Happy Christmas, Hugo

Christmas omedetou gozaimasu.

It is late on Christmas Day in Japan now; I hope that you have had a very happy Christmas, Hugo, even though Christmas is a normal day in Japan.  I remember that, when I was working there 2001-2002, I spent Christmas Day (2001) at work.

The photograph was taken of you exactly three years ago.  Hope you enjoyed your Christmas lunch in Japan as well.

Eating your second Christmas lunch in Bromley aged just over 1

Eating your second Christmas lunch in Bromley aged just over 1 (25 December 2009)

Hague Convention

This is my first post about the above subject and I know that it will not be the last one.  Despite the fact that Japan failed to sign the Hague Convention in 2012, when all the indications were that it might, it does seem that it will eventually be signed and the delay cannot be attributed to prevarication even though there has been a lot of that in the past.  This is the view of Professor Jones of Doshisha University; see:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20120918a1.html

His point is that, although the dissolution of the House of Representatives will inevitably hold the process up, as the issue of the Hague Convention has been referred to a standing committee the work done to date has not been wasted and the matter can be carried forward to the next parliamentary session.  It is also said that bureaucrats want the issue to “go away” and that the only way to bring this about is to get the legislation through and sign the Convention.

For an alternative and more cynical view, see:

http://familylaw.typepad.com/internationalfamilylaw/2012/09/japan-wont-sign-hague-convention-for-another-year-at-least.html

Jones’ position seems to be the better one because, as he states, there would be  little reason to refer the matter to a standing committee unless there was an intention to press on once the country’s political issues are resolved.

The issue, if Japan signs, then becomes twofold.  First, how effective the domestic mechanisms that Japan would be required to put in place to implement the objectives of the Convention on the ground would be.  Secondly, where does that leave those who have already had their child or children abducted prior to the coming into force of the Convention?  The Convention, once enacted, will not have retrospective effect meaning, on the face of it, that it will do nothing to help children and parents in the legacy (pre-Convention) cases.

With that in mind, I am today sending a letter to the new UK Ambassador in Tokyo to point this out and to suggest that the any bureaucratic machinery that is put in place to implement the objectives of the Convention on the ground must also be made available to those caught up in the legacy cases and that the Ambassador and his colleagues should lobby the government about this.  I will post a copy of the letter, and any reply, in due course.