Happy birthday, Hugo

Happy (slightly belated) 7th birthday. I hope you had a nice birthday yesterday and got to do something you enjoy and will remember; it is from about age 7 or so that you will remember things into and through your adult life. I was thinking about you and doing my best to imagine what you were getting up to, where and with whom.

You are now a 7-year old boy; I can scarcely believe it as many of your formative years are now behind you. The last time your birthday fell on a Saturday was in 2009 when you celebrated your 1st birthday.  I did not get to share your 2nd with you and, by the time of your 3rd, you were in Japan. I sent you a card and gifts earlier this week; I sent them a little later than I should have done as I could not get away from work during Post Office opening hours until Wednesday. The package should be with you by mid to late next week. Hope you like what I chose for you.

Birthday card and gifts 2015

Card and gifts as sent last Wednesday


Birthday card and gifts 2015 shipment receipt

Royal Mail shipment receipt






Parental Child Abduction: The Long Term Effects

One (male) interviewee, abducted by his mother at 11 years of age, set out after 20 years to find his left behind father who, he had been told, was violent. He described how emotional he felt when he walked into his father’s home and the first thing he saw after so many years was a photograph of himself with the rest of the family before the abduction. His father had kept this in pride of place in the home. He remains in contact with his father and left-behind siblings, but is no longer in contact with his abductor mother.

That is what child abduction does. However no parent who has suffered the destructive loss of a child in this way would wish to inflict that loss on any other parent it is not a situation that I would want to see arise.

I have not told many people that my son is a victim of international parental child abduction as I am ashamed not to have my son standing by my side. One person I did tell, and one of the first, remarked without any hesitation at all that, once the wheel had turned full circle, my son would blame his mother. I hope he doesn’t because his mother, despite her egregious selfishness, is and should remain a buttress to my son. I fear however the person who said this will be proved right, although possibly not in their lifetime or possibly even mine.

The opening quotation is drawn from a seminal report entitled Parental Child Abduction: The Long Term Effects published in December 2014. It was written by Professor Marilyn Freeman, a London academic, and Baroness Hale, the Supreme Court Justice with a background as an academic in family law, provided the foreword. In her foreword, Baroness Hale writes:

…parental abduction needs to be seen for what it is – a serious matter which can have serious long term consequences for the child and not just one of those unfortunate things which happens in families.

That must be right and is borne out by much of the rest of the report much of which is profoundly concerning and at times frankly shocking. The report is available to view at: http://www.famlawandpractice.com/researchers/longtermeffects.pdf.

The post is dedicated to my beloved son whom I last saw in London four years ago today.

U.S. official calls for direct meetings between parents, children ‘abducted’ to Japan

U.S. official calls for direct meetings between parents, children ‘abducted’ to Japan

October 27, 2015

The Asahi Shimbun

By TAKASHI OSHIMA/ Correspondent

A senior U.S. official called on Tokyo to give American parents “direct, in-person contact” with their children living in Japan during custody battles with Japanese parents under a child abduction treaty.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Karen Christensen called for such one-on-one meetings in referring to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which stipulates what member nations should do when mothers or fathers take away their offspring without the consent of their spouses.

“We believe that the Japanese central authority really does take its responsibilities in the Hague Convention very seriously,” Christensen said in a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun in Tokyo.

“When we say ‘meaningful access,’ in the end we mean direct contact and unsupervised contact,” Christensen said. “We have not yet seen that kind of direct, in-person contact that we’re looking for. We would like to see this happen quickly.”

According to Washington, more than 30 Americans have requested meetings with their children living in Japan since Tokyo joined the Hague Convention in 2014.

Although some of the U.S. parents have talked to their children in Japan through video conferences or met them in the presence of observers, no in-person, unmonitored contact has been provided so far.

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Japanese parents concerned about the risks of unmonitored meetings with their children have requested that such meetings be done through video conferences or under supervision.

“We will continue our proper support based on laws to realizing person-to-person contact,” a Foreign Ministry official said.

By TAKASHI OSHIMA/ Correspondent

London Mayor visits Japan (2)

Boris Johnson knocks child to ground in touch rugby

  • 15 October 2015
  • BBC News

Boris Johnson has knocked over a 10-year-old child while playing touch rugby in Japan.

The Mayor of London who is in the country on a trade visit was invited to join children on a mini turf pitch in Tokyo for the non-contact game.

Toki Sekiguchi was knocked to the ground and said he “felt a little pain”.

The mayor, a keen rugby fan, shook the boy’s hand and apologised.

In the game of touch rugby the person with the ball is stopped by being touched, not tackled, as in union rugby.

Slo-mo BoJo

Boris Johnson approaches Toki SekiguchiImage copyright PA
Image caption Johnson runs up the wing
Contact is madeImage copyright PA
Image caption He encounters 10-year-old Toki Sekiguchi who reaches out to make the touch
Boris drops the shoulderImage copyright PA
Image caption Johnson drops his shoulder
The child starts to fall backwardsImage copyright PA
Image caption Sekiguchi starts to topple backwards as the London mayor ploughs forwards
Both are on the groundImage copyright PA
Image caption Sekiguchi is left on the ground

He has form. He brought a child to the ground last year in a football kickabout.

And in 2006 he played in a charity England-Germany football match. Although only on for 10 minutes he stunned the 20,000-strong crowd by flooring retired German midfielder Maurizio Gaudino in a rugby-style tackle.

Of that incident he said: “When he was about two yards away I just put my head down. I was going for the ball with my head, which I understand is a legitimate move in soccer.”

In Tokyo, the pair later posed for photographs and Mr Johnson handed over a 2015 rugby ball to the youngster.

Source:  “Boris Johnson knocks child to ground in touch rugby”, BBC News, 15 October 2015

See also:  “Moment Boris Johnson knocks over boy in rugby match – video”, The Guardian, 15 October 2015

London Mayor visits Japan


That’s one way to make an impression! Boris Johnson DANCES through aisles on Japan visit

BORIS Johnson was sent to Japan to strengthen economic and trade relations this week – but instead he let his feet do the talking.

PUBLISHED: 10:35, Tue, Oct 13, 2015 | UPDATED: 10:49, Tue, Oct 13, 2015

Boris Johson lets his feet do the talking PA

Boris Johson lets his feet do the talking

The Mayor of London kicked off his whistlestop tour of the world’s third largest economy by stunning locals when he danced in the aisles of a swanky department store.

Mr Johnson took hold of professional dancer Charlotte Gooch, who is starring in a touring production of Top Hat, and led her on a waltz in Hankyu, Osaka.

He gave the impromptu display of his impressive dance moves as he visited a UK trade fair held at the shop to help launch a flagship store of Burberry, one of Britain’s biggest clothing brands.

The Shard and Harrods will also take part in the promotional event.

London's Mayor dances with dancer Charlotte Gooch PA

London’s Mayor dances with dancer Charlotte Gooch

Locals were excited to take selfies with Boris

Japan is the third biggest economy in the world. It’s one of our most important trading partners

Boris Johnson

The mayor also went on a walkabout in the bustling Dotonbori area of Osaka where he arrived in the city, stopping to learn how to cook octopus balls before trying one of the local delicacies.

His appearance caused a stir in the busy neon-lit streets, with some locals recognising the mayor and stopping him for selfies.

Science, fashion and motoring is set to dominate his agenda as the mayor attempts to build business links with Japan, the fourth largest investor in the capital where trade totalled £950million last year.

Mr Johnson wants to capitalise on the success of the 2012 London Games to promote British businesses at a “crucial moment” in the Japanese procurement process for its stint as a host nation.

London’s sporting expertise will also feature as Japan prepares to host the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2020.

Mr Johnson said: “This is the third biggest economy in the world. It’s one of our most important trading partners.

Boris aims to strengthen economic ties with Japan PA

Boris aims to strengthen economic ties with Japan

“Since the early 1980s it has been a massive investor in London. We are seeing more of it now and we want to encourage that.

“They have got £10 billion worth of contracts going out.

“We think that British companies ought to be trying to compete, ought to be offering their services there.”

Mr Johnson will later visit Toyota’s headquarters to test drive one of its most advanced cars and Tokyo to launch the new store of British fashion brand Burberry in the Shinjuku neighbourhood.

He added: “Japan is one of the world’s most important economic powerhouses with enormous potential for stronger partnerships with the capital.

“This is our chance to loudly bang the drum for London.”

Boris Johnson helps cook octopus balls in the Dotonbori district of central OsakaPA

Boris Johnson helps cook octopus balls in the Dotonbori district of central Osaka

Source:  “That’s one way to make an impression!  Boris Johnson dances through aisles on Japan visit”, Daily Express, 13 October 2015