This site's main goal is to create new laws that allow children living in Japan regular access to both parents.
The law and culture of Japan do not allow this to happen if the parents have divorced or separated. The non-custodial parent has little or no access to his/her children.
Currently, the majority of non-custodial parents of children living in Japan are fathers. The culture of divorce in Japan assumes the father will not take any more part in the child's upbringing, EVEN in terms of financial maintenance! Subsequently, a lot of single mother families live in poverty, their children lose half of their identity, and the non-custodial father has to grieve the loss of a child. Every member of the family loses something!
The lofty goal of this site is to deconstruct the Japanese culture of divorce, which in turn will forge new laws. It is tacitly agreed in the Family Courts of Japan that the mother will win custody of the children. Of course there are exceptions to this rule (particularly if the mother is non-Japanese), but in Japan today the vast majority of "missing parents" are fathers. Again, this is the cultural aspect - the single mother, the estranged father. If you dismantle these cultural assumptions, I believe you can make space for new laws - particularly time-shift shared parenting and visitation rights.
FRIJ accepts there are exceptions to the custodial mother/estranged father rule, particularly in "kokusai kekkon" (international marriages) where the father is Japanese and the mother is non-Japanese. In this particular configuration, the law will favour the Japanese father in terms of custody and will "back him" (i.e. family courts will side with him and virtually be his lawyers). An example of such bias against a non-Japanese mother can be found here.
The content of this site will almost exclusively be written by it's readership via the messageboard. Also there is a petition against the current Japanese Family Court laws visitors can sign. It's purpose is to share information and make contacts. From then on, who knows? Feel free to post information if you have a missing child, or maybe you have a missing parent? If the site has enough members and content, it will become a focal point and information resource. If the readership is tiny/non-existant(!), I will be updating the "News" section on the messageboard with links to any fresh information regarding custody-related issues within Japan, so at least the content will be as up-to-date as possible if no-one else contributes!!
Already there is an excellent site that has plenty of information and advice - CRNJapan. I recommend you visit there if you found this site first - it is a great information resource.
As a non-Japanese, I have very little influence to change anything in Japan. This is not pessimism, but a reality check. However, given that there are so many non-custodial fathers in Japan who hold positions of power (Koizumi for example, has not seen one of his sons), what if you could galvanize some support from "within" Japan? A mirror of this site will soon be translated into Japanese and hopefully, with careful marketing, have at least a small readership/contribution from Japanese citizens.
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