Every Child

Has Two Parents


Carlowman David Morgan has seen his children Sean, 14, and Renee, 12, just a handful of times in the last three years.

In June 2008, his Japanese wife bought three one-way tickets and moved to Japan, where dual parenting is not recognised after a relationship breaks down.

Japan has not signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, meaning fathers, like Dave, are powerless. This is his story.

“The last time I saw Sean and Renee was at Christmas when I went to Japan. I didn’t really spend any time with them then.

They are now alienated from me by their mother and her parents. The children have been wrongly led to believe I am a violent man, that I can’t be trusted and that I am a thief.

My ex-wife and her parents have totally turned my children against me in the past three years to such a degree that they no longer want to speak to me. My blog is the only way I can reach out to them and to make my story heard.

When I arrive in Japan twice a year my ex-wife and her parents, who live together with my children, refuse to answer the door and do everything possible to prevent me seeing my children.

During my visit in August 2010 they called the police and falsely told them I had hit her. She then used this as proof to our children that I was violent.

I did not get arrested. My sister was with me at the time and she witnessed I had not hit anybody. When the police asked her where I hit her, she could not show them any signs of violence. Crazy stuff, to be honest.

The last time I had any meaningful time with Sean was during my first visit to Japan in January 2009, after they were taken there. The last time I had any meaningful contact with Renee was before she was taken to Japan in May 2008.

I have investigated ways of getting them back to Ireland, only to find out that no foreigner in the same position has ever succeeded. Japan is  a black hole from which no child has ever returned

Abducting children and denying their rights  – rights stipulated in the Hague Convention – is okay in Japan.

When my ex-wife took the kids there she promised me they could come to Ireland for eight to 12 weeks during the summer, and that I was free to visit them in Japan any time I liked.

But when she got to Japan she reneged on these promises. Her parents supported her.

I want them to come back to Ireland, or better, to be free to make the choice as to whether they want to come or not.

Currently they are not free to do so. They have been turned against their Irish relatives and me… as well as Ireland itself.

Since they were taken to Japan they have not been allowed to speak to any of their relatives or friends in Ireland.

No foreigner has succeeded in persuading a Japanese court to return a child to his or her habitual country of residence as stipulated in the Hague Convention. Japan has not signed that convention.

My children live in Tokyo so the earthquake affected them. On the second day after the earthquake my ex-wife answered the phone to me to tell me that the children were okay. Since then all of my calls have gone unanswered.

Before the earthquake I knew where my children were. Now I don’t know where they are. I would like them out of Japan and back in Ireland. Even simpler, I would like to be able to speak with them freely in order to ask if they are okay.

Currently I don’t know where they are and I am not allowed to speak to them.

Sean and Renee are half-Japanese and half-Irish. They have Japanese passports and Irish passports. So far the only help I have gotten from the Irish government is when the Irish Embassy in Tokyo contacted my ex-wife after the earthquake. The embassy relayed this information to me.

I have had no other assistance from the Irish Government. They have told me that there is nothing they can do.

I would like the Irish Government to put pressure on Japan to sign the Hague Convention. I would like them to inform the Japanese Government that two Irish citizens in Japan are being denied a basic human right – the right to a father.

And I would like them to let the Japanese government know that their policy of giving sole custody to one parent – nearly always the mother – and closing the other parent out of the lives of the children is damaging to all involved, especially to the children.”

Embassy powerless to help in custody battle

Ireland’s Embassy in Japan has told a father-of-two there is little it can do to help him see his children, who were taken to Japan by their mother in 2008.

Dave Morgan, from Carlow, wrote to Ireland’s Ambassador to Japan to ask him to apply direct pressure on Japan to sign the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Abduction.

Mr Morgan’s children Sean, 14, and Renee, 12, were taken by their Japanese mother to Tokyo in June 2008.

Mr Morgan lives in Carlow.  Because Japan has yet to recognise dual parenting rights after a relationship breakdown, he has no parental rights while his children are resident there.

Ireland’s Embassy in Japan told him they couldn’t apply pressure on his behalf.

In an official letter dated March 23, Ireland’s Ambassador to Japan John Neary wrote to Mr Morgan and said: “It must be heartbreaking to be denied contact with them. I can only imagine the frustration and anguish you must be feeling.”

Mr Neary wrote: “there is very little that the Embassy can do to help your particular case.”

To read Dave Morgan’s blog, visit: www.seanandrenee.wordpress.com


The information on this website concerns a matter of public interest, and is provided for educational and informational purposes only in order to raise public awareness of issues concerning left-behind parents. Unless otherwise indicated, the writers and translators of this website are not lawyers nor professional translators, so be sure to confirm anything important with your own lawyer.

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