Shoreline father hopeful Trump will help force return of abducted son
As another Father’s Day approaches, the pain continues for Jeffery Morehouse.
A U.S. court granted the Shoreline man legal custody of his then 7-year old son Mochi because his then-wife had been found to be abusive and an alcoholic.
A judge limited the Japanese national to supervised visitations and prohibited her from getting a visa to travel with the boy out of the country.
But on Father’s Day 2010, she took the boy to Portland illegally during what was supposed to be a brief visit, fraudulently obtained a visa, and immediately fled with him to Japan.
He hasn’t seen or heard one word from his son Mochi since.
“I don’t give up. I’m never going to give up,” Morehouse said via phone from Washington DC, where he was again calling on lawmakers and the Trump Administration to pressure Japan to follow the law and force his wife to return Mochi to America.
Morehouse heads the non-profit Bring Abducted Children Home, an organization he co-founded to help raise awareness of the issue.
“I had my US legal custody order recognized by the Japanese courts in 2014. They recognized in their own courts that it has a legal effect there. However, there’s no current mechanism to actually enforce it and return Mochi to my custody,” Morehouse said.
The Japanese government has repeatedly ignored his pleas.
“What’s even more heartbreaking to me now: in addition to my own personal case, my own personal story is each year meeting new parents and new families that are torn apart by this crisis.”
More than 400 American children have been abducted to Japan. Despite repeated attempts to get the Obama administration to act on their behalf, his and other parents’ pleas fell on deaf ears.
In recent weeks, they’ve found some support in a place he didn’t expect — the Trump administration.
“We had a meeting there last month in the White House … with staff very close to Ivanka Trump and the president. We’re very hopeful this will continue to gain traction in the White House that will lead to those next steps.”
The biggest step: using the presidential bully pulpit to pressure Japan into taking action.
“I think that type of criticism, especially coming from the president towards Japan, would mobilize the Japanese government to have to create a response. And the appropriate response would be returning Mochi and the other kids that have been kidnapped there. Especially the cases that are so black and white from a legal perspective,” he said.
In the meantime, he continues his own shuttle diplomacy along with a number of other parents of abducted children.
Last week, Morehouse spoke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and addressed a conference focused on the issue at the US Institute for Peace in the nation’s capitol.
As Morehouse contemplates another Father’s Day without his only child, he remains steadfast in his efforts, despite the ongoing stonewalling by the Japanese government.
“It doesn’t end until the children come home,” he said.