82.7 6:43
14-Sep Wed Saga Saga ×
福岡 Fukuoka 福岡 Fukuoka 69.4 5:50
15-Sep Thu Fukuoka Fukuoka
16-Sep Fri Fukuoka Fukuoka
17-Sep Sat Fukuoka Fukuoka
18-Sep Sun Fukuoka 北九州 Kitakyushu 71.6 6:06
19-Sep Mon 山口 Yamaguchi 山口 Yamaguchi 90.4 7:54
20-Sep Tue Yamaguchi Yamaguchi ×
広島 Hiroshima 広島 Hiroshima 152.0 13:04
21-Sep Wed Hiroshima Hiroshima
22-Sep Thu Hiroshima Hiroshima
23-Sep Fri Hiroshima Hiroshima
24-Sep Sat Hiroshima Hiroshima
Hiroshima 福山 Fukuyama 108.3 9:08
25-Sep Sun Hiroshima Fukuyama
岡山 Okayama 岡山 Okayama 61.9 5:08
26-Sep Mon Okayama Okayama ×
27-Sep Tue Okayama Okayama
兵庫 Hyogo 姫路 Himeji × 82.3 6:54
Hyogo 神戸 Kobe 59.9 4:56
28-Sep Wed Hyogo Kobe
29-Sep Thu Hyogo Kobe
大阪 Osaka 大阪 Osaka 36.4 2:51
30-Sep Fri Osaka Osaka
1-Oct Sat Osaka Osaka
2-Oct Sun 京都 Kyoto 京都 Kyoto 49.2 4:02
3-Oct Mon Kyoto Kyoto
4-Oct Tue Kyoto Kyoto
滋賀 Shiga 大津 Otsu × 14.4 1:16
5-Oct Wed 岐阜 Gifu 岐阜 Gifu × 113.2 9:09
愛知 Aichi 名古屋 Nagoya 39.1 3:05
6-Oct Thu Aichi Nagoya
Aichi 岡崎 Okazaki × 40.7 3:20
7-Oct Fri Aichi Okazaki
8-Oct Sat Aichi Okazaki
Aichi 豊橋 Toyohashi 29.9 2:28
9-Oct Sun 静岡 Shizuoka 浜松 Hamamatsu 41.3 3:29
10-Oct Mon Shizuoka 静岡 Shizuoka 100.6 8:22
11-Oct Tue Shizuoka Shizuoka
Shizuoka 富士 Fuji 39.3 3:14
12-Oct Wed Shizuoka Fuji city branch ×
神奈川 Kanagawa 小田原 Odawara city branch × 66.4 5:48
Kanagawa 横浜 Yokohama 56.7 4:35
13-Oct Thu Kanagawa Yokohama
14-Oct Fri Kanagawa Yokohama
15-Oct Sat 東京 Tokyo 東京 Tokyo 34.5 2:51
16-Oct Sun Tokyo Tokyo
17-Oct Mon Tokyo Tokyo
18-Oct Tue Tokyo Tokyo
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Video’s of British fathers who can’t see their kids

Posted on January 31, 2011. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Two British father’s are fighting to see their kids. Alex and his kids live in Japan but his ex has prevented him from seeing them. Shane lives in Britain and his kids went to Japan with their mother to visit a sick relative. They never came back and Shane has no contact with his kids. Click on the links below to watch the BBC videos.

Alex Kahney

Shane Clarke

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