Children in Japan spend time with both parents.

Hi, my name is Catherine Henderson, a mother and teacher from Australia.

I'm seeking funds to help raise awareness about the outdated family law system in Japan. Many parents and children are permanently cut off from each other each year due to separation and divorce and often this is the result of parental abduction. Yes, that's right, one parent takes the children from the family home without the knowledge or permission of the other parent. Imagine coming home one day from work and finding your home empty, furniture and belongings gone and your children are nowhere to be seen.

This happened to me, and unfortunately, this or something similar happens to way too many parents in Japan. And you may be thinking that the Japanese courts wouldn't accept this practice, but they do. Not only is this practice considered legal, the courts tend to reward the abducting parent with sole custody, therefore encouraging the practice.

You might also wonder why the other parent doesn't just go and bring their children home. Many of us are warned by lawyers and police. I was told to stop 'lying in wait' or 'stalking' my children. Some parents have even been arrested for trying to see their children.

I'm seeking money to help me raise awareness about this issue in Japan, in Australia and worldwide. I work with lawyers, other parents, non-profit groups, politicians in Japan and Australia as well as Embassy staff.

I have many plans for these donations, some of which are long term, but I have short term goals as well.

One goal is to make a non-profit organisation in Australia to help parents and children who have been affected by Japan's old-fashioned family law, to help pay for legal, emotional and strategic advice for parents whose children have been taken.

I also want to continue to help prevent abductions from taking place by advising and supporting parents who are worried about a potential abduction as well as working with politicians to make legislative change and policies to prevent abductions.

I want to blog and continue to report on this issue in both English and Japanese. This may require translation at times.

I hope you will support me so that I can continue to support parents and children.

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Catherine Henderson
Highett VIC

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