US divorce lawyers blog about my cycling trip

Posted on November 16, 2011. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, United Nation Convention on the Rights of a Child | Tags: , , , , |

I was doing some research and found 2 US divorce lawyers had written about my trip from Kumamoto to Tokyo. Essentially it is their perspective of what I was trying to accomplish. I included the links if you would like to read their stories.

dallasdivorceattorneysblog

divorcelawyerillinoisblog

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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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Cycling from Kumamoto to Tokyo to Raise Awareness about Child Rights

Posted on July 31, 2011. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Hague Convention, Human Rights, Japanese Family Law, Parental Alienation Syndrome, United Nation Convention on the Rights of a Child | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I have made some modifications to my cycling trip.  I have decided to start in Kumamoto on the 13th of September. I picked this day because the judge will rule on my case on the 13th. I was expecting the ruling much earlier. As a result I thought it would be best to delay my start. It seems kind of symbolic to start in Kumamoto. I have a had to make numerous trips to Kumamoto for court.   I can pick up my ruling on the 13th and then start cycling. It would be nice if I could get press or left behind parents to see me off on the 13th. If you don’t have plans feel free to meet me at the Kumamoto Family Court on the 13th of September.

I am still planning to handout flyers along the way. I am still planning on stopping  at governors offices, court houses, and international schools. Due to my late start I may not have time to cycle all the way to Hokkaido. I will play it by ear.  There are numerous left behind parents who  can support me from Kumamoto to Tokyo but much less support exists between Tokyo and Hokkaido.  I am working with other left behind parents now to pin down the exact days I will be in Saga, Fukuoka, Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, Okayama, Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto, Otsu, Gifu, Nagoya, Shizuoka, Yokohama, and Tokyo.  I will be making updates on the Joint Custody in Japan Facebook page and the Children First Facebook page as well as my Facebook page. Please check one of these places every week or so.

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U.S. says it won’t tolerate loopholes in child abduction issue with Japan

Posted on July 29, 2011. Filed under: Child Abduction, Hague Convention, United Nation Convention on the Rights of a Child | Tags: , , , , , , |

Jul. 29, 2011 – 03:20PM 

WASHINGTON —

The United States pressed Japan Thursday to let parents see children snatched by estranged partners, saying it would not tolerate loopholes as Tokyo moves to resolve the longtime source of tension.

Western nations have voiced concern for years over citizens’ struggles to see their half-Japanese children. When international marriages break up, Japanese courts virtually never grant custody to foreign parents, especially men.

Hoping to ease a rift with allies, Prime Minister Naoto Kan has voiced support for ratifying the 1980 Hague treaty that requires countries to return wrongfully held children to their countries of usual residence. Japan would be the last member of the Group of Seven industrial powers to sign it.

Testifying before a congressional committee, senior U.S. official Kurt Campbell said that the United States was “quietly” speaking to Japan about the domestic laws that will accompany the Hague treaty.

“We will not rest until we see the kinds of changes that are necessary and we will certainly not abide by loopholes or other steps that will, frankly, somehow negate or water down” the agreement, said Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia.

Japanese critics of The Hague treaty often charge that women and children need protection from abusive foreign men. Japanese lawmakers are considering making exceptions to the return of children if there are fears of abuse.

Campbell voiced confidence that The Hague treaty already included safeguards.

He also urged Japan to give parents greater access outside of the treaty. If Tokyo ratifies the convention, it would only apply in the future and not to the 123 ongoing cases in which U.S. parents are seeking children in Japan.

“We are prepared to use all necessary political and legal means necessary to facilitate contact and access for parents and abducted children,” Campbell said.

But under questioning from lawmakers, Campbell indicated that the United States was not pushing for a separate agreement on existing abduction cases, saying that for Japan “it’s a complete non-starter.”

Representative Chris Smith, who has championed the abduction issue, pressed for an agreement on current cases. He feared that Japan’s entry into The Hague Convention would “result in lost momentum” as no children would immediately return.

“Delay is denial, and it does exacerbate the abuse of a child and the agony of the left-behind parents,” said Smith, a Republican from New Jersey.

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United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Posted on July 2, 2011. Filed under: United Nation Convention on the Rights of a Child | Tags: , |

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

  • Signed by Japan on September 21st, 1990
  • Ratified by the Diet on April 22nd, 1994

According to the UNCRC

1) Children shall not be separated from one parent against their will.

2) Children shall have the right to maintain contact with both parents.

3) When separation occurs that state will provide the left behind parent with information about their child.

4) Children have the right to preserve their nationality.

5) If deprived of their nationality (taken to another country) the state must help to quickly re-establish their nationality.

Full Text of Convention

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Japan allows international child abduction

Posted on January 20, 2011. Filed under: Child Abduction, Hague Convention, Japanese Family Law, United Nation Convention on the Rights of a Child | Tags: , , , , |

Lee Jay Walker a Tokyo correspondent for the Seoul Times. He wrote an article about international child abduction as it relates to Japan. He mentions how the police are no help and that there is no enforcement within the legal system. He mentions the Children’s Right Council of Japan and how they have been fighting the issue of international child abduction for almost 20 years without success. Lee also states that Japan is the only G-7 nation that has not signed the Hague Convention. But Japan has signed and ratified the United Nation Convention of the right of the Child but they don’t honor that treaty. Click on the link below to read the whole story.

Seoul Times article on Japan and child abduction

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NGO report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Posted on January 20, 2011. Filed under: Bullying, Child Custody and Visitation, Japanese Family Law, United Nation Convention on the Rights of a Child | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Children of foreign Nationals do not enjoy their own languages and cultures. (page 19)

Adequate attention has not been paid to the best interests of the child in policy decision making. (page 21)

Measures against violence at schools are going against the convention rather than just being sufficient (page 27)

Separation of child from parents against the best interests of the child (page 28)

Family reunification in the best interests of the child (page 29)

Bullying continues to be a big problem (page 43)

Human Rights and Child Rights has gone rather backward (page 46)

Letters to the UN Committee from children who attend Free School (page 68)

Jan. 2010 CRIN report on Japan

General Research Institute of the Convention on the Right of the child

phone: 81332034355     email: npo_crc@nifty.com       2-6-1 Midorigaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-0034

Chief Secretary: Shigeto Aramaki (aramaki@ygu.ac.jp)

National Coordinator: Ayako Okochi (momomokoki@mtf.biglobe.ne.jp)

International Coordinator: Yuji Hirano (yujihirano@nifty.com)

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Supreme Court Video that No One Can See

Posted on January 12, 2011. Filed under: Japanese Family Law | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

supreme court cover

Two articles concerning a secret Supreme Court Video were posted in the April 20th, 2011 edition of the Japan Times. What kind of video does the Supreme    Court want to keep secret? Well, this video is about divorce and what parents must consider when they live apart. How are the children affected? Kevin’s article talks about how the courts fail, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and the recent pressure from 8 nations asking Japan to sign the Hague. Link for Kevin’s article.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100420hn.html

Colin’s article is longer and covers several different things. First he talks about how separation is hard on the kids. Second, his extensive online research for the DVD turned up almost nothing. Third, he considered the DVD to be well made with a good message. Fourth, he talks a little about divorce statistics. And finally, he gives his opinion on why the DVD is not shown. Link for Colin’s article:
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20100420zg.html

by Colin P.A. Jones (Lawyer at prominent University in Kyoto)

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