(Excerpt from interview with Japan's Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama)
"JTH: On this topic, as you know Japan is the only G8 nation not to ratify the Hague Convention. There has been talk of doing so in 2010. Will the DPJ do so?
YH: Yes we will and we have pushed for this but have been fought back by the LDP continually on this topic. I understand the issue and we have been briefed on the many cases involving Japanese spouses violating other nation’s court orders and brining the child to Japan. So, yes we support this effort to ratify the Hague convention.
Daniel: I have some questions from the fathers affected, and photos of their children. Would you please look at them?
(Mr. Hatoyama reads the questions and looks at the photos)
YH: May I keep these?
Daniel: Please do.
YH: My heart goes out to the fathers, and mothers. There are cases of mothers as well. We support ratifying and enforcing the Hague Convention, and involved in this is a sweeping change to allow divorced fathers visitation of their children. That issue affects not just foreign national fathers, but Japanese fathers as well. I believe in this change.
We have been condemned by the USA, Canada, the UK, and France over this and I firmly believe we need to change things as I mentioned. The effect will be Japan coming into this century. We need to be clear though, these changes will take time. A very strong cultural change shifting from maternal primacy over the children is needed as well. I think we have already seen the beginning of this, but a change in laws is not the sole solution.
JTH: Does this include abiding by the court orders of other nations?
YH: It does, as long there is reciprocal agreement to recognize Japanese court orders.
JTH: As you know no child has been returned to a foreign parent even with a foreign jurisdiction awarding custody before the abduction, do you support efforts to change this?
YH: Again, as long as Japanese courts are reciprocated then yes. Again, I need to be clear that changes of this nature will take time. Do I support it? Yes, but the changes to the legal and cultural structures will take time. Will there be opposition? I am sure, but things need to change not just to improve Japan’s image, but for the sake of justice. That really is all I can say."
He sounds like a very caring, decent man. I hope he can get the support to make changes that will allow families like ours to be together again, Chloe. And I hope it won't take too long.
I miss you, Chloe. Love you.