Text of my email to the Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond, MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs:
|Sent:||03 April 2016 21:53:51|
Dear Mr Hammond
I understand that you will be attending the G7/G8 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Hiroshima in a week’s time. The last time that Japan hosted this meeting, and the summit that it is the precursor of, was in 2008. That was the year in which my son, a British and Japanese citizen, was born in Bromley. As documented on this blog – https://hugojapan.wordpress.com/ – I have not seen my son since 20 November 2011 because his mother took him to Japan and now fails to provide access to him. That, in itself, is wholly unacceptable, but the situation is exacerbated by the approach, or more accurately the lack thereof, of the UK government to cases of international child abduction that concern Japan prior to the coming into force of the Hague Convention.
Whilst in Japan I ask that you raise the issue of my son, and others like him about which your department must be aware, with your Japanese counterpart. I can think of no better venue as my son lives in Saeki-ku, a ward of Hiroshima city. Despite having been there, despite having sent him money, food, cards, presents and so on, I have not seen the little boy since the date he was taken there in 2011. I can make no decisions about his future, am not allowed to be his father and he is growing up without any contact with his family in the UK and without any appreciation of his cultural background and native language. All of that is as profoundly shocking as it is true.
The Hague Convention, which came into force in Japan two years ago last Friday, does not have retrospective effect in terms of its summary return procedures. Therefore I have had no effective legal remedy in terms of bringing my son home. Whilst there are procedures contained within the Convention that provide for the grant of access rights – even in pre-1 April 2014 cases – the Japanese courts simply maintain the status quo; they are, at best, incapable of recognising the concept, let alone the importance for any child, of dual parenting and are, sadly but frankly and for whatever reason that may be, hostile to foreign parents.
From what I can see, the UK government has not done anything meaningful since the coming into force of the Hague Convention to resolve the pre-Convention cases of international parental child abduction in Japan. It seems, without more, that the attitude of the Foreign Office is that the issue has simply gone away by virtue of Japan enacting the Convention. That is a wholly misguided approach. The meeting next week offers an opportunity to do something to put this right. That is why I am asking you to raise my son’s case. The Foreign Office is very quick to condemn Japan for its use of the death penalty even though that, a sovereign matter for Japan to decide about, is none of the UK’s business (unless of course it concerned a UK resident). Yet the UK falls wholly silent when it comes to the welfare and rights of my son, a British national, and no doubt others like him. That cannot be right. International parental child abduction manifestly does raise issues of British national interest as it concerns British children and that is why I send this email in the hope that you can offer some help.
I have been in contact with the Child Abduction Unit in the past but I would be happy to provide any further information that is required to facilitate my request.