TT-469 -- Japan to sign Hague Treaty on Kids, ebiz news from Japan

* * * * * * * * * T E R R I E 'S T A K E * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd.

General Edition Sunday, May 18, 2008 Issue No. 469


- What's new
- News
- Candidate roundup/Vacancies
- Upcoming events
- Corrections/Feedback
- News credits

SUBSCRIBE to, UNSUBSCRIBE from Terrie's Take at:


------------------ HOW PBXL IS DIFFERENT ------------------

With other providers, expect your quotation to be
100+ lines of confusing fees and services.

With PBXL, pick a plan, then your phones.
Short, clear quotes so you know the system you're getting!

Contact us today!

Monthly seminars at Cisco HQ:



Two weeks ago, the Japanese government made a notable
announcement that may make Japan more compatible with the
legal conventions used internationally, and will be of
particular benefit to non-Japanese spouses of Japanese. The
announcement was that by 2010, Japan would sign the the
1980 Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International
Child Abduction, an international legal construct that
attempts to deal with the thorny issue of court
jurisdiction when children of international marriages are
moved cross-border, often by a parent trying to thwart a
court ruling in the previous jurisdiction.

Currently, Japan is known as a haven for disaffected
Japanese spouses who, in getting divorced, abscond with
their kids back to Japan. Once in Japan they can dare their
foreign spouses to try getting the kids back -- something
that despite around 13,000 international divorces a year
in Japan and more overseas, has NEVER happened.

[Continued below...]

---------------- Exclusive Condo for Sale -----------------

Park Court Toranomon Atago Tower

Mt. Atago in Minato City has long been an area of great
cultural and historical significance. Now this wooded grove
is also home to residents of the brand new Park Court
Toranomon Atago Tower. Graceful, distinctive, surrounded by
sublime temple structures below. Living in the sky - a new
way of life in the heart of Tokyo, starts here.

Magnificent 17th floor apartment with stunning views.
Sophisticated interior & exterior design

Price: JPY 139,800,000.-,
Size: 101.06 sq.m. (87.89 sq.m. plus balcony 13.17 sq.m.)
Locale: 4 min. walk from Kamiyacho Station, Hibiya Line

Please contact Ms. Oshima, Nomura Real Estate Co., Ltd.
TEL: 0120-664-281 e-mail:

[...Article continues]

The reason for this astounding statistic, that of zero
repatriations of abducted children from international
marriages after the kids have been abducted to Japan, is
entirely to do with the attitudes of the Japanese judiciary
and their wish to maintain 19th Century customs in the face
of international pressure. Japan has ratified many parts of
the Hague Convention treaties over the years, but in terms
of repatriation of kids, they have been claiming for 20
years now to be "studying" the issue. That's Japan-speak
for "we're not interested in making any changes".

Our guess is that the recent announcement occurred after
pressure from the USA and Canada, in particular. Things
started to come to a head about 5 years ago, when fed up by
repeating occurences of child abductions from both of those
countries, and despite court decisions there for custody to
go to the local parent, the consular staff of a number of these
foreign embassies started holding annual summits to discuss
the problem. These discussions escalated to pressure on
foreign governmental agencies and politicians in some of
Japan's biggest trading partners -- and finally someone
spoke to the Japanese government at a sufficiently high
enough level to get their attention.

The subject became especially sensitive when the Japanese
were at the peak of their indignation over the North Korean
abductions of Japanese citizens several years ago, and were
seeking international support. All the while, Japanese law
allowed similar types of abductions here.

In case you're not up on the state of play, there were
44,000 international marriages registered in Japan in 2006,
and probably a good percentage of that number again of
Japanese marrying overseas but not bothering to register
back in Japan. The divorce rate within Japan is about 30%,
and for Japanese living overseas (take the US as an
example), it is typical of the local population, so more
like 50%-60%. Thus there are a lot of international
separations -- many of which are not amicable.

But it's when the kids are involved that things start
getting really nasty. Usually in the case of a divorced
international couple going to court overseas and after
custody is awarded, if one of the parents fears a possible
adbuction situation, the couple can be placed under a
restraining order not to travel without the other spouse's
consent. The USA, Canada, Australia, and UK all do this.
The kids' passports will often be withheld as well.
Unfortunately, there have been a number of cases where the
Japanese spouse then "loses" the kids Japanese passports
and applies to the local consulate for replacements -- only
to hop a flight back to Tokyo a few hours later, with the
kids in tow.

Once in Japan, the jurisdiction suddenly falls to the
Japanese courts, even if there is a foreign arrest warrant
out for the absconding partner, and in several cases, even
if there is an Interpol arrest warrant out. In Japan,
there is no concept of joint custody, and the partner
allowed to keep the kids is the one that has held them for
the previous few months.

The courts' opinion here is that kids need a stable
environment, and the act of being the only guardian for a
period of time, even if that guardian was in hiding,
qualifies for this -- unless the kids are under 5 years
old, in which case they will typically be returned to the
mother (if the father is the abscondee), or to the father
if the mother has deceased. But not always. There are
cases where the Japanese mother has died and the
Japanese grandparents have kept the kids, instead of
returning them to the foreign father. You can read more
about this sad state of affairs at

You won't believe that this kind of thing is still going on
in a first-world country like Japan in the 21st century.

The Japanese court attitude thereby encourages Japanese
spouses wanting to hang on to their kids to hightail it
back to Japan and lie low for 6 months. Currently there has
been no case, even after the Japanese Supreme Court has
awarded rightful custody to the foreign parent, where
that aggrieved foreign parent has been able to go get their
kids back. The reason is quite simply that Japan doesn't
have a mechanism for properly enforcing civil suit
judgments, and typically a breach of an order in a civil
suit does not result in the offender being subject to a
subsequent criminal suit.

Thus, the Hague Convention on child abduction provides a
mechanism whereby if children are illegally removed from
their country of habitual residence, they must be
returned, and the jurisdiction for subsequent court
decisions is taken out of the hands of the Japanese courts.
This is the first step in making international court
rulings involving kids, stick.

We believe that this is going to be a long and slow
process, but once the treaty is signed and the first few
cases start to be heard, either the kids involved will be
returned or the parent trying to hang on to them will
create an international brouhaha that will highlight to the
world the lack of protection of rights for international
parents here in Japan. Who knows, maybe this will start
another process -- that of allowing foreigners actually
residing within Japan to also regain the simple right of
access to their children after a divorce.

But in reality we think this level of change will take
several more generations and a lot more foreigners living
in Japan to achieve...

...The information janitors/


------ IronKey - The World's Most Secure Flash Drive ------

* Available in Japan, exclusively through LINC Media BiOS *

The IronKey - more than just a USB flash drive. Rather, a
skillfully-crafted collection of security technologies
assembled to protect your valuable information, your
identity and all aspects of your digital life, whether you
are online or on-the-go.

IronKey's designers are experts in information security,
with years of experience fighting online fraud and identity
theft. Now their industry-leading flash drive is quickly
becoming a staple in governments and corporations
throughout the world, where protecting the confidentiality
and integrity of digital content is of paramount importance.

With the IronKey you can be absolutely sure that your
company's confidential information is kept secure no matter
where you are.

1GB, 2GB, 4GB and 8GB
Personal, Basic and Enterprise (Coming Soon!)

To learn more, visit
or contact us at

+++ NEWS

- Coin-sized fuel Cell
- Construction firm bankruptcies on the rise
- Japan surplus stockpile to hit the market
- Hitachi Joho to resell CDC Software enterprise products
- Japan hedge fund shuts down

-> Coin-sized fuel Cell

Sharp has announced that it has developed a fuel cell about
the same size as a coin-sized lithium battery, to power
toys and portable digital electronics. The cell runs on
methanol and has a power density of 0.3W/cc. (Source: TT
commentary from, May 16, 2008)

-> Construction firm bankruptcies on the rise

Teikoku Databank has said that there has been a 41% surge
in the number of bankruptcies of construction firms leaving
behind debts of JPY10m or more. In April there were 274
such bankrupties, with total debts of JPY72.2bn. TDB says
that many of the failed firms are small regional
contractors, indicating a serious systemic problem in the
industry. The expectation is that the fall-out will spread
to subcontractors and suppliers. Japan has 520,000
construction firms overall. (Source: TT commentary from, May 16, 2008)

-> Japan surplus stockpile to hit the market

It is a little known fact that trade friction between the
US and Japan some years ago has caused Japan to build up a
massive stockpile of unwanted but WTO mandated purchases of
US-grown rice. Currently Japan is obligated to buy millions
of tons of US rice a year, that is mainly sold as animal
feed, and has 1.5m tonnes in storage that it doesn't want.
Experts say that if this surplus is released on to the
world markets, as it appears the WTO will allow, then the
global rice shortage will disappear overnight and the price
of rice will fall by as much as 50% by June. (Source: TT
commentary from, May 16, 2008)

-> Hitachi Joho to resell CDC Software enterprise products

Hitachi Joho, a major Japanese SI firm and subsidiary of
the Hitachi company, has announced that it will become a
reseller for CDC Software products, concentrating in
particular on sales of Ross Enterprise ERP and Pivotal CRM
solutions. The announcement comes at a time when CDC
Software has reorganized its distribution channel in Japan
and is taking a more active role in growing and servicing
the Japan market. ***Ed: What is particularly interesting
about this announcement is that while ERP and CRM were
over serviced markets 18 months ago, the various mergers of
US and European players in the two sectors has
significantly thinned the number of competitors active in
Japan.** (Source: TT commentary from,
May 16, 2008)

-> Japan hedge fund shuts down

Although it's hard to imagine another year as bad for
Japan-focused hedge funds as 2007, 2008 hasn't
started out too well either, and at least one fund this
month, Swiss-owned Hedge Vision Japan have decided
to call it quits. The long/short fund was a good performer,
in the top 25% of results for 2007, however, the
uncertainty of January caused its assets to drop 14% and
the major investor, a British firm, decided it had had
enough of the Japan markets and pulled out. (Source: TT
commentary from, May 16, 2008)

NOTE: Broken links
Many online news sources remove their articles after just a
few days of posting them, thus breaking our links -- we
apologize for the inconvenience.

--------NEW GADGET BLOG: TEKRONOMICON.COM------------------

In collaboration with Gadget Watch, Gadget blog
Tekronomicon offers a detailed look at select gadgets -
shiny and strange, from gizmo ground zero in Tokyo. See the
gadgets introduced in Gadget Watch, with photos and more



=> LINC Japan Ltd., an affiliate of the LINC Media group,
is actively marketing the following positions for market
entry customers setting up in Japan, as well as other
employers of bilinguals.


BiOS is urgently searching for quality Trilingual
Candidates - Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese and English - for
a Technical Support Manager position at the Tokyo office of
a multinational software company. The right candidate will
be responsible for building, driving and growing a
multinational software support & customer service team.

This is an excellent opening for someone with a
multilingual background, strong technical experience in CRM
software applications or ERP implementation, and a clear
understanding of customer support standards. An ideal
chance for someone well-organized and prepared for a career
in technical support management, this is your opportunity
to become part of a fast growing company with networks and
resources all over Japan, Asia and the world.

Remuneration is JPY8m - JPY10m per year.


- Senior Professional Services Director, JPY8m - JPY10m
- CRM System Web Application Developer, JPY8m - JPY10m
- Data Center Operatives, JPY3.5m - JPY5m
- Voice, Web and Unix Integration Engineers, JPYneg.
- Level 1 and 2 Helpdesk, JPY3.5m - JPY5m

Interested individuals may e-mail resumes to:

** BiOS Job Mail

Every 2 weeks BiOS sends out a regular communication to its
job seeking candidates, called BiOS Job Mail. Every edition
carries a list of BiOS's current and most up-to-date
vacancies, with each entry featuring a short job
description and a direct link to the main entry on the BiOS
home page. Regardless of whether you are unemployed and
searching, thinking about a career change, or just curious
to know if there is something out there that might suit you
better, the BiOS Job Mail newsletter is an easy and
convenient way for you to stay informed. If you would like
to register for the BiOS Job Mail, or to find out more,
please email

Interested individuals may e-mail resumes to:



------- Marcus Evans Events - Supported by J@pan Inc ------

Compensation and Benefits Forum, 27th – 28th May, Tokyo
This event provides Japanese firms the 'how-to' of
investing in their employees to sustain their businesses.
Supported by JSHRM

3rd Annual LNG World, 15th – 16th July 2008, Tokyo
This event focuses on key operational aspects of LNG
business and current market dynamics to succeed in this
competitive market.

Leveraged Finance Japan, 29th – 30th July 2008, Tokyo
This event provides the opportunity for participants to
assess the buyout & leveraged buyout activities in Japan.

'J@pan Inc readers are entitled to a 10% discount upon
registration with Ms. Esther Wong.'
Contact: +603 2723 6736 Email:

------ Free Seminars on Web Application Security ----------

InnoSoft Japan K.K. is organizing a series of free
technical training seminars led by one of India's foremost
experts in the field of e-security, Mr. Vijay Mukhi.
The seminars will be run from 6:30-8:00 p.m. over four
consecutive days as follows:

-May 19: SQL Injection Attacks

-May 20: Cross Site Scripting (CSS) Attacks

-May 21: Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF) Attacks

-May 22: Computer Forensics - E-mail Header Analysis

These seminars are suited for software developers and
architects, information security professionals, system and
network administrators, and other IT professionals. Persons
interested in developing a technical understanding of these
common threat vectors and how to mitigate the risks
associated with them are encouraged to attend.

To register, please visit and
complete the online registration form or e-mail your
registration request to
For further information please e-mail or call 03-6868-3000.

--------------- Start a Company in Japan ------------------

Entrepreneur's Handbook Seminar: May 31st 2008

If you have been thinking about setting up your own
company, find out what it takes to make it successful,
especially with the recent law changes in Japan. Terrie
Lloyd, founder of 13+ start-ups in Japan, will be giving
an English-language seminar and Q&A on starting up a
company in Japan.

This is an ideal opportunity to find out what is involved,
and to ask specific questions that are not normally
answered in business books. All materials are in English
and are Japan-focused.

Events announcements are priced at JPY50,000 per week.
For more information, contact sales at



In this section we run comments and corrections submitted
by readers. We encourage you to spot our mistakes and
amplify our points, by email, to

-> No corrections or feedback this week.

---------- Metropolis and Party --------------

Metropolis-Tokyo's favorite lifestyle magazine and - Japan's premier English language learning
website - join together on June 14, 2008 to bring you
The Metropolis and Party.

Roppongi hotspot Alife will host over 500 revelers for an
evening of fun with people from different backgrounds
coming together to eat, drink and make friends!

Tel: Metropolis(Will Thompson) 03-45502759.
Nearest stn: Roppongi.




SUBSCRIBERS: 11,714 as of May 18th, 2008
(We purge our list regularly.


Written by: Terrie Lloyd (

HELP: E-mail
with the word 'help' in the subject or body (don't include
the quotes), and you will get back a message with

Send letters (Feedback, Inquiries & Information) to the
editor to

For more information on advertising in this newsletter,

Get Terrie's Take by giving your name and email address at, or go
straight to Mailman at:


Copyright 2008 Japan Inc. Communications Inc.

________________Japan Inc is worth every penny!____________

J@pan Inc is Japan's only English-language business magazine.
Authoritatively chronicling business trends in Japan, each
beautifully designed full-color issue brings you in-depth
analysis of business, people and technology in the world's
second largest economy. Don't miss another issue! JPY 3,600
for 1 year (12 issues) JPY 8,000 for 2 years (24 issues issues)JPY 15,000
Visit to subscribe.

Terrie mailing list



It is good to see this story getting more exposure. I have blogged about it and will continue to do so here in the hopes that this situation will change.