When you become a father your first thoughts are probably not focused on your legal rights as a father. Sometimes relationships do not progress as once believed and fathers in Texas and outside of Texas are forced to think about fathers’ rights. In some circumstances, fathers are forced to think about their rights as fathers in foreign jurisdictions outside of the United States. One American father who lives in Japan has ridden his bike 1,500 kilometers to raise awareness about fathers’ rights and child custody.
The American father has a 6-year-old son and lives in Japan, and the 45-year-old American father has been separated from his son’s Japanese mother since the boy was age 2. In Japan one parent is given sole custody and normally the parent that receives sole custody is the mother. For many sons and fathers in Japan the father-son relationship often stops when the parents break up.
Fortunately, the American father is allowed to see his son but only gets to visit his son for five hours every six weeks. The five hours of visitation time was the maximum allowed under the father’s divorce settlement and the American father only learned about Japanese child custody law halfway through his divorce proceedings. In order to visit his son, the father takes an overnight bus.
The father would prefer the system to be similar to the American system where parental rights are more equal. To raise awareness about the issue, the father rode 1,500 kilometers on his bike and spoke with government officials about the issue along the way. He advocated for officials to support Japan’s implementation of the Hague Convention which is an international treaty that guarantees parents equal access to their children.
This is one father trying to expand the rights of all fathers everywhere.
Source: japantimes.co.jp, “Dad seeks visitation reform,” Maya Kaneko, Oct. 20, 2011