Terry Lloyd (Japan, Inc.) writes: “After the U.S. presidential election, the first foreign trip by new Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was to Japan. Then in a symbolic action within a symbolic trip, Clinton visited with the Japanese families whose children and relatives were abducted by the North Koreans over a 30-year period since the 1970s.
Clinton told reporters, “On a very personal and, you know, human basis, I don’t know that I’ll be meeting as a secretary of state any more than I will be meeting with them as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister.”
But there was one segment of the population in Japan that felt Clinton’s words were more like daggers than bandages. That segment is the foreign parents of children from international marriages, who have had their children kidnapped by the Japanese parent back to Japan, never to see them again. And while there have been a handful of those North Korean abductees returned to Japan, there has NEVER been a successful return of a mixed nationality child to the foreign parent through diplomacy or court action. Further, U.S. officials say they only know of three cases where mutually agreed returns have occurred. And yet many court actions have been brought against Japanese abductors over the years.
Japan has no concept of joint child custody and that abduction by one parent is not a crime. The judiciary in its wisdom still follows the feudal “Iie system” (house system) whereby it believes that the child should belong to one house only.
Officially, of the 166,000 children involved in divorces in Japan every year, less than 20% of them wind up with the father, and of course in the case of foreign fathers, the number is zero.”
BTW, here is an interesting comment by hakujinsensei: “it makes no difference where the child is born or how many passports as long as it is registered in the womans family registry. A woman can start her own registry, but a foreign national may not. He is listed on her registry as a note; married to american national Bob Tom. As soon as they are listed in the that registry, they are property primarily of japan and secondarily of the mother and thirdly of her parents or relatives. Her father is irrelevant. Bottom line, if you marry a japanese national, and you love your children, divorce is NOT an option unless you want to just walk away.”
What’s your take on this?