Report removes Japan from ‘non-compliant’ list on international child abduction preventionSmith: Japan out of Compliance with the Goldman Act
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) sharply criticized the State Department’s removal of Japan from its list of countries “demonstrating a pattern of noncompliance” on preventing the international abduction of young children from left-behind parents.
“Over the last 5 years Japan has made almost zero progress on resolving the more than 40 cases of American children kidnapped to Japan prior to its signing of the Hague Convention,” Smith said. “Japan has certainly not warranted a removal from the blacklist—and the Secretary of State should not wait until next year’s report to put them back on.”
“While some suggest that Japan is moving toward legislative reforms that may help with returns of children abducted in the future, it cannot be denied that the Japanese government has done little to help reunite those American children who have been separated from their left-behind parents for years, the so-called pre-Hague cases,” Smith said. “Child abduction is child abuse; in essence, these children have been abducted each and every day over and over again as Japan ignores the fact that they are isolated and growing older without knowing their American parent—who also suffers greatly.”
American families continue to see no progress in dozens of cases in Japan, including:
Marine Corps Sgt. Michael Elias whose two children were abducted to Japan in 2008 after New Jersey courts decreed shared custody and “no travel” for the children; Japan gave the children replacement passports for the abduction. Sgt. Elias has not been able to speak to his children in over 9 years.
· Jeffery Morehouse has a custody order in Washington State that has been repeatedly recognized by courts in Japan—but he still cannot get access to his son who was abducted in 2010.
· Navy Capt. Paul Toland’s daughter was taken from him in 2003; he is his daughter’s only living parent, and yet he cannot visit her in Japan or even speak to her.
· Randy Collins’s son, Keisuke, has been abducted since 2007 and his ex-wife, Reiko Nakata Greenberg Collins, is on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for Parental Kidnappings and has a Red Notice issued by Interpol—but Japan makes no effort to resolve the abduction.
“These parents have done everything that they can to reunite with their children, and desperately need the State Department to fully implement the Goldman Act,” Smith said.
Smith’s 2014 law, the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (P.L. 113-150), created the annual report by the State Department on each country’s efforts, or lack thereof, to cooperate with the United States in the resolution of abduction cases.
“While disappointed that Japan was omitted from the list of non-compliant countries, there are other remedies that my Goldman Act gave the State Department to resolve pre-Hague Convention child abduction cases,” Smith said. “I am determined to keep pushing the Administration so they will employ these other tools such as reaching bilateral agreements, and a memoranda of understanding as ways to bring these children home.”