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Offline pptoland

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Nuclear Family Security Summit
April 9-11 2009
Washington, DC


Come and help us stop the proliferation of Child Abduction to Japan!  

Events will be held in conjunction with the National Cherry Blossom Festival and immediately prior to the Global Nuclear Security Summit of 12-13 April.

Since the establishment of a fully sovereign post-war Japanese government on April 28, 1952, Japan has NEVER returned a single abducted child to ANY foreign country.  Every one of the thousands of children abducted to Japan over the past 58 years has remained detained forever in Japan, making Japan quite literally a black hole from which no child has ever returned. 

Prime Minister Hatoyama and most senior Japanese Government Officials will be in Washington, DC this weekend in advance of the Global Nuclear Security Summit, and will be attending events related to the Cherry Blossom Festival.   

Schedule is as follows:

Friday, April 9, 11 AM, Left-Behind Parents town hall meeting on Japan Child Abduction with Assistant Secretaries of State Kurt Campbell and Janice Jacobs.  Closed meeting, open only to invited Left-Behind parents.

Friday, April 9, Noon, Press Availability of Left-Behind parents immediately following town hall meeting.  US State Department Office of Children's Issues, 2100 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC

Friday, April 9, 7 PM – Candlelight Vigil – Location TBD. 

Saturday, April 10, 10AM- Noon - National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. We will be handing our flyers with static posterboard displays at Federal Triangle Metro Station, 100,000 spectators expected.

Saturday, April 10, 11AM-6 PM - 50th Annual Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival.  We will be handing out flyers with static posterboard displays at Federal Triangle Metro Station.  160,000+ visitors expected.  The largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture in the United States. 

Saturday, April 10, 7 PM – Candlelight vigil.  Location TBD. 

Sunday, April 11, 8:30AM-Noon -  Cherry Blossom 10 Miler finishing area.  Grounds of the Washington Monument.  15,000 runners & walkers. We will be handing out flyers. 

Sunday, April 11, 3:00 PM.  Rally/Protest.  Japanese Embassy, 2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW.   

POCs:  Paul Toland, (703) 300-3411, pptoland@yahoo.com
          Christopher Savoie, (615) 975-4740, savoiecj@gmail.com
          Doug Berg (703) 463-0008, dbergsan@gmail.com
          John Gomez, bac_home@yahoo.com


Offline forthelost

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Re: Come join us in April to demonstrate against Japan Child Abduction
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2010, 02:54:54 PM »
Is John Gomez the father of Hadyn? I just got his NCMEC poster a week or so ago.

Offline pptoland

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UPDATED SCHEDULE OF EVENTS - PRESS RELEASE
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2010, 09:34:07 AM »
PRESS RELEASE

Nuclear Family Security Summit
April 9-11 2010
Washington, DC

Come and help us stop the proliferation of Child Abduction to Japan!
Events will be held in conjunction with the National Cherry Blossom Festival and prior to the Global Nuclear Security Summit of 12-13 April.

Since the establishment of a fully sovereign post-war Japanese government on April 28, 1952, Japan has NEVER returned a single abducted child to ANY foreign country. Every one of the thousands of children abducted to Japan over the past 58 years has remained detained forever in Japan, making Japan quite literally a black hole from which no child has ever returned.
Prime Minister Hatoyama and most senior Japanese Government Officials will be in Washington, DC this weekend in advance of the Global Nuclear Security Summit, and will be attending events related to the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Schedule is as follows:

Friday, April 9, 11 AM
Left-Behind Parents town hall meeting on Japan Child Abduction with Assistant Secretaries of State Kurt Campbell and Janice Jacobs. Closed meeting, open only to invited Left-Behind parents.

Friday, April 9, 1:00 PM
Press Availability of Left-Behind parents immediately following town hall meeting. US State Department Office of Children's Issues, 2100 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC

Friday, April 9, 1:30 PM
Left-Behind parent luncheon.  TGI Fridays, 2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC

Friday, April 9, 3:30 PM
Rally/Protest. Japanese Embassy, 2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW.

Saturday, April 10, 10AM- Noon
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. We will be handing our flyers with static posterboard displays at Federal Triangle Metro Station, 100,000 spectators expected.

Saturday, April 10, 11AM-6 PM
50th Annual Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival. We will be handing out flyers with static posterboard displays at Federal Triangle Metro Station. 160,000+ visitors expected. The largest one-day exhibition of Japanese culture in the United States.

Saturday, April 10, 7:30 PM
Candlelight Vigil outside of Japanese Ambassador Fujisaki’s residence, 4000 Nebraska Avenue, Washington, DC

Sunday, April 11, 8:30AM-Noon
Cherry Blossom 10 Miler finishing area. Grounds of the Washington Monument. 15,000 runners & walkers. We will be handing out flyers.

Points of Contact:
Paul Toland, (703) 300-3411, pptoland@yahoo.com
Christopher Savoie, (615) 975-4740, savoiecj@gmail.com
Doug Berg, (703) 463-0008, dbergsan@gmail.com
John Gomez, (321) 352-2541, bac_home@yahoo.com

Offline M.Capestro

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Re: Come join us in April to demonstrate against Japan Child Abduction
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2010, 10:07:27 AM »
I wish you all the best of luck next week, Paul. I'm truly sorry I won't be able to be there to show my support. I just can't make things work at home / office.

If anyone from the forum plans to attend, please post pics and updates so those of us unable to be there can still be a part of it.

Offline phillyone

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Re: Come join us in April to demonstrate against Japan Child Abduction
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2010, 01:55:48 PM »
Good Luck Paul and the other LBP's !

My thoughts and prayers are with you this weekend!!!

Offline liesl78

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Re: Come join us in April to demonstrate against Japan Child Abduction
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2010, 07:31:27 PM »
My schedule is a bit complicated, but I will try to make it to at least one of the events.
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Offline pam.in.ny

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Re: Come join us in April to demonstrate against Japan Child Abduction
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2010, 08:51:22 PM »
I'll be thinking of you tomorrow Paul and all the other LBPs. Good luck this weekend and my thoughts and prayers will be with you. I hope that progress will be made and that we'll be reading about it Monday.

Offline UD_student

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Re: Come join us in April to demonstrate against Japan Child Abduction
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2010, 11:34:46 PM »
Douglass Berg emailed me stating that they are giving out black t-shirts with 'Japan: A black hole for child abduction' on the front in English and on the back in Japanese to those people helping them out.

I hope to see some fellow BSHFers on Saturday!

Offline liesl78

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Re: Come join us in April to demonstrate against Japan Child Abduction
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2010, 11:20:08 PM »
I have attended the vigil tonight, along with Grace and FC_Florida. I also met UD_student. There were quite a few LBPs there. It was great to meet everyone, I just wished it were under different circumstances.

I'm transferring the photos from my camera and will post them here soon.
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Offline liesl78

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Re: Come join us in April to demonstrate against Japan Child Abduction
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2010, 11:44:03 PM »
Photos from the Candlelight Vigil - please click to see it enlarged

     

       

    



T-shirt - front & back:

 
« Last Edit: April 10, 2010, 11:47:29 PM by liesl78 »
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Offline UD_student

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Re: Come join us in April to demonstrate against Japan Child Abduction
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2010, 12:49:15 AM »
I got back a little while ago from spending the day handing out fliers at the Cherry Blossom festival and attending the candlelight vigil. I'll post more tomorrow as I need to sleep now, but it was a great success as we handed out 6000 fliers, talked to dozens of people, and even had some Japanese people change their minds about international child abduction being a problem (mainly due to LBPs, including Paul Toland and Chris Savoie, talking to them). There was one person who stated he makes mini documentaries who I know talked to Paul and Chris and likely others. I learned a bit more about the issues with Japan and the complexities of many of the cases. It definitely made an impression on some Japanese people that Chris was using a megaphone to speak to them in Japanese rather than it appearing to just be a group of non-Japanese protesters. There were about 20 of us at the festival during the day. I didn't feel like I did much, but I can't count how many times I was told by LBPs and their families that my support was appreciated. Reading about their stories is heartwrenching, but speaking to them in person is even more heartbreaking, which I didn't think was possible before now (I couldn't go to the BSHF rally or walk last year, so I'd never met any of the LBPs on BSHF before). I'll write more about that tomorrow- hopefully in less of a stream of consciousness...

I'll be getting pictures from some other people as I chose to let them use their cameras rather than me use mine.

Offline UD_student

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Re: Come join us in April to demonstrate against Japan Child Abduction
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2010, 01:00:35 PM »
First, I spoke with some of the LBPs about if the meeting with the Asst Secretaries of State on Friday was worthwhile or alot of hot air. I was told that they felt the meeting was productive. I don't know more details, but I'm sure if any of them feel led to share here, then they will.

More about the protest, vigil and general awareness raising that we did yesterday at the Cherry Blossom:
Our location was perfect as practically everyone going to the Cherry Blossom festival activities came out through the metro station we were standing around. When handing out fliers at the top of the escalator most people took them as they thought it was map to the festivities at first (most of the people we stationed at the top of that area were of Japanese descent). While I know BSH is quite experienced at protesting, I've never been to one of those, so I figured I'd share my thoughts (and some of the thoughts the group raised) from our experiences this weekend.

The key points we realized would be best to incorporate for future protests were:
1) Having a megaphone is a necessity (even if the wind makes it squeak a bit)
2) Having a megaphone is even better when you have a native speaker of the language whose country you are targeting
3) Posterboards with fliers on them should also contain the website address somewhere either on the flier or above/below the fliers.
4) Leaving posterboards sitting without protesters with fliers standing right next to them helps draw in a crowd and then going in and talking to people after a few minutes is quite effective, t-shirts are great even when you run out of fliers as people ask you (I know most BSHers know that already!!)
5) Big posterboards with the website name and some that state key points 'Extradite Japanese kidnappers' 'Children need two parents', etc. work well to bring people in for a closer look
6) Having a shocking catch phrase to state when handing out fliers makes people more interested in taking one (likely due to the shock of hearing 'over 270 US kids have been abducted to Japan in the last decade' or some variant on the theme). Some people even walked over and asked for fliers after hearing that.
7) If holding a candlelight vigil/protest and there are two locations (ie embassy and ambassador's residence of the country you are protesting) get permits for both so the country doesn't really know where to expect you and just go to the other location
8 ) Being loud to get people's attention works on many people, but some people only approached us at the candlelight vigil after walking by the loud group and coming upon 2-3 people standing silently a few hundred feet away and asked 'so what is this all about'.
9) Expect that someone representing the embassy who you are protesting will come take pictures of LBPs with their posters (2 in this case after asking permission to take pictures) and leave (who else of Japanese descent rides the escalator up to the Cherry Blossom festival, talks for 2-3 minutes, takes pictures and takes the escalator back down to the metro not attending the festival)
10) When protesting outside the Embassy or Ambassador's residence expect secret service to be there first with you to check your permit and check things are ok and then leave. Then, after a bit expect several cop cars (including large vans) to arrive. Some in the group went to check who they were as they pulled up during our moment of silence. Representatives from the Navy (I know some, but probably not all, were chaplains) that was across the street (along with no-show NBC news despite phone calls and being told they were coming) were quite concerned about what was going on, but then one of our group (I think Chris Savoie?) spoke to them and they were reassured we were not going to cause a huge ruckus and lots of paperwork for them. He asked them to have the chaplains pray for the three navy servicemen whose kids were abducted and they said they would.

While at the festival, we definitely encountered people willing to talk, but you also could easily identify the Japanese who felt (and some even said) it was 'culture difference' as the reason for Japan not returning the children we were protesting for and didn't believe personally that the kids should come back. I expected that, but it definitely was hard to stomach how someone can be so callous to believe it is right to deprive a child of one of their parents (I know we've encountered this in other countries too). Other people mentioned that we were liars as something like what we were saying simply cannot be true. One Japanese woman refused to translate what Chris Savoie was saying in Japanese for her Caucasian husband and the wife looked deeply perturbed that we felt there was a problem with international child abduction to Japan. Sadly, they had several kids, some LBPs commented they hope he looks into the issue deeper soon. Some Japanese (and even more Americans) were quite concerned and thanked us for letting them know about this problem as they had no idea it was an issue. Many people at first thought we were talking about the sex trafficking industry and then would say 'well, this kid is with their parent, that isn't that bad'. We had one formerly abducted child, Ken Connelly, speak to how it really was a problem as the things he endured at the hand of his father were simply horrific. Other people immediately realized how horrifying it truly is for a child to be abducted by one of their own parents.

Ken did provide hope to many of the LBPs that someday, their kids would be back and parental alienation could be undone (he also took lots of video and pictures that he'll be sending me and others). He also shared how important it was for the LBPs to keep themselves healthy physically and mentally as his mother didn't receive the help she needed from a support system after Ken and his sister were gone for years that when they were reunited it was not as happy as he would have hoped. Ken added how good it was that the LBPs were able to attend protests like that to raise awareness and receive support from each other.

During the festival Tony, the Japan LBPs contact in the State Dept came by with his wife. I have no idea if it was coincidence or not as they could have just been enjoying the festival. One poignant reminder to just having meetings and not much happening (in so many cases) was that Tony was mentioning when the next meeting would be held, likely via teleconference to cut down on expenses of LBPs flying in to DC, and then a follow-up face to face meeting was to be held later. One LBP stated to Tony that you mean we should not expect to have our kids home before that second meeting, which is not going to be held for awhile. Clearly, all of these parents wanted their kids back yesterday and knowing that the State Dept isn't anticipating any of them coming back for that further length of time was quite disappointing.

Hearing what some of these kids have been forced to do to their parents and turned against them was beyond heartbreaking. Some current cases were raised to demonstrate that some of the abducting parents were abusive prior to the kidnapping. Out of respect for those parents, unless they choose to share these stories, I'm not going into details. Many of them stated they have chosen against telling their full story in public out of respect for their children as they do not wish to drag their ex spouse (or even sometimes still their current spouse) through the mud. Some of them stated that while it is hard for them with their grief, the grief of children who were close friends with the child is even harder for them to deal with due to children being at various stages of development and understanding. One common point we also discussed was how they (and I when explaining stories to my friends, some of whom are parents) are always told they are wrong, either they didn't move to the foreign country and stay their until their kid returned or if they went, they there then they are considered to be violent as they can't resolve things amicably between two parents. Since divorce is considered shameful in Japanese culture, consequently, their courts feel parents should work issues out privately and not in courts. That issue only further complicates the problem as that effectively means the courts will not enforce anything, such as visitation much less returning a kidnapped child. At Bachome.org they are hoping to add more cases to Japan soon in addition to the 15 cases (22 kids) currently posted.

At the vigil we were told by the security guard (private US firm) that someone would be out from the ambassador's residence shortly after our arrival to discuss the rules of engagement and that person would let us know if any Japanese citizens would be allowed on the property (ie, driveway outside of the gates). Nobody ever came out from the residence and as we were not permitted to walk up to the security guard (in a car with the windows rolled up in the driveway) even Japanese citizens stayed off the driveway.

Despite this police presence on both our side of the street and the other side of the street with a clear view of what was happening, that didn't stop someone from pushing me (and another person) sideways crisply stating they needed space to walk on the sidewalk. There was space to walk if they moved about 8 inches in the other direction. Thankfully, I was wearing my sweatshirt as my candle was knocked all over my arm and my hand. At least my hands aren't that sensitive since they got covered in hot wax.  I have some ideas for getting the wax off of the sweatshirt, so hopefully they will work.

At the vigil Chris led us in a non-denominational prayer, we held a moment of silence and then sang Happy Birthday to Mary Lake, who turns thirteen today (in Japan she was already 13). Her father Will was at the protests and vigil. Yet another tragic thing that was pointed out is that in Japan the age of consent for sex is only 13. We also chanted out 'Bring abducted children home' in both English and Japanese along with standing holding posters for cars passing by to see.

I was quite touched by how much these parents are willing to do for their children and deeply saddened that they had to go to these lengths just to see their own kids. Both mothers and fathers of Caucasian descent have kidnapped their kids to Japan because they knew they would never have to return with them. I am not a parent to even comprehend how much a parent can love his or her own child, but it was an extremely moving day. I was asked quite a bit what I did with BSHF (it felt strange to say I was a member as I'm technically 'just' a member of the forums and not a Bob, Mark, Missy or Christine who actually are part BSHF) and they were all pleased to hear I was going to meet with my Congressman soon (finally!). I even got multiple offers to spend the night before my 9AM meeting down there so I don't have to drive down and back that morning!!

I'm going to be late if I don't stop writing now, but if I think of other important things to mention, I'll write about them later.  Everyone on here should know that their efforts to call their Congressman and other Congressman (and the DOS and POTUS) are not in vain and are much appreciated by others. There is no lobbying firm for LBPs, it is just each person who feels that a terrible injustice has occurred and devotes time to this cause to effect positive change. We do not get results overnight, but over time we were able to effect enough pressure to bring Sean home, and I am sure there will be many others if we keep working hard and do not give up!! I was asked about if any future judicial rulings in Brazil had happened after Sean and these LBPs were horrified to hear the details of Tim Weinstein's case, which demonstrate that the justice system is still broken there. Some of the parents were married living with the abductor, and supporting their children and cannot fathom how living together as a family doesn't count as exercising custody among other details mentioned.

Pictures to follow later once I have them :-) Ken posted some videos on his facebook page already, so those on FB should be able to find them.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2010, 09:18:19 PM by M.Capestro »

Offline lovellboys

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Re: Come join us in April to demonstrate against Japan Child Abduction
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2010, 02:39:13 PM »
Thank you to everyone who was there this weekend.  From someone who wishes she was able to attend - it means a great deal to pictures and hear what everyone experienced.  Keep it coming......

Offline M.Capestro

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Re: Come join us in April to demonstrate against Japan Child Abduction
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2010, 05:09:20 PM »
 :yeahthat

I'm so glad you all had the opportunity to be there and thank you for sharing your pictures and experiences. UD_Student, thanks for sharing your feedback and thoughts for future rallys / vigils. A lot of good stuff to consider there for future events.

Also glad to hear that everyone walked away with a sense that the event was a success. It is very difficult to deal with the one-offs that turn away and dismiss the cause as a non-issue, and even more so when they begin defending the offending nation or party. We had one of those types at an event last June. I think my blood pressure hit about 200.


Offline phillyone

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Re: Come join us in April to demonstrate against Japan Child Abduction
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2010, 05:19:20 PM »
Thank you for the update ud_student! I hope this opened up alot of eyes and ears about parental child abduction!