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US girl reunited with father after 4 years in Japan

AFP
CHICAGO — Nearly four years after his ex-wife spirited their daughter away to Japan and blocked nearly all his attempts to see her, a Wisconsin doctor welcomed his little girl home Friday — just in time for Christmas. “My heart is pounding, 

Daughter in custody rift returns from Japan

Kansas City Star
By BRUCE VIELMETTI MILWAUKEEJust in time for Christmas, a Fox Point man was reunited Friday with his young daughter whose mother fled with her to Japan nearly four years ago at the start of the couple’s divorce. The girl’s return also freed her mother 

Fox Point Dad Gets Daughter Back From Japan In Time For Christmas

WISN Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE — A 9-year-old girl is back with her father in Milwaukee following an international custody battle between an American parent and the Japanese government. It was a battle that many other American parents have never won. 

Fox Point man reunited with abducted daughter

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
By Bruce Vielmetti of the Journal Sentinel Just in time for Christmas, a Fox Point man was reunited Friday with his young daughter whose mother fled with her to Japan nearly four years ago at the start of the couple’s divorce. 
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For Immediate Release

Contact: Patrick Braden, CEO, Global Future

(213) 392-5872 or global.future@yahoo.com

MEDIA ADVISORY / PRESS CONFERENCE

Kidnapped Milwaukee Girl Returns from Japan in Time for Christmas

Fox Point Doctor’s Daughter is First-Ever Abducted American Child Returned from Japan

WHAT: Press Conference to announce and discuss the return of Dr. Moises Garcia’s nine year-old daughter from Japan, following her kidnapping from Milwaukee in 2008.

WHEN: Saturday, December 24, 2011, 11 AM

WHERE: Pfister Hotel, Kennedy Room Conference Center, 424 East Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53202.

WHO: Dr. Moises Garcia; Patrick Braden, Founder, Global Future; Takashi Ikeda, Japanese Attorney for Garcia family in Japan; possible speakers to include; Milwaukee County District Attorney (representative to be determined) and Attorney James Sakar (Wisconsin Attorney). Possible VIP’s may be added pending availability.

MEDIA INTERVIEWS: All speakers will be available for interviews following the press conference.

ABOUT GLOBAL FUTURE: Since 2006, Patrick Braden, Dr. Garcia, and Global Future’s member parents, whose children were kidnapped from the United States to Japan and other countries, have lobbied over 600 days on Capitol Hill and held over 2,000 meetings with the administration, members of Congress, law enforcement officials, and NGOs. Global Future’s efforts have been responsible for the passage of legislation, key public policy research, and improvements in the U.S. government’s handling of international kidnappings. Global Future parents assist new members in communicating with public officials and agencies, and with individual case management, protocols, and strategies. Global Future publishes and distributes various materials including our 32-page magazine American Citizen Children Kidnapped by Japan, which U.S. officials acknowledge as a very strong tool in their work on the international kidnapping issue.

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Global Future: The Parents’ Council on International Children’s Policy

P.O Box 861892, Los Angeles, California 90086

Phone: (213) 392-5872 global.future@yahoo.com

Global Future advocates for every child’s right to two loving parents.

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PDF download available here:

MEDIA ADVISORY Final_Version 12-22-2011

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Caught Between Parents

Supporting children through the challenges of divorce
by Amy J.L. Baker, Ph.D.

Parental Alienation: Prevention is the key

Parental alienation: Prevention is the key
Published on April 14, 2011 by Amy J.L. Baker, Ph.D. in Caught Between Parents

Parental alienation is a set of strategies that parents use to undermine and interfere with a child’s relationship with his or her other parent. This often but not always happens when parents are engaged in a custody battle over the children.

There is no one definitive set of behaviors that constitute parental alienation but research with both parents and children has revealed a core set of 17 primary parental alienation strategies, including bad-mouthing the other parent, limiting contact with that parent, erasing the other parent from the life and mind of the child (forbidding discussion and pictures of the other parent), forcing child to reject the other parent, creating the impression that the other parent is dangerous, forcing the child to choose, and belittling and limiting contact with the extended family of the targeted parent.

Taken together, these 17 parental alienation strategies work to create psychological distance between the child and the targeted parent such that the relationship becomes conflict ridden and eventually non-existent, as the child is empowered to cut that parent off completely. Each of these strategies serve to A) further the child’s cohesion and alignment with the alienating parent; B) create psychological distance between the child and the targeted parent; C) intensify the targeted parent’sanger and hurt over the child’s behavior; and D) incite conflict between the child and the targeted parent should the targeted parent challenge or react to the child’s behavior.

Parents who try to alienate their child from his or her other parent convey a three-part message to the child: (1) I am the only parent who loves you and you need me to feel good about yourself, (2) the other parent is dangerous and unavailable, and (3) pursuing a relationship with that parent jeopardizes your relationship with me.

Children who succumb to the pressure and ally themselves with one parent against the other often exhibit a set of behaviors that have become known as parental alienation syndrome:
(1) The first manifestation is a campaign of denigration against the targeted parent. The child becomes obsessed with hatred of the targeted parent (in the absence of actual abuse or neglect that would explain such negative attitudes).
(2) Weak, frivolous, and absurd rationalizations for the depreciation of the targeted parent. The objections made in the campaign of denigration are often not of the magnitude that would lead a child to hate a parent, such as slurping soup or serving spicy food.
(3) Lack of ambivalence about the alienating parent. The child expresses no ambivalence about the alienating parent, demonstrating an automatic, reflexive, idealized support of him or her.
(4) The child strongly asserts that the decision to reject the other parent is her own. This is what is known as the “Independent Thinker” phenomenon.
(5) Absence of guilt about the treatment of the targeted parent. Alienated children will make statements such as, “He doesn’t deserve to see me.”
(6) Reflexive support for the alienating parent in the parental conflict. There is no willingness or attempt to be impartial when faced with inter-parental conflicts.
(7) Use of borrowed scenarios. These children often make accusations towards the targeted parent that utilize phrases and ideas adopted wholesale from the alienating parent. And, finally,
(8) The hatred of the targeted parent spreads to his or her extended family. Not only is the targeted parent denigrated, despised, and avoided but so too are his/her entire family. Formerly beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are suddenly avoided and rejected. When children exhibit these 8 behaviors the most likely explanation is the manipulation of the favored parent.

Once children exhibit these behaviors much of the damage is done. Prevention is critical as it is easier to stop children from becoming alienated than it is to undo the alienation once the children have adopted false ideas and feelings about the rejected parent. For this reason, parents who are concerned about the use of alienation strategies on the part of the other parent should become educated as quickly as possible about different options for responding to parental alienation.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/caught-between-parents/201104/parental-alienation-prevention-is-the-key

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Resources for targeted parents are available at www.amyjlbaker.com.

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Breaking News

U.S. President Obama makes a public statement on Japan and the Hague Convention and urges Japanese Prime Minister Noda to resolve existing abduction cases.

United Nations, New York City

September 21, 2011

In a briefing on U.S. Foreign Policy in the Asia Pacific Region on Wednesday, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell reported that during the first meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, President Obama remarked on Japan’s decision to sign the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and also spoke of the need for Japan to resolve the 123 existing cases in which American children have been abducted to Japan.

According to A/S Campbell:

“The President also very strongly affirmed the Japanese decision to enter into The Hague Convention – asked that this – on Child Abduction – asked that these steps be taken clearly and that the necessary implementing legislation would be addressed.

He also indicated that while that was an important milestone for Japan, that – he also asked the Japanese prime minister and the government to focus on the preexisting cases, the cases that have come before.”

Campbell stated that Prime Minister Noda acknowledged the existing cases and that Noda said that he would “take special care to focus on these particular issues as Japan also works to implement the joining of The Hague Convention.”

Read the full text of the briefing here:

http://fpc.state.gov/172931.htm

 

See also coverage in The Daily Yomiuri:

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110923005426.htm

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by Tony Del Vecchio (updated 2/7/11)

The government of the United States is deeply concerned about the issues of international parental child abduction and child custody/visitation with respect to its close friend and ally, Japan. Due to its sole-parent child custody system, its reluctance to join the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction[1], and the fact that it has never returned a single child abducted from abroad to his or her rightful home, Japan has earned an international reputation as a safe haven for kidnappers. Over the past several years, U.S. lawmakers have begun making concerted efforts to end the tragic situations affecting a great many American families due to Japan’s antiquated family law system and its inexplicable disregard for international norms.

The U.S. State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues states there are 123 active cases involving 173 American children who have been abducted from the U.S.A. and who are now being held in Japan in violation of American law.[2] Many of the Japanese nationals guilty of these abductions have court orders against them and are subject to arrest by the F.B.I. and prosecution by federal courts for kidnapping should they again set foot on U.S. soil.[3] In the United States and most advanced nations child abduction is an extremely serious crime. Japan lags far behind other developed countries by failing to recognize this common sense, international consensus and by not legislating child abduction as a punishable criminal offense.

In addition, it is estimated that at least 3,200 American children residing in Japan are being denied access to one of their parents post-divorce.[4] This is due to the Japanese child custody system that awards shin ken (parental rights) to only one parent upon divorce and also severely limits child access to the other parent thereafter. In the case of international marriages, foreign parents are greatly disadvantaged in Japanese courts,[5] and Japanese nationals almost invariably receive sole parental rights. Once shin ken is granted to one parent, the other has no further legal rights with regard to his or her child’s upbringing, and the shin kenholder may deny that other parent access to the child at his or her whim. Since no specific provision for visitation exists under Japanese statute, and since Japanese courts in any event lack any real enforcement powers, the left-behind parent – i.e., the parent without parental rights – is at the mercy of his or her former Japanese spouse. Child visitation is frequently denied outright or severely curtailed, and in any event is always subject to the caprice of the shin ken holder.

These two issues – international parental child abduction and child custody/visitation – are beginning to strain the friendly relations the United States and Japan have enjoyed since the end of World War II. In response to the seriousness of this situation, the U.S. House of Representatives has recently begun taking steps to address what the United States considers to be gross violations of the human rights of American children and their parents by the Japanese nation.

H.Res. 1326 (House Resolution 1326)

H.Res. 1326[6] is a non-binding resolution approved on September 29, 2010, by a vote of 416 to 1 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The resolution 1) “condemns the abduction and retention” of American children by Japanese nationals and demands their repatriation, 2) calls upon Japan to create enforceable laws that guarantee American parents the right to visitation with their children, and 3) urges Japan to accede to the Hague Convention so that established legal mechanisms can be relied upon to resolve custody disputes arising from the dissolution of international marriages. H.Res. 1326 reflects the overwhelming feeling among the American public and its lawmakers that Japan should immediately address these very serious issues for several reasons.

First, removing American citizens from their domiciles in the United States without the consent of the American parents is, as the resolution states, “a violation of their human rights and international law.” As a friend and ally of the United States, Japan should act immediately to end this tragic injustice and restore the family relationships its policies have damaged or destroyed, and thenceforth ensure that the rule of law applies in a reciprocal fashion between the two countries.

Additionally, Japan is viewed as an outlier among the community of advanced nations for not providing for joint custody or enforceable child visitation following divorce. The end result of these policies is frequently the American parent’s complete loss of access to his or her child. Essential family bonds are thus traumatically severed, and the children affected by this tragedy often have to contend with the effects of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a psychological condition which can result in depression; loss of community; loss of stability, security, and trust; excessive fearfulness, even of ordinary occurrences; loneliness; anger; helplessness; disruption in identity formation; and fear of abandonment.[7]

Finally, Japan is currently the only G-7 country that has not signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, adopted thirty years ago in 1980. This multilateral treaty, in which 82 countries participate, provides a legal means to effect the expeditious repatriation of children abducted from their domiciles in their home countries, termed in the treaty the child’s “place of habitual residence.” Japan’s resistance to becoming a signatory to the convention and its oft-repeated claims that it is “studying” or “considering” the issue are adversely affecting the country’s diplomatic and economic relations with its strategic allies and important trade partners. Over the past two years, through a series of five démarches, or diplomatic initiatives, America has joined with 11 other nations plus the European Union to pressure Japan to accede to the treaty and also to resolve outstanding child custody and visitation issues.[8] These démarches are evidence of the increasing frustration the global community now feels over Japan’s lack of progress with respect to this important human rights issue.

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H.R. 1940 – The International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2011

H.R. 1940, entitled The International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2011[9], is a bipartisan bill pending before the U.S. House of Representatives that specifically addresses the joint problems of international parental child abduction and loss of child custody/visitation under the Japanese legal system. If approved by the House, H.R. 1940 would, as a federal statute, have the force of law, and would require specific action on the part of the U.S. government to resolve these issues. Among other things, H.R. 1940 would establish an Office of International Child Abductions in the U.S. Department of State and provide for punitive measures for countries deemed to have exhibited a “pattern of non-cooperation” with respect to the protection of children’s rights. As explained in one summary of the proposed bill,[10] H.R. 1940 would create an Ambassador at Large for International Child Abductions whose primary responsibilities would be to:

1) promote measures to prevent the international abduction of children from the United States;

(2) advocate on behalf of abducted children whose habitual residence is the United States;

(3) assist left-behind parents in the resolution of abduction or refusal of access cases; and

(4) advance mechanisms to prevent and resolve cases of international child abduction.

In addition, the act would direct the President of the United States to:

(1) annually review the status of unresolved cases in each foreign country to determine whether the government has engaged in a pattern of non-cooperation and if so, designate such country as a Country With a Pattern of Non-cooperation;

(2) notify the appropriate congressional committees of such designation; and

(3) take specified presidential or commensurate actions to bring about a cessation of non-cooperation.

Thus, passage of H.R. 1940 in the House will radically alter the friendly and cooperative relationship America and Japan have traditionally enjoyed, absent a sincere effort on Japan’s part to resolve the fundamental human rights issues the bill addresses. It is hoped that Japan will voluntarily do the right thing and, as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell cautions, not “wait until the situation has become so tense and so difficult that it appears that Japan is only responding to pressure from the United States.”[11]


[7] see “Parental Child Abduction is Child Abuse” by Nancy Faulkner, Ph.D. presented             to the United Nations Convention on Child Rights in Special Session, June 9,             1999, at http://www.prevent-abuse-now.com/unreport.htm

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“Timing their message to coincide with Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Japan, a small but vocal group of activists marched in the streets Tuesday, urging Japan to sign an international treaty on parental child abduction.”   — Charlie Reed, Stars and Stripes, 8/23/11

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Flyer for the Rally

My new sign

Talking to the Press

Boys in Blue Keeping a Watchful Eye 

Getting Ready

Giving My Speech

Marching Along Roppongi Dori

Kentaro, Carlos, and Aki

Approaching Kasumigaseki

Working Together for Our Kids

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Parents march in Tokyo to urge Biden to address child custody issue

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Around 20 Japanese and Japan-based foreign parents who are facing difficulties in gaining access to their children following failed international marriages marched in Tokyo on Tuesday in seeking help from visiting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to push the Japanese government to address the issue of child custody.

Holding banners reading “Stop child abduction” and “Why don’t we have rights to see our children in Japan?” the parents embarked on a march after holding a rally in a park in Tokyo’s Roppongi district.

At issue is child alienation and abduction by Japanese parents, as courts in Japan tend to award mothers sole custody after divorce and it is not unusual for children to stop seeing their fathers after their parents break up.

Japan recently launched preparations for joining the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which sets procedures for settling cross-border child custody disputes.

Akihisa Hirata, co-organizer of a group called Left Behind Parents Japan, said in his message to Biden, “Please urge the Japanese government to address child abduction and also establish joint parenting and joint custody.”

A male participant at the rally said, “Japanese people cannot change their behavior without a strong foreign pressure. We call for changes in the laws to realize joint custody and joint parenting, which is widely adopted in other parts of the world.”

Anthony del Vecchio, a U.S. citizen who has not seen his daughter for seven years after divorcing his Japanese wife, said before the start of the protest march, “With respect to the protection of human rights in general and children’s rights in particular, Japan lags far behind the rest of the developed world.”

“Its system of sole custody upon divorce runs contrary to common sense, sound psychological research and international norms,” he said.

The U.S. State Department lists 123 active cases involving 173 children who have been abducted from the United States to Japan, but it is “not aware of a single case in which a child abducted to Japan has ever been returned to America,” he said.

Biden is on a three-day visit to Japan through Wednesday. The issue of child custody was not apparently discussed in his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan earlier in the day.

(Mainichi Japan) August 24, 2011

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110824p2g00m0dm012000c.html

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