When one looks into the abduction issue between North Korea and Japan, one cannot help but come across the campaigns by the Children’s Rights Network of Japan. Japan has not ratified the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Furthermore, it has little domestic legal infrastructure to make up for this.
The problem is a serious one. Child born of international marriages can be abducted by their Japanese parent to Japan and their foreign parent has no means to fight for custody (as joint custody is not permitted in Japan). The Japanese courts do not uphold foreign court orders in such cases either. In addition, in the event of a divorce, the foreign spouse loses his rights to a spouse visa and is thus forced to leave the country, with little chance of seeing his child again.
I sympathise entirely with the cause, but their most recent campaign equates Japan’s abduction issue with their own leaving me a little uneasy. Spousal child abduction is a no doubt traumatic for the child, but it is not the same as a child being kidnapped by strangers, unable to see any of their family. I do not wish to be accused of moral relativism as I recognise that both are terrible things. The campaign is a series of protests outside screenings of ‘Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story‘. They are picketing and distributing flyers, as well as posting comments as much as possible on websites that mention Japan’s abduction issue. I understand why they feel it is a good idea, but part of me feels unsettled that grief is being piled upon grief. I am really on the fence on this, I just wish there was a more tasteful way they could conduct themselves. It reminds me of Fathers 4 Justice here in the UK, albeit less sensational.
Anyway, my own qualms aside, I wish to present you with their video on the issue. Please watch it and make up your own minds.