Friday, May 30, 2008

 

Shame On Japan

An egregious case of child abduction

Widowed American lawyer Paul Wong promised his dying wife that he would raise their daughter in Japan. While in the process of moving from Hong Kong, where they had lived, to Japan, he agreed to let his daughter stay with her maternal grandparents in Japan. From ABC News:
For more than a year after her mother's death in December 2005, Kaya continued to live with her grandparents, with Wong visiting monthly from Hong Kong as he worked to find a job that would allow him to move to Japan.

Once he found a job and was preparing to move, however, things suddenly changed.

"Once I moved to Tokyo last year, the grandparents did everything possible to keep Kaya away from me. When I said I'm taking her back, they filed a lawsuit against me filled with lies and claimed I had sexually assaulted my daughter. There are no facts and the evidence is completely flimsy."
Kaya's grandparent's consulted an attorney nine months prior to making the sexual assault allegations. Japan's Family Court sided with the grandparents:
Despite the lack of any substantiating evidence and objective factual evidence establishing the allegations as false, the Family Court in Tokyo recently permanently stripped Paul of his parental rights and awarded his daughter to her maternal grandparents on the the basis that, even if there is no evidence, "normal" people would not make up such a story, therefore "something" must have happened. The Court ignored all evidence establishing the allegations as false, including the findings of its own court investigator; never once mentioning them in its decision. This constitutes a violation of not only Paul's right to due process but is also a violation both his and Kaya's human rights.

As Kaya has been taken from her father due, not to parental divorce but to her mother's death it represents the most egregious and callous example of the Japanese government's cancelling the rights of an American parent. But worse is the fact that Kaya will, upon the death of her grandparents, become a ward of Japan as her mother was an only child and there is no one else in the grandparents' family who can assume custody.

But Kaya's abduction is not the only one. There are currently 47 American children who have been removed to Japan. These are active cases reported to the US State Department in Washington, DC. The US Embassy in Tokyo reports over 80 active cases involving American children, but state that many more go unreported.
The US isn't the only country Japan treats this way. Shame on them.

Via Ed Morrissey.

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