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