Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) urged the Administration to make progress on international child abduction cases in Japan. In a letter to the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, Senator Casey urged the Administration to make international child abduction a priority in its talks with the Japanese government. Japan only recently ratified a 25 year old international treaty on child abduction and sometimes its court system can create challenges for families seeking information on missing children.
“It’s important that the Administration make progress on child abductions in Japan to give peace of mind to American families searching for answers and justice,” Senator Casey said. “A missing child is a terrible tragedy for a family. I’m pleased that Japan has recently ratified the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and am hopeful that the Administration will continue its efforts to work with Japan’s government on this issue.”
The text of the letter is below:
The Honorable Caroline Kennedy
Embassy of the United States
Please accept my belated congratulations on your appointment. I write to thank you for your attention to the issue of international child abduction and to urge you to prioritize it in your meetings with Japanese government officials.
As you know, the Government of Japan only recently approved the ratification of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which provides for the return of abducted children to their home country. Japan was the last member of the Group of Eight to sign on to the Convention. Reportedly, Japanese courts routinely favor the Japanese parent in custody cases involving international marriages. As joint custody is not recognized, foreign spouses of Japanese citizens are frequently denied all access to their children.
I recently met with an American servicemember who has been adversely impacted by Japan’s policies on child abduction. I understand that there are other military families in situations similar to his. We owe it to our servicemembers to ensure they are receiving appropriate consideration from the judicial system and that their rights as parents are upheld.
A constituent of mine, David Hearn, is currently living in Tokyo and made a documentary entitled, “From the Shadows,” about child abduction in Japan. He would welcome the opportunity to meet with you or an appropriate designee to share the stories he has collected. My staff would be glad to connect him with yours.
I would welcome your thoughts on how we can best help the American families who have been impacted by these policies. Thank you for your leadership on this important issue.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator