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In “Child abduction agreement too late for many parents,” (The Japan Times, Saturday, April 5, 2014) by staff writer Tomohiro Osaki, Miho Watanabe, divorced from an allegedly abusive American husband is portrayed as the kind of Japanese woman the government has always protected in these international child custody situations: the victim of domestic violence by their foreign spouses who flee to Japan with the children for safety. Ms. Watanabe suffered a reverse loss when she sent her teenaged daughter to America on a visit in 2005 and the girl was kept there, not to return. I disagree with this portrayal. It might be true, but it is not proven. What is proven is that Ms. Watanabe was the first to illegally flee American legal jurisdiction with her underage child. That was a crime making her the kidnapping criminal terrorist, not her former foreign husband. Watanabe laments, “I was told by the American family I would become a ‘kidnapper’ if I ever tried to bring back my own girl to Japan.” It doesn’t seem to occur to her that that is exactly what she is. She sounds sincerely ignorant that she is the wrong doer in this situation. Saying “my own girl” indicates faulty logic as well. It indicates the view of young children as the physical property of their mothers.
Now, Watanabe’s daughter is a legal adult and beyond the age covered by the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, so Ms. Watanabe is beyond help offered by the convention to deprived parents. She doesn’t realize it but that is a good thing because if her daughter was still a minor then the mother would be subject to the prescribed legal penalties. I suggest imprisonment for life as an international terrorist. That’s what I suggest for all Japanese parents of minors who illegally secret their children away from divorced foreign spouses. In these situations it is overwhelmingly the case that the foreign ex-husbands have been wronged by vengeful Japanese women and they deserve redress. If Japanese mothers who brought their children to Japan as refugees from bad and even dangerous family situations abroad want my sympathy and support they will have to do more to earn it than this article describes. In almost all cases the Japanese ex-spouses are the criminal wrong doers.
Printed in The Japan Times newspaper on Thursday, April 10, 2014 as "Kidnapping parent deserves life."