BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Two European fathers who live in Japan will urge EU lawmakers this week to increase pressure on Tokyo to tackle parental child abduction by changing a law that does not recognize joint child custody following divorce.

Frenchman Vincent Fichot and Italian Tommaso Perina will present a petition to the bloc’s legislative assembly in Brussels on Wednesday to demand action against cases of so-called parental child abduction affecting Europeans living in Japan.

The two men — who both became estranged from their children after their Japanese wives took them without consent — say Japan should be sanctioned for breaching its human rights obligation under the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement.

In contrast to most other countries, Japan does not recognize joint custody of children following divorce and children often lose contact with the non-custodial parent.

In what critics say is an even more egregious human rights violation, courts often grant custody to an “abducting” parent even before any legal separation, leaving the second parent with no recourse or help to see their children.

In order to initiate diplomatic actions, the French Senate on Feb. 5 unanimously adopted a non-binding resolution calling on Japan to respect its international commitments under the Hague Convention.

EU lawmaker Geoffroy Didier called on the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in a letter dated Jan. 23 to suspend the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement which is aimed at promoting shared values of “democracy, rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The plight of left-behind parents last year also prompted French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Giuseppe Conte to raise their concerns with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, while Japanese and foreign left-behind parents have also collectively launched a complaint to the UN’s human rights body.

Several countries including Italy and Germany have posted travel advisories for Japan, warning of the consequences of parental child abductions as Tokyo prepares to host the Olympic Games this year.

Reporting by Marine Strauss @StraussMarine and Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Helen Popper

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Colorado CEO chased down Hispanic couple and threatened them with a gun after they took a wrong turn into his driveway

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what’s clicking on The CEO of an energy development company in Colorado faces criminal charges after he allegedly held a minority couple at gunpoint after they accidentally turned into his driveway while trying to…

Mitt Romney didn’t vote for Donald Trump

The Republican senator didn’t say if he voted for Democrat Joe Biden Romney voted for Trump’s impeachment earlier this year Republican Senator Mitt Romney said Wednesday that he’s voted in the November 3 election – but not for the leader…

Texas, nine US states accuse Google of breaking antitrust law

The states asked that the Alphabet Inc-owned company compensate them for damages and sought ‘structural relief’ Lawsuit accuses Google of abusing its monopoly over the digital ads market Texas and nine other states sued Google on Wednesday, accusing it of…

Chris Stevenson Can Republicans and Democrats learn to work together again in 2020?

Whether you are talking about the UK parliament or the US Congress, I think everyone would agree that cooperation is not high on the agenda. In Washington, bipartisanship between the Democrats and the Republicans has been slowly eroding for a…