The following are readers’ responses to the Nov. 8 Zeit Gist column headlined “My children are my everything — the reason I’m alive” by Simon Scott. The story followed Canadian Bruce Gherbetti on a surprise visit to his estranged wife’s home in Fukushima in the hope of visiting his children, whom he hadn’t heard from in two years.
Japanese must live by our rules
When the Japanese come from their country and start families in other places, they should be forced to accept our laws and rules; they’re good enough for us, so what makes them so much better that they can’t do the same?
We live by them here, and we allow them to come here and be a part of us, and there’s no reason at all for them to take “our” children away in such a manner. It’s cruel and unnecessary.
Living out in Canada for so long, and being a parent, (Gherbetti’s wife) knew that. The difference? She didn’t care.
Regardless of “cultural differences,” this should be regarded as child abuse, because that’s exactly what it is. When people do this, they should be charged and prosecuted. Canada needs to step up and push this issue.
Clearly this is not a man who abused his children, nor his wife, otherwise her family would have denied him access (to the children when he visited).
A child that runs into her father’s arms and clings to him is not a child terrified of her father. A father who travels all that way on a wish, on a dream, is not a bad father.
This needs to stop.
Let’s fight abduction together
Children need to know they are loved by both parents. This must have been a tragedy for Bruce. The children were very young when they were abducted and I am glad to see the eldest still vividly remembered her daddy.
Japan needs to get with the times and give access to both parents. It’s hard to believe Japan still lags so far behind in human rights compared to other countries.
This story is even more gripping for the fact it’s in Fukushima near the (crippled No. 1) nuclear reactor.
Japan needs to make sure Bruce has access to his children. That’s the least they can do for any parent who has been through this situation.
We pray for you, Bruce. Keep up the fight and let’s fight together.
Sign the Hague Convention now
Congratulations on the happy reunion between father and daughter!
All of us parents, of any nationality, who have had our children abducted to and/or illegally detained in Japan demand Japan promptly comply with agreements and/or treaties signed and ratified in this area, and, in the same way, we urge the full and complete adherence to the spirit of the Hague treaty (on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction).
JOSE MARIA CACHO
Father of Jose-Martin, abducted from Spain to Japan in January 2008 by his mother
Keep this issue in the public eye
Thank you so much for publishing this article and bringing attention to the plight of left-behind parents.
My personal saga is similar to that of Mr. Gherbetti’s, except that I am a U.S. citizen and have not yet attempted to reunite with my daughter in Japan.
Please endeavor to keep this very important and urgent human-rights issue in the public eye.
Father of Kaia Rose, access denied since December 2010
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