Father Of Three Internationally Abducted Children Illegally Taken To Japan Inspires Parents Everywhere According To The I CARE Foundation

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Bruce Gherbetti, a Canadian father of three young daughters who were internationally abducted and taken to Japan's radioactive infested Fukushima Prefecture, has worked tirelessly in order to reunite with his long-lost children despite Japan's archaic family law policy.

Bruce Gherbetti, Japan, International Parental Child Abduction

Bruce Gherbetti - Reuniting With His Abducted Daugher Lauren.

Bruce Gherbetti, a loving father living in Vancouver with his three children when they were targets of international parental child abduction to Japan has inspired parents around the world by his unbowed acts and unconditional love and devotion to reunite with his children, who were illegally abducted from Canada and taken to Japan by the children's mother according to individuals at the I CARE Foundation.

Similiar to the United States, international parental child abduction is a crime in Canada.

According to court papers filed with the Vancouver, British Columbia Supreme Court (FP20097642) it took Mr. Gherbetti nearly 23 months to find and then travel from Vancouver to Japan's Fukushima Prefecture, where remarkably, he was able to locate and reunite with his three young children who previously were illegally removed from Canada in September, 2009. In the absence of his children, Mr. Gherbetti lived a life of great pain and worry: the Fukushima Prefecture is a small town located approximately 30 miles away from Fukushima Dai-ichi, Japan's tsunami-maligned 'Nuclear Power Plant Number One' located in the disaster stricken towns of Okuma and Futaba. On March 11th, 2011, after an earthquake categorized as a 9.0Mw caused the creation of a deadly Tsunami, with waves reaching over 14 meters high, Japan and its citizens quickly went from a country straddled with the crisis caused by the earthquake and tsunami, to inevitably, a country that will be long-scarred due to the nuclear disasters that ensued.

Despite the hardships that Bruce Gherbetti had had to endure, which include the pain of not knowing where his children were or when he would see them again, the father of three traveled down every possible road until that road lead him to the Fukushima Prefecture, and into the loving arms of his three daughters. Unfortunately for Mr. Gherbetti, a reunification with his children was not what the children's abducting mother had in mind, and if fact, "she wanted to erase Canada from the children's memories."

Mr. Gherbetti reunification with his daughter may appear to be short-lived; however, for the hundreds of thousands of parents around the world familiar with the criminal act of international parental child abduction, Bruce Gherbetti tremendous effort to let his children know he loves them and desires to be a part of their life has provided hope and inspiration for targeted parents of abduction everywhere. Mr. Gherbetti commented, "My children, Rion, Lauren and Julia are delightful, precious and very dear to me. I was a loving father who was involved in every aspect of their upbringing until they were so unjustly internationally abducted to Japan. They need to know that I am alive, that I love them, and that I want to be with them. I don't know what they have been told. I don't know what they believe or what they know at this point. I just want to arrive and give them the opportunity to see that I am here and to be a part of their life. In coming to Japan, I am fighting for my children's human rights. Rion, Lauren, and Julia have a fundamental human right to see and know their father and their grandmother, their uncles and aunts, and their cousins in Canada. And it is my intent to ensure that Japan allows for this to happen."

Mr. Gherbetti's first reunion with his children lasted only 30 minutes and occurred when his former spouse was not home: the children were being watched by their Japanese grandmother.

Since this time, Mr. Gherbetti has stayed in Japan, where he intends to do everything legally possible to see and be a part of his daughters' lives, while also being proactive in changing Japan's incomprehensive laws that essentially make it near-impossible for one of the parents of divorce (typically the father) from enjoying any rights of custody or access to their children.

Mr. Gherbetti realizes that what he is fighting for is his children's rights to know and receive the love of both of their parents. "None of this is about me, this is about my children," he says. "I feel what she has done is essentially denied them knowing half of who they are. It is not fair — it is simply not fair."

Peter Thomas Senese, a child abduction prevention advocate and a father who successfully reunited with his abducted child in accordance to the Hague Courts commented, "Bruce Gherbetti has empowered and inspired so many individuals within the parental child abduction community through act. Once his plans were secure, this loving father, who lives for his children, made a careful plan - including making sure his children knew he was alive and that he loved them - and left his home of Canada, ready and willing to start a new life in a foreign country so that he could be in his children's lives. When considering the political and legal atmosphere for Bruce in Japan, his willingness to endure whatever he must in order to be in his daughters' lives tells a story of remarkable love. A love I hope one day soon his children will embrace."

Bruce Gherbetti commented, "I know what it is to struggle without a father — to make your way in this life without the competence and guidance of a father. It made me realize that if I am ever in the position where I have children, I just want to emulate what he was able to give me. He was a very good man — a good father."

Japan is a country that has never returned one American or Canadian child-citizen back to the child's country of original jurisdiction and is known to be non-cooperative to alienated parents seeking to reunite with their abducted children. In fact, Japan is the only G-7 member nation that has not signed the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction which was established to protect the rights of defenseless children who have been internationally abducted by returning them to the country of original jurisdiction. Recently, Japan has made a commitment to ratify the Hague Convention; however no time-table has been established, nor will Japan's anticipated signature allow for past abduction cases to be retroactively aligned with the treaty's provisions.

"I think there is a cultural issue at play here," he says. "When the marriage fails, as far as I understand it, in Japan, traditionally access and contact with the left-behind parent is viewed as an inconvenience. It is so completely different from our Western philosophies — that children have the right to know both their parents, a right to know their whole family."

At the time of his children's abduction, Mr. Gherbetti sought assistance from the Canadian government. Mr. Gherbetti commented, "The Canadian government, though well intentioned, is unwilling to press these issues with the government of Japan, preferring instead to try to improve trade volume between Canada and Japan and not jeopardize it by demanding that Japan live up to its treaty obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which they ratified on March 22, 1994 and Canada has also ratified."

Joel S. Walter, a father and attorney practicing international family law in New York City commented, "Mr. Gherbetti's decision to travel to Japan, where it is my understanding, he intends to stay so that his children will know his love speaks admirably of the man Bruce obviously is. His interests are directed toward his children. He clearly wants what is best for them, and that clearly is having such a loving and devoted father in their life. And undeniably, as a parent myself, when I come to learn of the dedication of men like Bruce, it inspires me to be the best parent I can be, too."

Eric Kalmus, Co-founder of the Japan Children's Rights Network stated, "Mr. Gherbetti's children are at the mercy of a court system that does not involve trained psychologists, nor consider the possibity of child abuse by a Japanese parent when rendering decisions. It is apparent that the love he shares with those girls has not, and will not be shattered by Japans lack of proper children's rights protection. Japan must make swift change to their antiquated family law system so that loving families like the Gherbetti's are not ripped apart by the abuse of parental abduction."

Bruce Gherbetti stated, "Japan needs to change domestic law in order to have a joint custody system post separation and divorce. Japan must sign the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in its present form without amendment and comply with the spirit and intent of the convention. Japan must resolve all outstanding cases of international child abduction as they have said they will not make their accession to The Hague Convention retroactive. Lastly, Japan must ensure to enforce the new domestic law as currently police will not get involved in parental abductions claiming that they are 'family matters'."
For use of any photograhps, please contact Simon Scott at:
rotty007(at)gmail(dot)com or via cell phone: +81-80-3053-1843


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Maria Gina