Welcoming the EU Resolution, What is Due in Action domestically?
July, 9, 2020
Joint Custody Initiative, Japan
Today, 9th of July, 2020, a plenary session of the EU Parliament was held to discuss the issue of international and domestic child abduction in Japan. By an overwhelming majority (686 in favor, 1 against, 8 abstentions), European Parliament passed the resolution on international and domestic parental abduction of EU Children in Japan.
As an organization of Japanese victims of child abduction, we hereby welcome this resolution. At the same time, as nationals of Japan, we are deeply ashamed and regret that this should have happened. As members of the international community, we are ashamed and feel responsible to the victims of abduction of foreign origin and nationality, for allowing Japan to leave the situation unchecked until such a resolution was brought to our face from abroad.
A number of countries, not just the EU, have passed parliamentary resolutions, sometimes making requests at national head levels, questioning Japan’s stance on leaving parental abduction unquestioned. While rebuked by such criticism for many years, neither the Japanese government nor the media have taken up this issue. Instead, they continued the attitude of ignoring.
On principle, it is the duty of a government to protect its citizens. It is not something for the government to be “coerced into” by foreign demands. The Japanese government, however, is not only failing to protect and secure the safety of its own citizens, but has kept ignoring the claims from foreign parents who married Japanese nationals, which has resulted in a soaring number of victims of parental child abduction to this day. We take today’s resolution solemnly coming from the European Parliament that includes 27 countries. Instead of regarding this as an interference to internal affairs, we should take it as a warning that abandoning the issue as it exits now, is nothing less than a serious challenge to international order.
Through a class action lawsuit against the country, we are claiming its neglect on proper legislative action, urging the state to eliminate the legal system of single custody for parents outside wedlock which is a factor behind the EU resolution that was issued today. The government so far has denied its responsibility, not acknowledging any flaws in its family law and national system. In response to today’s EU resolution and, before any apologies, we take it as our duty for the international community to win this legal battle and thus begin the necessary change in the attitude from the Japanese government.
We hope for our country to accept the criticisms from the international community in due course and to take the lead in ending the national crime of child abduction. We need to stand together with the rest of the world to make fundamental changes to our domestic legal system as soon as possible. There is no respite for a shift to joint custody.