In Child’s abduction shows need for Japan to sign accord (Tacoma News Tribune, 11/12/10), Fathers and Families Board Member Robert Franklin, Esq. discusses the Morehouse child abduction case and Japan’s aiding and abetting of child abductors.
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The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction requires any signatory nation to return a child to the country from which it was taken. But Japan has never signed the convention and so is not bound by it.
Furthermore, in Japan fathers rarely get custody of their children after a divorce and even visitation is largely up to the mother. So Japan is a safe haven for mothers who wish to abduct their children. Its family courts condone what courts in this country call a felony.
According to the Department of Justice, more than 200,000 children are abducted by a parent in the United States each year. Parental abduction has rightly been called child abuse by psychologists such as Nancy Faulkner, who described the trauma suffered by those children in a paper to the United Nations.
Parents who kidnap their children must hide from the authorities, so the child has nowhere to turn for security but to the abducting parent. Forced isolation means that the child loses contact with his or her extended family, as well as with the other parent.
That dependency may well be exactly what the abducting parent craves. Faulkner described the personality type of the abducting parent as one in which “the needs of the parent override the developmental needs of the child.’
Over time, abducted children tend to manifest “depression, loss of community, loss of stability, security and trust, excessive fearfulness, loneliness, anger, helplessness, disruption in identity formation and fear of abandonment.’ Often, those problems can last into adulthood.
It is far past time for Japan to join the family of 84 nations that have bound themselves to the Hague Convention. There should be nowhere in the world that provides a safe haven for child abductors.
Read the full piece here.