Collective lynching by the “human rights” sect
When you return home tired after work, your children rush and say, "Welcome back!" Their small hands hold on to you tightly. You swear to do your best to take care of your dearest children. Such daily happiness is suddenly taken away. When you get home, no one is there. No furniture either. You find it completely empty. Such abductions of children have occurred a lot in this country. The one who abducts the child is a parent (often a mother). In most developed nations, such as the West, this act is regarded as a felony.
However, in Japan, child abduction is not a crime and is practiced on a daily basis under the guidance of lawyers. Suddenly, a parent (usually the father) is deprived of his beloved child, and he can no longer see his child. Despite this situation, he is forced to pay child support, which distresses him mentally and financially and often leads to suicide.
A father, Maki Sotsuda (a pseudonym), one of the victims of such a child abduction, alleges that 39 lawyers and others conspired to defame him in connection with his divorce suit saying, "They fabricated a lie that I was a DV husband who violated my wife." He filed a civil action suit against them. The defendants include lawyers, a former judge, as well as prominent figures such as NPO representatives, university professors, and former editorialists of Asahi Newspaper Company.
The complaint states that their defamation was "a systematic and deliberate offense that is completely different from normal defamation," and "The judge could easily understand how severely I was damaged mentally and financially from the accusation if only the judge could imagine that he himself was the target of such a collective lynching.”
Indeed, if the divorce lawsuit was just an expansion of a marital quarrel, it would not occur that 39 people would conspire to collectively defame the other side. That would be nonsense. The strange thing is that Sotsuda had never met most of the 39 people nor had any acquaintance with them at all. So why did Sotsuda get a collective lynching from 39 lawyers and a former judge whom he did not know? It seems that he tread upon the tigers’ tails of the so-called divorce business.
The 39 defendants, whose professions and affiliations vary, seem at first glance to commit defamation independent of one another. However, according to the complaint, "the defendants have common interests for the abduction of children by parents, which constitutes a criminal offense in the United States and Europe, and for the separation of parents and children, which violates the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They all wish these acts could be left unpunished in Japan." They seem to have contacted one another closely and set up a collective lynching of Sotsuda. The complainant provided the evidence of the conspiracy in which Sotsuda's wife (at that time) took the initiative and exchanged emails with each defendant.
Sotsuda’s case depicts clearly the problems of child abduction, which destroys the family, hurts the mind of small children, and forces the abandoned parents into a tight corner. By investigating his case, we can identify the group rigging the kidnapping business. How are judges and lawyers at the center of the group generally involved in child abductions?
Ridiculing a father who is contemplating suicide
Judges usually render custody of a child based on the “principle of continuity” (as described below) to the parent who has kidnapped the child. Lawyers recommend that parents should kidnap their children to ensure the custody of the children. This is not speculation. There is a lot of evidence.
In one women's magazine, a lawyer wrote confidently that "the first thing you have to do to fight against your husband to get the child’s custody is to take your child when leaving home." Also, in a book published by the Research Institute of the Japan Federation of Bar Association (JFBA), there is a sentence at the beginning of its preface: "there is common consensus among lawyers in divorce cases involving a custody conflict: The first step is to secure the child with the client."
When lawyers induce one parent to abduct the child and file for trial, judges are in a position to give custody to the parent as a reward. The lawyers then pocket a portion of the child support, etc., which are taken from the other parent. It is often the case that the lawyers who get advantageous treatment by judges, in return, hire these judges when they retire from the bench. The trick is quite simple. However, many people cannot see through their plot because it is hard to imagine that a lawyer, who should side with the weak, and a judge, who should be neutral and fair, actually collude in this way.
But the reality of the court is completely different from what many would imagine. There is a well-known blog by a court official which was featured in Diet deliberations. The court official ridiculed a parent whose child had been abducted. He wrote, "There is a parent who attempted to commit suicide just because the court does not accept his request. He has a delusion that the court takes sides with his wife’s team. It is really annoying for us that he feels desperate and jumps out a window of the court building. Don’t do it inside the courthouse, for it is troublesome to clean up. Oh, please do it wherever you want as long as you do it out of the court area… hahahaha”
It’s not a delusion. This is the reality happening inside the courts. The darkness of the judicial world awaits you if your child is abducted and your spouse sues for a divorce. Sotsuda cut into the darkness of the community of the "Parental Child Abduction Business” although such business is already a daily occurrence and a big source of income for lawyers. That is why he was almost completely alienated from society by lawyers and judges.
Lawless society where abductors exult in their legal victory
In regard to the custody issue at the time of divorce, there is an important case called the “Matsudo ruling”. Sotsuda was the plantiff in the Matsudo ruling. In the trial in March 2016, Sotsuda won the case and acquired custody of his daughter who was abducted by his wife at the age of two, by proposing that “I promise my wife to allow her to meet my daughter 100 days a year if I acquire custody. If I break my promise, I will give custody to my wife."
Until then, courts usually only allowed a short, supervised visitation per month between the parents, who lost custody, and their children. The decision of child custody was customarily based on the principle of continuity, where the parents, who were actually living with their child, were usually granted parental custody. Considering such a long time court custom, the Matsudo ruling was a landmark ruling that adopted a "friendly parent rule" that gave priority to "more forgiving parents" in order to enable children to grow up healthy with the affection of both their parents. It was a noted ruling. It was highly evaluated by many in the media, saying it reminded them of the folktale of the wise judgment made by Judge Ooka during the Edo Period (note: it’s a similar story to that of the “Judgement of Solomon.”)
However, the Tokyo High Court overturned the Matsudo ruling in January 2017. As stated above, judges usually make a ruling giving custody to the parents who abducted their children in accordance with the notorious "continuity principle." Under this principle, a parent, who abducts a child while deceiving the other parent and subsequently cuts off the child's contact with that parent, will be given custody. This principle is just a court practice that has no basis in law. Rather, it will invite a lawless society where abductors exult in their legal victory, and thus no other developed nation has adopted such a principle in court.
The judge who made the ruling of the Tokyo High Court adopted the principle of continuity and overruled the "friendly parent rule," and gave custody of Sotsuda’s daughter to the wife. The ruling stated that "parent-child visitation is not important. A 100-day visit may hinder the child from playing with neighborhood friends and thus may not necessarily be beneficial to the child."
In July of the same year, the Supreme Court rejected to hear Sotsuda’s appeal and his case was finalized. Even though the Supreme Court must accept and deliberate if the first and second trials are divided, it ruled otherwise. The presiding judge who made that decision was Kaoru Onimaru. She became a judge after practicing law as an attorney.
Japan called a “Child Abduction Country”
The Japanese judicial system is criticized by the international community as an abduction-friendly justice system. Internationally, Japan has become well recognized as a "child abduction country," and it is also getting recognized that the Japanese legal and judicial community are the real villains behind these systematic abductions.
The FBI's “Most Wanted Criminals” lists the names of some of the most notorious criminals wanted by the American judicial system. Among these names there are the names of Japanese women wanted for returning to Japan with their children without the permission of their ex-husbands. In the U.S., hearings about this child abduction issue have been held many times in Congress for nearly a decade. In the hearings, Japan was repeatedly accused that its justice system has not only refused the order to return the abducted children to their fathers, but also enhanced child abduction by giving custody to the abductors. The U.S. Department of State also identified Japan as a non-compliant country under the Hague Convention, which prohibits international child abduction, in its 2018 International Child Abduction Report.
In March of that year, 26 EU Member State ambassadors issued a letter urging Japan to respect the right of children to see both their parents. In June of last year, French President Macron raised the child abduction issue with Prime Minister Abe and stated that Japan’s current policy was "unacceptable." Italian Prime Minister Conte also expressed Italy’s concerns with Prime Minister Abe at the G20 Summit meeting held in the same month saying that both parents had rights to their children. In January of this year, there was an article reporting that the Australian government requested the Japanese Ministry of Justice to change its family law.
The background to these accusations by many foreign countries underlies the deterioration of public sentiment after repeated [EH1]coverage by the media overseas about child abductions by Japanese parents along with the reality of a complicit Japanese judicial system. "In France, where the tone of criticizing Japan's judicial system is dominant, former Nissan President Ghosn's fleeing prosecution is strongly supported. When Figaro, a French newspaper, asked its readers if it was OK that Ghosn escaped Japan, 77% of respondents said it was OK. One of the reasons that the tone of criticizing Japan's judicial system became so strong can be traced back to the issue of parental abductions.
If the Matsudo ruling had not been overturned by the Tokyo High Court and had been finalized by the Supreme Court, or if the Supreme Court had overturned the Tokyo High Court ruling, the Japanese child abduction business would have been eliminated by now, and Japan would not have been criticized by other countries. The notorious "continuity principle" must be discarded as soon as possible, and the court must become a place to put children's interests first. Why hasn’t the child abduction issue, which has been condemned worldwide, become a social issue in Japan? The reason can be clearly understood by looking at Sotsuda’s case.
Personal attack with fabrication of DV
Let’s return to the case of Sotsuda. Immediately after the Matsudo ruling, which upset the court's conventional practice, relentless and shrewd attacks by the 39 defendants against Sotsuda began. The following are a number of the acts of defamation committed by the defendants filed by Sotsuda.
-Defendants Chisato Kitanaka and Seiko Hijikata, co-representatives of the NPO, “All Japan Women's Shelter Network,” held a DV counselor's workshop hosted by a Cabinet Office. In the workshop, defendant Keiko Kondo, a director (former representative) of the NPO, lectured, and they distributed flyers to participants to imply that Sotsuda committed DV and asked the participants to sign a petition requesting the Tokyo High Court to overturn the Matsudo ruling. This incident was taken up by the House of Representatives Budget Committee and the Legal Affairs Committee. The Cabinet Office Minister for Gender Equality stated that the act by the workshop was "undesirable." Despite the fact that the act by the workshop was denounced by the Diet, defendant Kitanaka was selected as a member of the Study Group on Support for Private Shelters for DV and Other Victims hosted by the Cabinet Office.
-Defendant Keiko Kondo said in an interview with the Sankei Newspaper about the Matsudo ruling that “it is a perpetrator's logic that a DV claim is false. There are no false DV cases that I was involved in. I believe the husband (note: Sotsuda) had committed DV." "It was not that the wife whisked away her child, but in reality, it was an emergency evacuation so that she could protect herself and her child from a DV husband." As a result of this interview, an article was published nationwide giving the impression that Sotsuda was indeed committing DV. The defendant Kondo once expressed her logic in an interview with the Asahi Newspaper that “The fact that a woman escapes to a DV shelter is unassailable evidence that her husband did DV against her.”
-A total of 31 defendants, including Takayo Kamata, Noriko Kiyota, Hideki Saito, Yuichi Sakashita, and Masao Honda, who form the legal team for the wife, held a press conference at the Judicial Press Club after the Tokyo High Court ruling. At the press conference, they distributed "a paper written by the legal team" to the media. The document stated that “because of Sotsuda`s behaviors such as screaming at his wife, throwing tableware, shoving scissors at his wife, etc., his wife fled with her child.'' It was written to legitimize the child abduction of his wife. Because of this press conference, TV news broadcasted saying, "Wife claims her husband committed DV.”
Most of the defendants are called "human rights lawyers." Especially, defendant Kamata, the chief lawyer of the wife's legal team, is a famous "human rights" lawyer and heavyweight in the judicial community, who has served as a president of the Chiba branch of the JFBA and a board member of JFBA. Defendant Saito shows the true colors of the so called “human rights lawyers” in his book. He writes “a message for the child’s non-resident parent.” In the message, he says “even though you cannot see your children, you can be a “cool” father if you work much harder to send more child support to pull your children out of poverty. If you will send money, your children will rely on you when they grow up. Try to make a relationship with your children which last for a lifetime!!”
The underlying demeanor of the “human rights” sect
-Defendant Hiroki Komazaki is a member of “IKUMEN (which means “fathers who play an active role in child rearing”) Project Promotion Committee” (hosted by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare), “Child and Childcare Conference” (hosted by a Cabinet Office) and “Male Leaders Who Accelerate the Success of Shining Women” (hosted by a Cabinet Office) and Citizens' Council of JFBA as well as the representative director of an NPO. Defendant Komazaki tweeted on Twitter (which has tens of thousands of followers) on the day when the ruling of the Tokyo High Court was announced. “The judge cannot give custody of a child to the “morahara father” (a father who engages in harassment). It can easily be understood by a little investigation of the trial.” Komazaki disseminated false information which gave the impression that the husband’s alleged harassment was indeed admitted to in the trial even though it had never been admitted to at all.
-Defendant Yuki Senda, professor of Musashi University specializing in feminism, gave a lecture at the Hall of “Japanese Trade Union Confederation,” giving the impression that Sotsuda’s wife had abducted the child because of his violence. Defendants Senda and Komazaki have spread various rumors through the internet giving the impression that parents, who are victims of child abduction, have problems with their personalities. For example, by placing a photo of a man with a knife next to a statement that slanders a father, a victim of child abduction, they created an image in the readers’ minds as if the victims of the child abduction themselves were the perpetrators in the same magnitude as murderers. Their technique is extremely sophisticated.
-Defendant Souta Kimura, who was serving as a member of the panel of the Asahi Newspaper (at that time), introduced an article from a law journal written by defendant Kamata in the Asahi Newspaper as one of "Three articles of the month chosen by the members of the panel." In the introduction he stated that “the article can teach many things, such as the ideal form of visitations after divorce and the negative effects of the "Friendly Parent Rule".” In addition, defendant Chiiko Akaishi, who was a representative of an NPO and was also a panel member of the Asahi Newspaper (at that time), re-quoted defendant Kimura's article on Twitter introducing the article as “important." In other words, she spread fake news that there was violence by Sotsuda.
Regarding defendant Kamata's article, a lawyer in a neutral position wrote in his blog, "The fact that Lawyer Kamata attacks the personality of the plaintiff (Sotsuda) and not his reasoning (the benefit of the friendly parent rule) means by itself that Sotsuda’s argument was irrefutable.” He also said that “Kamata’s article only contains one-sided abusive language, nothing more.” As he stated, her article itself is nothing but a defamation against him. Nevertheless, defendants Kimura and Akaishi freely praise this article. It is natural to think that there is a strong connection among them behind scene.
An example of this connection is the fact that defendant Akaishi together with defendant Komazaki, on behalf of the National Association of Single Mother Support Organizations, submitted a "Request relating to the collection of child support" to the Minister of Justice on January 27, 2018. This request lists the statement such as the "support for the seizure of child support,” "Not linking the seizure of child support with the joint custody system after divorce" etc. This document shows no guilty conscience at all about taking money away from parents who have been deprived of their children and unable to see them. Further, the agent of defendant Akaishi belongs to the law firm of Fujiko Sakakibara, who is the author of a book titled, “How to forcibly seize child support.” The firm specializes in divorces and a former judge, who used to be the deputy chief of the Tokyo Family Court, now works for the firm.
Defendant Komazaki expresses his own view in an article titled, “Joint Custody after Divorce that Infringes the Right of Children” in a journal called The Third Civilization (note: an organ paper of Soka Gakkai), and ends his article with the phrase, “I will try my best together with the Komeito Party.” Komazaki’s article contradicts the recommendation to the Japanese government by the UN Committee on the Right of the Child issued last February, which states “to take all necessary measures to revise the legislation regulating parent-child relations after divorce in order to allow for shared custody of children when it is in the child’s best interests, including to foreign parents, and ensure that the right of the child to maintain personal relations and direct contact with his or her non-resident parent can be exercised on a regular basis.”
Also, defendant Kimura has spread false information about the introduction of the joint custody system in which both parents jointly exercise custody after divorce. For example, in his book he cited a ruling issued by the German Constitutional Court in 1982 and claimed that "the provision of the single custody system after divorce in Japan is reasonable." However, this ruling is a groundbreaking ruling that admitted that the single custody system after divorce stipulated in their civil code was unconstitutional and led to the revision to the joint custody system after divorce. The trick of introducing the ruling to the readers and making a false impression as if it were a ruling in favor of the single custody system is very similar to the trick of defamation against Sotsuda.
-The defendants include former judges Tomiko Asada and Tatsushige Wakabayashi. Defendant Wakabayashi was the judge hearing Sotsuda’s case and wrote a ruling in which he granted child custody to Sotsuda’s wife. After he retired from the bench, he was recruited by the law firm that represented Sotsuda's wife. He has basically parachuted into a law firm from a government office. (Note: Parachuting is the long -held practice of sending retired high-ranking bureaucrats into top management positions of semi-government corporations or private companies. According to many media, defendant Wakabayashi said, “What the Minister of Justice says means nothing to me.” when he was told that the Minister of Justice said, “It is an impermissible thing to grant child custody for the parent who removes the child in accordance with the "principle of continuity."
“Character Assassination” by mass manipulation
As mentioned above, the personal attacks on Sotsuda were made simultaneously and frequently in various places. It is a wonderful team play. The complaint stated, "The defendants felt threatened by the result of Sotsuda’s victory in his divorce trial and tried very hard for it not to be finalized by the Supreme Court as a precedent. Thus, they could prevent public opinion from prohibiting the removal or separation of children by parents. They tried to ruin the reputation of Sotsuda as a group and to completely alienate him from society." Such an act is called "Character Assassination" in Western countries and is known as a method of mass manipulation. It is an intentionally organized attempt to manipulate the mass through media to tarnish the reputation or the image of a person and to nullify his social influence by attacking his character instead of attacking his argument or action.
There is no evidence that Sotsuda was engaging in DV. The Matsudo ruling asserts that "Sotsuda’s wife insists that physical, economic, mental, and sexual violence were a cause of the break-up of their marriage and also a cause for alimony, but there is no evidence to prove her claim." It is unusual to go so far in the judgment. Unless the judge in charge was convinced that "there was no DV at all," he wouldn’t say that much. Thus, it can be easily inferred that Sotsuda’s wife’s allegations were groundless.
However, such rulings can be completely overridden by as many as 39 socially influential and seemingly credible individuals disseminating false information simultaneously. Furthermore, the complaint and the submitted evidence indicate the collusion between Sotsuda’s wife and the defendants. For example, whenever they found articles that talked about “the child abduction by Sotsuda’s wife and subsequent behaviors by the defendants to falsify a claim of DV in order to justify the child abduction,” they threatened the reporters, writers, or editors, who were responsible for the articles, with suits and had them delete those articles.
This is an act that violates the freedom of expression and is a serious violation of the human rights that infringes the provisions of the Constitution. It is ironic that such unconstitutional and inhumane acts are made by defendant Kimura, who calls himself a constitutionalist, and the lawyers, who represent themselves as protectors of human rights.
The defendants' maneuvers have been very successful so far, and the public only sees articles that are convenient for the defendants. There is an idiom that says, "a lie which is repeated a thousand times becomes truth." Those 39 people must be fully realizing that the idiom is true.
Towards a Society without Parental Child Abduction
In Japan today, parental child abductions occur on a daily basis, and false DV claims are fabricated to justify them. Parents whose children were abducted can be further labelled as DV husbands or “Child Abuse” mothers. Yet, few members of the media have tried to shine a light on this lawless society. Sotsuda's lawsuit is a ray of light to break the deadlock.
The judge who writes the judgment is in the same profession as the defendants, and thus it may be unlikely that a decent judgment will be issued. However, some judges have a human conscience, such as the judge who made the Matsudo ruling. The situation can change if many judges follow Ooka's wise judgment.
Sotsuda said that he would plan to file a petition for the change of his daughter’s custody in addition to this civil action, which began on March 10th, this year. He heard that some fathers became so desperate and committed suicide when the Matsudo ruling was overturned by the Tokyo High Courts and decided to keep fighting not only for himself and his daughter, but also for parents and children who are suffering from child abduction and separation in this country.
A society where all children can see both their parents freely after their parents’ divorce can be realized by introducing the "Friendly Parent Rule" proposed by the Matsudo ruling. If this rule is adopted by the Supreme Court, Japanese society will change drastically.
This problem of child abduction is a family issue, which is the foundation of Japanese society, as well as a matter of the justice branch, which is one of the three branches of government, and a matter of concern to all. Tomorrow, your child or grandchild may be abducted, and a year later you may sit in a court, be ridiculed by a court official, who says to you, "If you want to commit suicide, go outside and do it."
I hope that many people think seriously about this issue as if they themselves were the victims of a child abduction. Let’s stand up together. Now is the time to regain a legitimate justice system and realize a society where parents and children are not torn apart.