Child abduction to and within Japan: Movie screening of “From the Shadows” and seminar on April 9 in Tokyo
Child abduction to and within Japan: Movie screening of “From the Shadows” and seminar
John Gomez - Special Contribution
Modern Tokyo Times
On Monday April 9, 2012, a seminar on the issue of child abduction to and within Japan will be held in Tokyo. This event has been supported by the Harvard Club of Japan. Filmmaker David Hearn and I are co-hosts of this event
The issue of child abduction in Japan has become one of the most important domestic social topics in Japan today, and its priority in foreign affairs has now been raised to one of the five top-level bilateral issues between the US and Japan. At the UN General Assembly bilateral meeting on Sept. 21, 2011, President Obama asked Prime Minister Noda to proceed with joining the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and resolve existing cases. This occurred as the result of a world-wide human rights movement. On January 6 this year, Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell stated while visiting Japan that more progress is needed.
At the seminar, there will be networking sessions with government officials and diplomats of Japan and several countries to create a convivial atmosphere where constructive discussion can take place. Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Kazuyuki Hamada will give the welcoming speech. People will be flying in from countries around the world such as China, Australia, Norway, and the US to attend the event.
In the afternoon, the issues will be explored in a panel discussion. Panelists include Colin Jones JD, Dr. Akiko Ohnogi, and left-behind mother Kirsten Snipp. The panel discussion will have simultaneous interpretation in Japanese. The purpose of the seminar is to improve understanding and facilitate discussion about this human rights issue with the aim of considering constructive solutions for reuniting left-behind parents with their children. I am a member of the Harvard College Class of 1983 who has been working on the issue in both the US and Japan with left-behind parents and government officials from several countries around the world.
In the evening, there will be a screening of “From the Shadows,” a documentary film about child abduction to and within Japan that focuses on the efforts of five left-behind parents to see their abducted children. Two are mothers; one is Japanese. Two fathers are the sole-surviving parent, yet they have no access to their respective children. Two parents in the film, Paul Wong and Rina Furuichi, will participate in the discussion. In November 2011, by invitation from U.S. Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, the directors screened “From The Shadows” on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, and the film has appeared on CNN, ABC News, and the Today Show. This will be a private screening and fundraiser in the evening with open discussion about the film to follow. Please note that the current version is mostly in English without Japanese subtitles. David Hearn will answer questions. The website and trailer are at:
Please note: Reporters and media people may watch the movie, but they are prohibited from writing or making a media story about the movie in an official capacity for their work. It is a private screening and fundraiser for a work in progress. No pictures, video, or audio recording of this screening is permitted. Thank you for your cooperation.
The seminar will serve as the launch of activities to advance the process of resolving the abduction issue.
firstname.lastname@example.org contact John Gomez for full details of the event
DATE: April 9, 2012 13:00 – 17:00 and 18:00 – 21:00
ADMISSION: 4,000 yen for movie (6:30 pm), and/or 4,000 yen for seminar (3 pm), 8,000 yen in total (50% discount for students).
REGISTRATION: Please register by e-mail to address below.