It was a daily ritual that Springwood salesman Daniel Wass found he couldn’t live without.
Posting a video message to his three-year-old son Sean Jukia Wass on the web detailing the simple moments in life — anything from a quick hello from Sean’s half sister Elena to a moving birthday tribute from the extended Wass family in halting Japanese.
There are more than 365 videos, filmed at all hours of the day and night showing his lost son the life being lived by his other family in Australia, a life that shows how much he is clearly loved and desperately missed.
Almost three years ago Daniel’s partner Yuka fled overseas with his then 14-month-old baby. Despite a visit to Japan to attempt to track him down through his Japanese grandparents his son has vanished.
Japan is not a member of the Hague treaty which deals with abducted children so there is little the Springwood father can do.
“One minute they were there and then they had vanished off the face of the earth,” Daniel, 35, said.
“The videos were a release so I felt, I was doing something. I’ve spent a long time coming to terms with this (and) I don’t think I could sleep at night if I didn’t try to do something,” he added.
While Daniel recently stopped recording the videos publicly — he has started a private video diary to show his son later — he has now turned his attention to other methods.
He has a petition with thousands of signatures which he hopes his local member, Federal MP for Macquarie, Louise Markus, will present to parliament. He is planning a four-day bike ride from Springwood to Canberra next year to draw attention to his son’s plight, gathering more signatures and media attention along the way and finishing at the steps of Parliament House.
Daniel’s son has been missing since May, 2010 and Daniel has been given special dispensation in the Family Court to publicise his case.
“It doesn’t just affect me, it affects the grandparents, his siblings,” he said. “I want him to know what we do, know who we are.
“I’m resigned to the part that he won’t be coming back (but) I want to collect more signatures and have this heard in Parliament. If I can make changes in Australia . . . make the Prime Minister or the foreign minister say just one word about it.”
Daniel is in contact with scores of other parents around the world in similar situations and finds it hard to switch off. His current bedtime reading is a book by Robin Bowles titled Taken in Contempt, When Parents Abduct their Own Children detailing tragic cases similar to his own.
“Robin’s own grandson was abducted,” he added.
It is estimated between two and three Australian children are abducted weekly. A spokeswoman from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said they were “aware of the case,” were providing consular support and continued to advocate “for early ratification” of Japan to the Hague Convention.
“The convention does not act retrospectively in relation to current abduction/return applications, but once ratified, we consider that current left-behind parents would be able to apply under the convention for access.”
Daniel’s petition can be found with his youtube videos (Google Jeadwass). He will be at Springwood town square this Saturday with his petition.