The Hague Convention on Child Abduction
Japan is currently thinking about signing the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. It’s about time, too. Doing so would help Japan’s international reputation as a haven for thieves, kidnappers, gangsters and criminals of all types who happen to be Japanese. (The egregious case of outlawed former Peruvian President’s Alberto Fujimori’s lawless 2001-2005 asylum here comes to mind.) It also advances the case for the recognition and protection here of the human rights of both children and their parents. Not participating in the Convention calls into question Japan’s comprehension of who and what children are in the first place, of human rights in the second place, the due process of law in the third place, and its sincerity as a participant in the international world order in the fourth place.
But I feel concerned that the National Diet might amend the Convention’s enforcement protocol here in line with Japanese cultural conventions in such a way as to compromise the original intentions of the international agreement - intentions which demand extradition of abducted children to their original country of residence, and of the abducting parent to face criminal justice. Indeed, this process has already started by the Convention’s detractors in the form of repeated pleas to guard Japanese ex-spouses and children who are fleeing abusive foreign spouses. It is deliberate and disproportionate over-emphasis upon, and therefore distortion of the number and role of cases of abuse in order to alter the narrative. I’m talking about the ‘dangerous foreigner’canard - a persistent Japanese fetish - which is being played in an attempt to shield (mostly) outlaw Japanese mothers from Justice.
Following the International Convention on Child Abduction, it would serve Japan well to continue nurturing a legal culture that understands and relies on evidentiary proof in criminal proceedings - another thing that seems deficient.