Signature Collecting Campaign by Foreign National Fathers (9/17)


Appeal by Foreign National Fathers
Date September 17(Saturday), 2011 13:00~16:00
Place JR Shinagawa Station Konan Exit

On September 17th, 2011, APFS and 5 fathers of foreign nationality held a demonstration and a signature collection in front of Kounan exit, Shinagawa station. The purpose was to receive support and understanding from people in Japan concerning “the fathers’ right to see their children.”

The 5 fathers who participated in the demonstration and signature collection share a common problem: ever since divorce with a Japanese woman who took custody of the child, the father never had the chance to see the child. This is because the ex-wife does not allow the ex-husband to see his child, and the Japanese law allows this. The 5 fathers can only object to this situation. The fathers think about their children everyday, whether their children are doing well. One of the participants has not seen his child for over 15 years.

To improve this situation, APFS planned to inform this problem to as many people as possible in Japan and collect their signatures, and submit them to the Minister of Justice.

On the 17th, we received signatures from 147 people. But 147 signatures are not many, concerning the size and the number of users of Shinagawa station. Some people, not only did they not show concern about this problem, but they also refused to sign. Their reason was that divorce is a problem between a husband and a wife, and that the wife may have a fair reason not to let the father see the child. Also, some people pointed out that this problem is caused by the Japanese law that applies to all people in Japan, so the fathers of foreign nationality are not the only victims.

I understand the reasons why some people refuse to accept this problem, but as a member of APFS who participated in the signature collection, I felt the need of a more persuasive argument to convince the people who disagree with this problem.

―Foreign National Fathers Seek Right to See Their Own Children―
Approximately 2.130.000 foreign nationals live in Japan. This is 1.67% of Japan’s population. Many Japanese nationals marry foreign nationals. There are cases of couples of these international marriages where marriage life does not go well and they end up in divorce. International divorce constitutes 7.7% (marriage is only 4.9%) of all divorces. It is a high number, showing that international marriages are difficult.

There are couples of international marriage who have children. After divorce, if Japanese mothers have custody over the children, in many cases they one-sidedly do not let foreign national fathers to see their children even if they want to. These foreign national fathers suffer because they cannot see their children. Furthermore, they have to face difficult legal terms in Japanese in divorce trials, which is another big problem for them. Additionally, after divorce, it may be possible that they cannot see their own children ever again if they cannot change their status of residence and have to go back to their countries of origin (previously they resided as “Spouses of Japanese Nationals”).

To seek right to see their own children, 6 foreign national fathers (coming from 4 countries, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Mali) and their friends will do signature collecting campaign. In addition, foreign national fathers appeal their feelings.

The question of children in international divorces has become a big issue in Japanese society; for example the Japanese government indicated the ratification of the “Hague Convention”.

Please support us by your participation!

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TEL:03-3964-8739 FAX:03-3579-0197
Contact:Kato (Mr.)