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Japanese Dads Trying to Start a Fathers’ Rights Wave There | Glenn Sacks on MND

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Single Parenting, UNCRC, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on October 12, 2009 at 6:09 pm
Sunday, October 11, 2009

By Robert Franklin, Esq.

OK, so it’s worse in Japan.

As this article shows, Japanese divorce law, while nicely gender-neutral in its wording, results in mothers being the overwhelming majority of custodial parents after divorce (Fox News, 10/8/09).  The real difference between Japanese divorce law and that of the U.S. and other western nations is that, post divorce, only one parent is permitted custody.  That is, there’s no “joint custody,” which in the U.S. typically means one parent with physical custody and the other with visitation rights.

And it should come as no surprise that, in Japan, the parent with custody is the mother in 90% of cases.  That leaves fathers who want a relationship with their children and children who want a relationship with their father out in the cold.  From what the article says, neither seems to have any rights to contact with the other.  One father discussed in the article, Masahiro Yoshida, asked a family court for visitation rights with his daughter and was turned down.  Post-divorce family law places the power to grant or deny father-child contact squarely in the hands of the mother.

Now, that may seem like merely the official version of what happens unofficially here in the U.S.  Indeed, at first blush, it’s possible to say that the Japanese are just more honest than we are.  They prefer maternal custody.  Period.

We, on the other hand, make many plaintive bleats about connecting fathers with children.  We occasionally even acknowledge that children are better off with two parents than one.  But then we turn around and give primary custody to mothers 84% of the time.  (Is that so different from the 90% maternal custody in Japan?)  We make a show of granting visitation to fathers, but then don’t enforce the orders.  So children are denied their fathers just as surely as in Japan, just more hypocritically.

And that’s just one of many ways that we too place almost all power over children in the hands of mothers.  From conception through age 18, any single mother with two brain cells can manage to keep a child from its father legally and without too much effort.

But in fact, even the U.S. seems to be ahead of Japan in fathers’ rights issues.  Fathers here are becoming more assertive about their rights and courts are starting to listen.  The huge mass of sociology about the benefits of fathers to children is becoming more widely known and acknowledged.  The words “equally shared parenting” are becoming common too.

Fathers in Japan are starting to get the message.  As the linked-to article says,

Yoshida has banded together with other divorced fathers to form a support group, one of several that have sprung up in recent years.

A few lawyers and lawmakers have showed support for their cause. A bar association group is studying parenting and visitation arrangements in other countries such as Australia.

That’s a long way from an effective movement, but with the rest of the industrialized world moving in the direction of greater protection for the father-child bond, can Japan be far behind?

Japanese Dads Trying to Start a Fathers’ Rights Wave There | Glenn Sacks on MND.

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