Child abduction to and within Japan: Movie screening of “From the Shadows” and seminar

Invitation for event supported by the Harvard Club of Japan (Screening and Seminar)

DATE: April 9, 2012 13:00 – 17:00 and 18:00 – 21:00

Child abduction to and within Japan: Movie screening of “From the Shadows” and seminar

Please join us Monday April 9 at the Tokyo Foundation to watch a private screening of the documentary movie “From the Shadows,” (work in progress), and attend a seminar about child abduction to and within Japan. Filmmaker David Hearn and left-behind parent John Gomez will present the issue from their perspectives.

PLACE : The Nippon Foundation Bldg, 3F, Tokyo Foundation, Akasaka [Map]

ADMISSION : 4000 yen for movie (6:30 pm), 4000 yen for seminar (3 pm), 8000 yen in total

REGISTRATION: Please register by e-mail to the address below.


Child abduction to and within Japan has become one of the most important social topics in Japan today. Its priority has now been raised to one of the five top-level bilateral issues between the US and Japan. At the UN General Assembly meeting on Sept. 21, 2011, President Obama asked Prime Minister Noda to proceed with joining the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and resolve existing cases. This occurred as the result of a world-wide human rights movement. On January 6 this year, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell stated while visiting Japan that more progress is needed.

On April 9, 2012, a symposium on the issue of child abduction to/within Japan will be held at the Tokyo Foundation.

1:00 – 3:00 pm reception and networking

3:00 – 5:00 pm panel discussion seminar

5:00 – 6:00 pm networking and dinner

6:30 – 9:00 pm movie screening and discussion, (Please arrive between 6:00 – 6:30 pm)

“From the Shadows” is a documentary film about child abduction to/within Japan that focuses on the efforts of five left-behind parents to see their abducted children. Two are mothers; one is Japanese. Two others are the sole-surviving parent, yet they have no access to their child. In November 2011, by invitation from U.S. Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, the directors screened “From The Shadows” on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, and the film has appeared on CNN, ABC News and the Today Show. This will be a private screening and fundraiser in the evening with open discussion about the film to follow. Please note that the current version is mostly in English without Japanese subtitles. Filmmaker David Hearn will answer questions. The website and trailer are at:

A panel discussion and Q&A session about various aspects of the child abduction issue in Japan from legal, psychological, diplomatic, and political perspectives will be held in the afternoon. Parliamentary Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Kazuyuki Hamada will deliver the keynote address. The purpose of the seminar is to improve understanding and facilitate discussion about this human rights issue amongst interested citizens and government officials of several countries. One aim is to consider constructive solutions for reuniting left-behind parents with their children. John Gomez is a member of the Harvard College Class of 1983. He has been working on the issue in both the US and Japan with left-behind parents and government officials from several countries around the world.

Director / Producer