Japan signing the Hague convention isn’t enough.

This article by Jeremy Morley, an international family law attorney, makes it clear. Japan will change its domestic law to give the appearance of harmony with the Hague convention but in reality it will give judges enough power to keep abducted children in Japan.

What to do?

Part of the long term solution is to support divorced Japanese men who want to see their children. I’ve said it before: it’s mostly a Japanese problem. More women work and expect their husbands to share family chores while at the same time Japanese divorce rates are rising, just like in the rest of the world. What will happen to Japanese men (mostly, but some women too) left behind by the other Japanese parent? Japanese daycare workers are routinely told by separated mothers to keep their children away from the fathers.

I have young Japanese male friends to whom this has happened. The older generation (with the women mostly staying at home but always caring for the children) are making the laws and sitting in court and they are telling the men of the younger generation to “gaman” (buck up) at the same time as the women of the younger generation are telling them to do more. When things don’t work out, the men are still expected to “act like men” and take it. It’s the samurai walking off alone into the sunset thing. But as being a man comes to mean something different, the laws can change.

It won’t help us, but it will help future generations. And when Emilie is an adult, the consensus in society among the people with whom she will live and work should be that her mother did something very very wrong.

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