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American arrested in Fukuoka for kidnapping own kids from ex-wife

373 Comments

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she kidnaps them and spirits them out of the US - thats ok? he kidnaps them and tries to take them back to the US - thats not ok? there is a serious problem here.

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love becomes a tug of war with children as the rope, I agree the issue deserves attention.

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The same thing happened to a friend of mine. He's losing hope that he will never see his child ever again, so sad.

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I hate to say this, but this little episode might end up having a silver lining.

Firstly, I hope this story gets a serious set of legs in the overseas media. I would love to see the Japanese try and explain why they insist on sheltering international fugitives - parents who have kidnapped their children overseas and forcibly repatriated them to Japan. At the same time, Japan whines about those Japanese nationals forcibly kidnapped by North Korea. Sorry folks, you won't get much sympathy here until Japan starts arresting people such as Mrs. Savoie and extraditing them to the United States and other countries to face the music. Moreover, this case is not a one-off. I suggest anyone interested look at the FBI's list of parental kidnappings and see how many involve Japanese nationals.

Secondly, I hope the US Government (the State Department) takes a no prisoners attitude with regard to this international incident. What would happen if Japanese nationals going about their business in the US were accosted by the local police on the doorsteps of Japanese diplomatic missions? The Japanese Foreign Ministry would be screaming blue murder. Come on Mr. Obama! Take off the kid gloves and go for the throat.

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most women just cant hack it in another country unless they have total support systems in place

to me he was reasonable gave her free reign, and yet she can still be manipulative,,,

hey there is a chance they could work it out now?

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Noriko needs to be arrested and extradited to the U.S. for taking her kids out of the country without the father's knowledge or consent.

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Why is she called Noriko Savoie if they are divorced?

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timorborder has hit this spot on. completely agree. if i were this guy Savoie, I may do the same thing.

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I hope this story gets a serious set of legs in the overseas media

It was on CNN today -- maybe it WILL catch the attentions of some people.

The new government wants to change the relationship between Japan and the US.... this may just the way to do it.

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Japan sanctions kidnapping of children while condeming North Korea! I hope the legislation in the US passes and imposes trade sanctions on Japan until they sign the Hague convention. Japan remains a third world country in the eyes of the rest of the world!

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His biggest mistake was taking the kids out of the blue. To everyone else, it looks like a kidnapping, and that doesn't help his case. What he should have done was bring his lawyer from the US, get a Japanese lawyer, and go to the courts. Some may say that wouldn't work but hey, his way didn't exactly go well either.

I could understand why Japan won't sign, you don't want to force anyone back into an abusive relationship, but something like this needs to be looked at by a case by case basis.

I saw on the news that he believed that she would try something like this, which makes me wonder why he even let her go in the first place, he could have gotten an order to make her relinquish her passport.

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Interesting news. J woman married gaijin men (of course with intention to get out of this culture) and then things didnt go the way she expected, she ran back to Mummy and Daddy....hmmm. why marry a foreign man in the first place, when you can't bear come what may?....:)

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Has anyone seen this story in the Japanese media? I would like to read how they word it in Japanese.

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Why is she called Noriko Savoie if they are divorced?

it is common for a woman to keep her married name even after divorce. changing back to your maiden name is too troublesome and sometimes expensive.

most women just cant hack it in another country unless they have total support systems in place

partly true. i am a foreign woman living in jp with young kids. i don't have much of a support system here, and im going thru a rough time with my husband now. however, i don't want to run back to my home country (just yet) without giving it a better go, as i don't want to split the family. bad person or not, my kids still need their father. meanwhile gambaro for me. if however, it doesn't work out for me, i may consider returning to my home country, but not because there isn't a support system in place for me here, it's because i would want to go home and be near my own family for moral support.

this woman may have scooped the kids up and ran back to japan because she wanted to be near her own family for moral support. she may not have had anywhere to 'run' to for help as the US is not her 'home'. (im pretty sure the US does have a support system in place for divorcees). she may have just felt desparate.

i do not condone what she did. in fact, i think it was very selfish of her to take the kids back to jp without consent from her ex, but she may have been desparate and just wanted to 'hurt' her ex-husband.

this poor father is just doing what she did in the US. he's bringing the kids back to where they were before the divorce happened. his efforts got him arrested. her's did not. very unfair.

the victims ofcourse are the kids. poor them.

i hope they both hire good lawyers and fix this soon.

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About time someone at least tried this in order to make it an issue here....whether it WILL become an issue is highly unlikely.Hope America sticks up for this guy.

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yeah... but in the same time she is a foreigner in the US. When you dislike Japan what do you do? Yap... you leave. So now ask your husband "I want to go back to Japan with the kids..."

Answer 1. NO WAY!!!

Answer 2. Yes sure. I'll come every year to see the kids.

So what do you do? Yap... you take the kids and leave.

Forcing your wife to stay in your country that she doesn't like? Force her to love it!

Want to get married with a Japanese woman? Be prepared.

timorborder: thank you for mixing everything again. Individuals kidnapping their own kids and kidnapping Japanese to train spies is different.

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I just saw a live report from Yanagawa (where his ex-wife lives) and it says that he took Japanese citizenship 4 years ago. However, the US Consulate is treating him as an American. This could really get interesting.

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Long story short, Japan should sign on to the 1980 Hague Convention, particularly the portion titled "Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction". That treaty is how these international child custody battles are resolved, not through cross-absconding with the children! The determining factor should be what the children want in this situation. None of us know why this couple got divorced in the first place, nor do we know why the Tennessee county court initially gave primary, physical custody of the children to the mother. What the court's and the U.S. and Japanese gov'ts have to figure out is: "What do these children want?"

Now to really get you guys mad: Regardless how angry the mother's behavior may make you, she did not "kidnap" or "abduct" these children. How does a parent "kidnap" their child when a court of competent jurisdiction has granted them physical custody of that child? What? Who said she had physical custody? Every news story, including CNN and the local Tennessee stories. Both state that Mr. Savoie had weekend and summer visits under the Tennessee court order. That means the children were in the physical custody of the mother. What happened, ultimately, is that the mother violated the visitation provision of the Court's order of custody. That's a civil offense, not a criminal offense and no civil court (where divorces and family law matters are resolved) in the U.S. can put someone in jail for this violation. Chances are the only thing the civil court can do is modify the order of protection to reflect what the court believes is in the "best interests of the child" and enter some form of an order of protection. Again, the Court has to hear from the children, and the children's attorney, on this one.

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Tumbledry - Sorry, but that's weak. SHE chose to live in another country. The kids were awarded by the court TO her husband. SHE had every right to leave the U.S. - NO right to take the kids.

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The guy should not have tried to snatch the kids back. This is really bad for the kids no matter what. Maybe some good will come of this, but not for the kids.

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Now this sordid issue will finally get the mainstream media attention it merits.

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i know this family... this is very surprising. i hope the kids are okay.

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No one saw this coming? I heard this same guy complaining about his situation on a U.S. radio show last week.

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I had a friend who went through this same scenerio with wife one and wife two (both Japanese). The first one he kidnapped his son out of Japan because the wife had moved with the son into the mother's home (Soka Gakai members) and refused to let him come over, and when he did made him feel, shall we say like a gaijin/outsider. So he hightailed it one day to Hawaii with the son, who was 6 or so at the time. The son turned out miserable (obviously) without having his mother at his side. Then he met another J-girl in Hawaii, she got pregnant, and not long after did the reverse of what he did and hightailed it back to Tokyo, not satisfied with his economic situation and living status as a "lowly" teacher. This was 25 years ago. It seems J-girls like the foreigner for the "cute" kids they'll provide, but after that, say good-bye to the "relationship". Or are there some happy ones out there as well. If so, let's hear from you!

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I imagine most Japanese folks following the story are wondering why the man would even want to see the kids now that the couple is divorced. It resembles a get out of jail free card for most J-men. No more parental responsibilities.

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Has anyone seen this story in the Japanese media? I would like to read how they word it in Japanese.

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I hope there are protests in Fukuoka and this is picked up and not dropped! Injustice. And with the new law here in Japan, Japan is going to help deport you if you want to get a divorce. The new law says you will loose your visa, even permanent visa, if you get divorced. They will kick you right out of the country. Got to love BUDO Japan that everyone on this site seems to go on and on about. Racist country. Double standards. 3rd world morals. I hope this woman visits any part of America someday. Hawaii, Guam, Any US Territory. We will lock her up and throw away the key.

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Taking your kids and leaving the country w/o telling your ex? That's so ***** up. That kind of crap pisses me off. It's one thing if you've separated and don't have kids and want to leave the country, yeah that's fine. But there's children involved and it sounds like one (or both) of the parents are being completely selfish.

Parents should not be selfish. Ugh.

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JapanHusker: "The kids were awarded by the court TO her husband" from you then "The Savoies were divorced in January and the mother was given primary care of the children, while the father was given time with them on alternating weekends and four weeks during the summer" from the article.

Where did YOU find the husband GOT the primary care?

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the American courts seem to have given the father custody, and after the mother brought the kids back to japan, the japanese courts have given the mother custody...

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This whole situation is pretty horrible. Isn't there also a US warrant for her arrest for kidnapping? Japan should honor the warrant, arrest her and extradite her to face charges.

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The father had taken Japanese nationality, so they are saying that it is now a domestic case... I wonder though if he has changed back to an American national.

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Kumachan, you are dead wrong about your assertions that she had did not kidnap the children because she had physical custody of them. No where does it say in any other media that I have seen that her custody agreement allowed her to permanently take the children out of the US. What she did is in fact completely illegal according to US law (where they were residing) and that is why the father has been awarded FULL custody of the children now. It doesn't matter whether its your children or not, its still kidnapping! The father has just as many rights as the mother does in this case.

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The guy should not have tried to snatch the kids back

I would have done the same.

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The Jiji Press seems to be the only Japanese media outlet to have picked this up so far, and their brief report is based on US news stories:

http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=soc_30&k=2009093000134

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At least 70 cases of disputes exist between Japan and the U.S., but the government does not have the exact number.

Ha, bet that's its easily triple that number with the U.S. alone. The reason the Japanese government doesn't have an exact number is there isn't a reason (from their perspective) to even track or monitor this.

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It's much more often to hear, that women chose to escape with kids from the man, than men from the woman. There are reasons of course sometimes, but it seems that when it comes to divorcing and kids, women turn out to be more cruel than they ever were. I assume it has something to do with the injured pride after divorcing and the strong will to revenge for it...

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This story made me really angry. That the Japanese government will just sit by and allow such a miscarriage of justice says alot about the impotency of the Japanese government. Shame on them. Hopefully things will change, and I hope that guy sues the hell out of that B$&%%.

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Wow, and I thought my girlfriend was having a rough time with her ex-husband over their son (and she is - too long a story to go into here).

Savoie, a 38-year-old from Franklin, Tennessee

That's just to the south of me. I wonder if he worked for Nissan. If so, I may have friends and family who know him.

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Just from a legal perspective I have a quick point to raise. Do the Japanese police actually have the right to arrest this chap in the first place. Based on the evidence presented, it could be argued that no crime has been committed. Indeed, the gentlemen in question was only exercising his rights as a parent, and insuring his child's rights to American citizenship (their primary citizenship at birth as a opposed to their Japanese citizenship which the mother would have had to acquire through the provision of documents to authorities in Japan). Anyway, here is the reasoning for my argument.

The parents are divorced, but I don't see any mention of the Japanese mother having filed for or received a restraining order against her foreign husband here in Japan. As such, he could just argue that he was exercising his rights as father. Indeed, what rights do the police have to arrest a father/mother who is accompanying their child in an instance where no such legal restraint exists. At worse, in the absence of Japanese documentation (which seems to be the only documentation that the Japanese legal system is willing to recognize) this whole incident is little more than a domestic squabble.

Secondly, I also do not see any reference to the Japanese mother having filed for custody of the children under Japanese law. Again, in the absence of such a legal instrument, could not it be argued that the father was just exercising his rights of access to his children. As such, if the police have the right to arrest somebody based on the allegations of somebody else (in the absence of Japanese custody documents what basis is there for a claim of kidnapping), would it be safe to assume that every parent (Japanese, American, Martian, whatever) is at risk of having the police at their door as a result of vindictive allegations that have no legal basis?

Indeed, if the Japanese police and authorities are going to be pig-headed about this whole incident, it should be pointed out that they cannot have it both ways. Sure the mother was granted primary custody by a foreign court, but at the same time it is safe to assume that such rights to custody were declared null and void at the point in time that she was declared a felon. Furthermore, correct me if I am wrong, but kidnapping is a federal not state felony in the US. As such, if the Japanese authorities are to argue that the woman's rights to custody have been granted by a court of good standing (in this case a court in the United States), surely they will have to also recognize that such a judgment has been set aside by another court and the woman is in fact a fugitive from foreign justice.

This is going to get very interesting before it is finished.

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Japan should hang it's head in shame on this one. Headline should read:

"Japanese mother kidnaps children to Japan, blocks father"

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This is an awful situation across the board, and I find it patently ridiculous that Japan STILL has not signed onto this particular Hague Convention despite it's place as one of the world's first world nations. There is just no reason for it. I am particularly disgusted by the original Tennessee court's acquiescence to allow the mother to take the children to Japan for vacations and holiday trips, when it is widely known that Japan IS NOT a Hague signatory in regards to custodial rights. My heart goes out to this father that he felt the only remaining recourse he had left was to reclaim his children on his own, and also to the children who are caught up in this mess.

For an American take on this story, you can check out the article posted on CNN.com entitled "American Jailed in Japan for Trying to Reclaim His Children."

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Japan sanctions kidnapping of children while condeming North Korea! I hope the legislation in the US passes and imposes trade sanctions on Japan until they sign the Hague convention. Japan remains a third world country in the eyes of the rest of the world!

Exactly, Nuchinfutz. I'm sick to the teeth hearing Japanese bleat about the poor "kidnapees" (allegedly) taken to North Korea. Build a bridge and get over it...you don't hear the South Koreans constantly moaning about the hundreds more they had kidnapped.

Yet, this poor dad is treated as a criminal by the primitive, shambolic and illogical Japanese "Justice" system. This whole case will probably do immeasurable damage to Japan's already poor human rights international image.

FREE JOHN SAVOIE, YOU JAPANESE JUSTICE MINISTRY ZEROS...or relinquish your claims on being up to our Western standards in international human rights!!!

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Double standards. If the man was an ordinary Japanese guy, and let's say the wife had taken the kids from Aomori to Fukuoka, I think the police would have never moved and would tell them to arrange their "family matters" themselves. I don't say it's a solution, but the difference is spectacular. And xenophobic.

arrested by Japanese police as he tried to enter the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka with the children

This is particularly offensive from Japanese authorities to deny the right to 3 US citizens to enter their own Consulate. I'd expect a very high level protest from the US. Maybe it's a good thing. The new J-government will have to change of policy on the matter.

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Tumbledry - Re-read my original post. It was reported on CNN. Stop apologizing for Japan and see the story for what it is...

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I'm not sure I agree with HOW the guy went about this, but I can definitely see WHY he did it, and I'm sorry to say, I think it was a good thing. Normally I would NEVER say such a thing, but I think in no way did the father intend to harm them, and ultimately this is already getting a WHOLE lot of media attention. If it can get even more then maybe indeed Japan will be pressured to sign the conventions and have to ultimately to deal with the issue of its nationals spiriting children away.

And yes, of course, I'll bring up the aforementioned point that the Japanese whine and lament the NKoreans spiriting Japanese away when the Japanese shelter their nationals who do the same -- entirely the same thing, and pure hypocrisy.

Ultimately, what's important is that the kids are safe, and should be encouraged to express their views on where they want to be (NOT pressured to say so by any given media -- ie. Japanese or American).

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Tumbledry - I don't know. Maybe I mis-heard it, maybe not. That is what I THOUGHT I heard from the CNN report anyway. I will try to catch it again.

It really doesn't matter though. Once a parent is awarded even the most paltry of visitation rights, that is a court order and is the law. Disappearing without word of permission is a crime.

I am quite sure she was very well aware of this whole "Japan's refusal to sign the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction" thingy, and that is why she high-tailed it back for protection like the spineless, conniving coward she (and the rest of the J-women who have done the same to their non-Japanese hubbies/ex-hubbies) is.

It happens all too often, and is total bullsh*t.

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saseboni

Who knows if the father is a decent, upright citizen or not? We certainly can't know based on this article. Maybe he was abusive and a real loser. Who knows?

Whitehawk

Whoopie doo if you might have friends and family who know him. That is so irrelevant, it's not funny. Doesn't help him or us...!

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Whatever your feelings maybe, the guy broke the law. Kidnapping is kidnapping. Now the mother may have broken US laws, but this isn't the US. The law at the moment, is kidnapping, he forcefully kidnapped someone.

This is particularly offensive from Japanese authorities to deny the right to 3 US citizens to enter their own Consulate.

So if a Japanese person committed a crime (last time I checked kidnapping was a crime), the US police outside the Japanese Embassy in Japan should let the Japanese person walks right in right past them and not do anything?

AGAIN SETTING WHATEVER EMOTIONS,FEELINGS ETC aside, a crime was committed and the guy was arrested (did the mom commit a crime she probably did in the US but this is Japan at the moment). I don't see anything particularly offensive about the police arresting a guy.

To add, arrest and prosecution are different things, the police might not have known all the facts when the arrest was made.

If you ran to the police and say someone kidnapped your kids, would you :

want to them react fact and catch the person. sit and wait while they see and check if all the proper documentation is in place, run it through a system, check with different agencies to verify that everything is up and up then go out and look for the kids. Come on folks give me a break.
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He did the right thing, I would do the same if i had kids and my ex wife tried spiriting them away from me

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he was stupid to kidnap the kids in Japan two wrongs don't make a right US Media very much against Japan, very curious to hear the other side there are likely three sides here, "His", "Hers", and the "Truth"

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“The problem is growing, and it has become a diplomatic issue,” he said.

This isn't just a "diplomatic" issue. It's a moral and ethical one. Japan needs to get on the ball with this.

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Hopefully, direct action such as this by Christopher Savoie will finally make our diplomats act to do something about these child abductions back to Japan (when I say our diplomats, I mean the western authorities who are happy to let the Japanese get away with their non-commitment to the treaty). The Japanese will do whatever they want and are not bothered by western opinion. However, people such as Christopher Savoie should have been protected by his own government (as in, his ex-wife should never have been allowed to leave the US with their children until Mr Savoie received some kind of security).

There is a fairly simple solution until the Japanese sign up (that's not going to happen anytime soon). Any spouse from a nation that has not signed the Hague Convention (e.g Japan/ Saudi Arabia) and living in a country party to the Convention, must get authority if travelling with the couples children to any country not part of the Hague Convention. Authority meaning the other spouse showing their ID at the airport and agreeing to the journey. This should be irrespective of whether the couple have divorced or not. Pretty simple to enforce I would say and it would have protected people like Mr Savoie (and myself). If the Japanese do not allow our children to leave their country on any passport other than their Japanese one, then we need to start enforcing protection for ourselves as well.

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Tokyotom, how can he kidnap hios own kids if there is no legal decision awarding custody to to his wife? You're unwise to make assertions based on no previous knowledge. Read a real article and then call the guy stupid. Desperate yes. Stupid is a bit harsh.

"After Noriko Savoie took the children to Japan, Savoie filed for and received full custody of the children, Bruno said. And Franklin police issued an arrest warrant for his ex-wife, the television station reported."

source here http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/09/29/japan.father.abduction/index.html

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This from May 2009 seems ironic now http://www.japantoday.com/category/commentary/view/japan-inches-toward-signing-hague-treaty-on-child-abductions#comment_344953

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if anyone reading this is a lawyer or knows a good one - please reply. i am in a very similar situation and really need help.

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I just found this over at Yahoo News:

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20090930-00000030-jij-int

It seems the Japanese article paints the picture the same as the English above. The father had been awarded custody, the mother stole the kids illegally from the U.S., and the father came to Japan to take them back. It even mentions the increase in these sorts of problems and the potential for a diplomatic backlash.

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A travesty on so many levels. The Japanese government will of course be complicit in THE MOTHER'S KIDNAPPING OF THE CHILDREN and harboring them in Japan. These cases really piss me off. Where is any concern for the father's rights to see his children? Not to go too crazy but maybe the take away here is if you get divorced you should consider getting rid of your foreign spouse before she abducts your kids with the approval of the Japanese government.

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ok, stupid is a bit harsh, but you simply cannot ignore the law, and he is required to know the law from the Japanese side, I also am married to a Japanese lady, living in the US (but from Canada), many times the law complicates my life, but you must know it it is a sad situation to be sure, but again, two wrongs don't make a right

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Well, as has been posted earlier, It is not "kidnapping" to try and recover your children when they were removed from their country without the court's permission. By doing so, the MOTHER is guilty of kidnapping. This is just a RECOVERY. By intercepting the father as he tried to bring his kids to the U.S. Consulate, Japan is now an accomplice after the fact to that kidnapping.

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If you ran to the police and say someone kidnapped your kids, would you : 1. want to them react fact and catch the person. 2. sit and wait while they see and check if all the proper documentation is in place, run it through a system, check with different agencies to verify that everything is up and up then go out and look for the kids. Come on folks give me a break.

If you ran to the Japanese police and said 1. a missing English girl is thought to be in a Japanese guys apartment against her will, or 2. an abusive Japanese ex-boyfriend is threatening his Japanese ex-girlfriend, they would sit and wait until they had finished their green tea and got the right warrants in place before budging an inch.

But if you then ran to the Japanese police and you were Japanese and said that your American ex-husband had kidnapped your kids and was on his way to the US Consulate, then yes, they would move pretty damn quick (and they sure did buddy).

I think you should give us a break Badge, it's called double standards, racism and sexism.

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A few posts are incorrect above. He was granted full custody of his children. She was granted visitation.

edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/09/30/japan.savoie.children/index.html

She kidnapped them.

Case Closed. She is a kidnapper and he is in Jail for trying to get his kids back. Only in Japan would you throw the foreigner in Jail on the word of a crazy Japanese women who is wanted in another country for kidnapping. Protecting their own.

Let's see Japan's record. --Protected Peru's xPresident for murder etc. in Peru --Protested when a Japanese man was arrested in Guam for murder after he fled 10 years ago. --Let's murders go scott free in the case that is still open. Now they can't find him. sure.... they are really looking. and now, imprison a man trying to get his children back.

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It makes me sad to think what each one in this case is going through. Especially, the damage done to the kids. Cross cultural marriages are quite difficult. I am losing my faith in the marriages because of the pain it can cause to the parties. Those of you involved in such marriages, just sacrific and make it work. Don't get married and if you are married don't get divorced. What I am saying sounds stupid as well.

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The overwhelming message I'm getting from this is that if you are Japanese or non-Japanese, and you do something illegal while in Japan, then you will face the full weight of Japanese law without question.

However, if you break a similar law in another country and are Japanese, then it's acceptable -- Corruption, rape, murder, child exploitation, kidnapping. The reasoning appears to be that if the victim was not Japanese, then all is well, or at least easier to ignore.

This IS hypocritical.

This IS a double-standard.

This IS racist to the extreme.

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Unfortunately for many foreigners, this type of behavior by the Japanese wives are pretty common. She (they) know that they will get away by kidnapping/abducting the child/children, and the Japanese Laws will protect them. What makes it worse is, under the laws here, if she supports the child for 30 days...she will be granted custody - regardless of the situation. Japan does not recognize joint-custody like we do in the United States.

And, being that the wife has all the rights, she can basically resist or cut the husband off completely from ever seeing or contacting the child again. A wife taking a child away is not a crime here in Japan. They do not recognize it as "kidnapping." This has happened to me, and she lied to the hilt - to get the authorities to protect her. (cried domestic violence, but that has NEVER happened.) To this day, she continues on with her stories. But you can't change the truth, so her lies are catching up with her.

Hopefully Japan will see the light, and realize that the child/children should have both parents in their lives. Balance is the key for a child's life.

When a young child grows up, he or she will eventually learn the truth of what really happened, and things may backfire. I will be a SAD DAY when that happens.

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I am really upset about this incident. I fully support the Japanese wife's action. 1st of all this guy has nationalize and is Japanese. 2nd, After they got divorced, he remarried this other lady. 3rd, He tried to use the law to enforce the Japanese wife from leaving TN USA without kids. WTH??? Who the heck wants to live there??? This American guy is evilll

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How getting married again makes him evil?

The Japanese ex-wife kidnapped children and forced them away from their father. She is a criminal and must be made to abide by the law she broke trying to hide in Japan. Japan is a worldwide known child-abductor haven. It's about time Japan does the right thing and signs the Hague Convention on the legal aspects of international parental abduction. The gall she has, to call the police because he "took" the children. I don't condone his action, but seeing how Japan slams the door on foreign parents desperate to rescue their children from Japanese abductors, I can understand his despair.

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Hague Convention is very very anglo saxon point of view law. Anglo saxon and Asians have different family culture and Hague Convention does not really do justice for Asians.

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Like I said before this guy has nationalized and is Japanese. Also this guy forced Noriko to stay in TN using laws. He basically took Norikos freedom binding her to TN. How is that not evil and self centered??? Ohok. it must be the American thing

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Let's get this straight. First, the father gets a restraining order to stop his wife from taking off to Japan with his children. Then, the mother flees the US with their kids. Next, the father is granted full custody by a Tennessee court. After that, he comes to Japan to try to get his kids back but gets arrested.

Sounds like the mother was doing the kidnapping to me. And from what I've read, it sounds like Japanese family law really needs to change. Just because she's the mother, doesn't give her the right to take their children. The kids need their father too.

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he should have driven his car to a military base. the cops would have hung right back but grabbing them off the street in front of the mother was not bright. I bet she said nothing to the teachers at the school about the kidnapping. I think this incident may spurn something.

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T rexmaytime your true colors are showing matey. You say he did this but it's ok for her to do that. You're right it must be an Asian thing. Lack of logic.

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bushlover The mother has been taking care of the kids in TN. Dad only saw his during the weekend. WHo is doing the raising here? The mother ofcourse. The mother should not be binded in her choice where she wants to raise her kids since she is the main raiser. This douchebag is seriously selfish in thiking that he could divorce the wife and force her to stay in TN while shagginga new gold digging wife. Who was the alduterer here?

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I can see why that guy did what he did after reading this on the government's website.

http://travel.state.gov/family/abduction/country/country_501.html

And why is it wrong that the guy would try to keep her in the country until everything was settled, he knew very well what would happen if she left the country with the children.

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「4年前に日本に帰化していたことが」...a line from the CNN.co.jp stating the father became naturalized in Japan four years ago. Follow the link for the full article in Japanese.

http://www.cnn.co.jp/usa/CNN200909300021.html

The Japanese report goes on to say that his "honseki" is filed in Tokyo. So, I'm not sure what the State Dept. can do for him. As a naturalized citizen, he is subject to Japanese law. (Point #1)

The report also states that their divorce was NOT filed in Japan (even though it was finalized in the States in January). This means that they are still married under Japanese law. (Point #2)

Under the "dai roppou" (Japanese Law) police can act under a legit assumption of suspicious behavior or more. (Still no excuses for hauling the guy off, but...) Naturalized or not, without a fat sign saying "NIHONJIN", the guy will always be taken for non-Japanese. Finally, a phone call from the mother, Noriko, is plenty to set the authorities on an otherwise anxious-looking non-Japanese man with kids trying to rush into a place Japanese police cannot enter (US sovereignty). (Point #3)

IF Points #1 and #2 are really true, then no one did anything wrong, they're still married with kids, and they tossed a Japanese citizen in jail based on a phone call and looks. He is their father, and he is married under Japanese law, therefore he has the right be with them.

Point #3 was not illegal. Japanese citizens are allowed to enter US consulates for US-related business. My wife can go in lieu of my unavailability. The cops wouldn't descend on her like Christopher for obvious reasons.

But all this hyperbole is for naught; the capable hands of the flaccid State Dept. and the inept Japanese MOJ will surely complicate this beyond measure. It'll get stacked on the other dozens of unresolved abductions. Maybe Christopher will released, only to either renounce his naturalization (after invoking State Dept. involvement) and go away, or use the marriage and citizenship to his advantage.

Bottom line: she should've never abducted the kids in a manner where she was clearly playing international law against him.

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Timor,

Wow. You couldn't have been more correct.

KoreWaNihon,

Best of luck to you. I hope you are able to resolve your situation.

Taka

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idicemic Wrong! Bottom line: He should have never commited adultery and forced his selfish way. Mother will always be mothers and will have really strong bonds with her kids. Trying to bind her is US was just evil.

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@ T_rexmaytime:

How is the Hague Convention "anglo saxon point of view"?

The Convention was drafted to “insure the prompt return of children who have been abducted from their country of habitual residence or wrongfully retained in a contracting state not their country of habitual residence.”[1] The primary intention of the Convention is to preserve whatever status quo child custody arrangement existed immediately before an alleged wrongful removal or retention thereby deterring a parent from crossing international boundaries in search of a more sympathetic court. The Convention applies only to children under the age of 16.

How does this definition impinge on Asian "family culture" and "justice"

Before you answer that, what is "Asian family culture"? I doubt your definition will be "Pan-Asian" enough to fit within the myriad of cultural ideas existing throughout this hemisphere.

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Going to consulate would have been much help for him anyways, according to the government website;

"U.S. consular officers are prohibited by law from providing legal advice, taking custody of a child, forcing a child to be returned to the United States, providing assistance or refuge to parents attempting to violate local law, or initiating or attempting to influence child custody proceedings in foreign courts."

"Dad only saw his during the weekend."

That was the court ruling, he was abiding by the law, which can't be said for his ex-wife.

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The worst thing about this whole story is the fact that the kids will have a hard time reaching their father. From all the stories that I've been reading about it seems like a lost cause when a mother steals away their children to Japan. I remember one of the happiest times of my life was when I turned 7 and was able to fly across America by myself to visit my dad during the summer time. These kids won't have that option for a long time.

T_rexmaxytime, why all the hate? You sound as if you know this family personally.

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@ T_rexmaxytime (sorry, said T_rexmaytime before...typo)

You make a good point (in English...but seriously, post a translation of the Japanese like I did, or post elsewhere).

He's wrong for adultery, but even in Japan (especially in Japan) infidelity is not a crime. It is grounds for a legal divorce that favors the wronged party. Principles aside, Noriko impatiently took the children against the law. Yes, she broke the law, period. Her action, not his (no matter how selfish he is) put the children in the middle of an uglier situation.

The children come first, not Christopher, not Noriko, only the kids.

At least in the US, the children had a chance to be raised and financially supported (albeit separately) by two people who love them. And, with reasonability and confidence, allow them to benefit by freely traveling between Japan and the US without fear of estranging either parent from their lives. Except Japan ignores the Hague Convention, which would have removed Christopher's paranoia (among many many many other estranged parents).

The responsibility of the parents should maintain the children's best interest at all times, not either parent's selfish agenda.

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P.S. T_rexmaxytime, my wife is Japanese, and we have children. Even she finds Noriko's action shameful and unfair towards the children, no matter what Noriko claims Christopher did.

Remember, the children's interests come first. I have good reason to believe this isn't just a Western viewpoint.

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Well I dont know this family personally but I feel like I know them personally because NHK aired a documentary about this couple just week ago!!!!!!

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This is all a misunderstanding of cultural difference.

In Japan, when a married couple divorces the mother is usually granted sole custody. The father usually never sees the child again. Visitation never happens because usually divorced couples don't want to interfere with each others lifestyle.

In US, American fathers are more active in participating in the life of their child. Therefore even after divorce they usually seek visitation rights. It is common in the US.

I'm sure both parents love their kids very much. They just have a wrong way of showing it. I'm sure the father will be released and it's just a matter of finding a way for him to visit his child. I haven't read anything about the mother denying his visitation.

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Finally, a story where the children are wanted and not killed. Let's hope this ends amicably for all involved.

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What a dumb move. This is what happens when ex husband and wife won't budge. Each government sides with one of them, and the only difference being she managed to pull off a successful kidnapping while he didn't.

It's ironic that they still pressure North Korea on abduction when Japan is an international haven for child abduction.

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Just to be clear, both of them are criminals. If you don't like the Hague convention, you should stop yapping on about North Korean abduction of Japanese because you'd have no right to. If it wasn't so naive the hypocrisy would be laughable.

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This story made me sick when I saw it on CNN last night (while sitting next to my Japanese girlfriend). It makes no sense for Japan to resist signing on to a mutual treaty that would discourage this type of action.

This story would have received ZERO attention if the father hadn't visited Japan and tried to take his kids by force. I hope this story has legs and really tarnishes this country's international image if changes aren't made.

Japan's initial reaction to this case could make or break their bid for the Summer Olympics.

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nhk? well that was likely a balance3d and fair story then wasn't it.

Bottom line is the the women broke the law and forced this guy into action. Japan needs to buck up its ideas and stop this one way flow of child-abduction. Child abduction - think about it. Imagine if it was the other way around? You can't of course because the rest of the 'civilised world' has laws in place to prevent this from happening.

This women has been incredibly selfish. The japanese authorities racist and pig-headed as usual

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ricola - Why should he have to 'visit' his kids? He has legal custody. The mother must return the kids and set up her own methods for visitation.

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Change Japan's legal system to conform with the "modern" and "civilized" US system? Good luck with that.

Just personally speaking, there are PLENTY of points about divorce law in the US that are messed up, arbitrary, destructive, conflictual, parochial... I guess messed up covers all of that. Everyone seems to say, "Let's let the law solve this." Guess what. The law never solves this. People have to solve it. Nobody gets what they want and the more lawyers there are the worse it gets.

Frankly, the Japanese stance is that if you don't want to get bad outcomes, do not get divorced. Seems reasonable to me. Time to stop treating marriage as a temporary contract or nuisance. One way or another, the person you marry will be with you your whole life. Why do people never realize that? You marry their fears, insecurities, and those of their family too.

Oh, but she's a lunatic? Too bad. He should not have married her. Oh, but he's a lunatic? She should not have married him.

They should not have arrested the guy. Let them play preschool ping pong. These are photogenic but stupid people who made dumb decisions. Perfect for a media tempest. The government should remain uninvolved.

Why doesn't he leave his second wife and come and live in Japan to be near his children? Apparently he can do that legally. Oh yeah, he loves his new wife more than his children. Oh, but he doesn't. But he does. He wants this, but he doesn't want that, so he pays a lawyer to make it so. Welcome to the American dream of having it all, everyone. Adopting US legal principles related to divorce is probably a big mistake, it is not law FOR children, it is law BY children.

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I wonder why Japan never got much support from the international community about NK abductions. Now we know why. As for the olympics, Brazil is probably the favorited followed by Chicago. France won't get it because of London and Japan won't get it because of Beijing. As for this guy, he needed to plan better. Get the right people and it's no problem and its done all the time when dealing with other pariah countries.

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You know, it just crossed my mind that this is Fukuoka. This American guy could be sharing a jail cell with the American guy who allegedly put his toddler in the freezer. Remember that case from a couple of weeks ago?

I would pay good money to hear THAT conversation. Equally entertaining would be the tales of their respective wives. Oh boy. Bile and fireworks.

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CNN has reported that Christopher Savoie is a citizen of Japan.

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Klein2, you make some excellent observations. I never understood the notion of fighting in a divorce/custody matter. At least in the U.S., you are stuck with that person for the rest of your life if there are children involved. Why have to court impose a solution on the parties that neither may like? Sit down and hammer out an agreement that you both can live with. Too often, the kids are treated as property in these matters and it is they who lose in the end. It is well past time for parents, regardless of nationality, to acknowledge this simple fact and grown up.

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A mother with Japanese citizenship took her children with Japanese citizenship back to Japan. There is no comparison between this case and North Korean terrorists beating up and throwing people in a sack to take away from their homeland, forcing them to give language training to more terrorists.

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I'm still trying to figure out how CNN in Atlanta has more information about this case than JT. Its was reported by CNN that this guy is a naturalized Japanese citizen and the kids hold Japanese passports. This is a Japanese legal matter -- he chose to become a Japanese citizen, so he must deal with the consequences of his actions...

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^ CNN is reporting on this because (apparently) American kids were abducted to some far away scary place by a non-American. They even want to turn this into an international political issue. Obama and Hatoyama have more important things to discuss than the actions of two selfish Japanese parents who care about themselves more than their children.

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did he cheat on Nori-S with that Amy lady? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

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Derek, without getting too personal... oh who am I kidding... my parents divorced. They did not have a lot of money or high flying jobs. Had never visited other countries and did not have great educations. They were normal people who apparently married for the wrong reasons.

They did not scream and yell at each other. They had difficulties in life and difficulties in negotiating things. But neither of them walked away from their responsibilities or cruelly inflicted suffering on the other. Those were hard economic times and they wound up helping each other just to get by. They loved us kids and it showed. Things got better. They went their separate ways and became happier people.

Why do I never hear things like that anymore? A close friend of mine has been fighting on and off with his ex for 18 years. He thought it might end when his children got old enough for college, but no... it just goes on and on. Maybe he was right to get a divorce, but he is man enough to accept the consequences. Many other people are apparently not even rational about things anymore. It is all about money, and winning, and conflict.

And Derek, what incenses me is that divorce lawyers commonly now resort to the CASH FOR VISITATION strategy to rip the heart out of a man. Nobody but nobody sticks up for the kids anymore, except to use them to extract something from the other party. I find it plausible that Noriko in this case just wants her kids away from the American blended family/ court insanity. Who knows? Glad it is not my problem... and you know... it never will be.

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Tokyotom, have a look at the time line. Noriko and Tom married in Japan. Has child with Noriko 8 years ago and 6 years ago. He became a J citizen 4 years ago. Maybe?? worked at J company in TN. Maybe?? Noriko did too? They divorced in US. He remarries. Court battles. Economy worsens, so I am guessing that their economic fortunes went different ways. She probably had few opportunities in the US. Maybe he has some Japanese skills and experience. Maybe Amy guarantees his job?

He would have had to get an affair going pretty quickly. In the space of four years assuming he went to the US the day he got J citizenship, he moved to TN, got a job, divorced his wife, remarried, and waged a court battle for kids. Yippee.

Yah. It's been a bed of roses for those two kids. Lots of thorns, more like it.

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Likely he works (or Nori-S) for Nissan, located nearby I don't know, just think we need some perspective on her side

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"did he cheat on Nori-S with that Amy lady? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

Perhaps. But she is probably a typical cold, selfish Japanese b*tch - look what she did with the kids and ignoring a court order. Which may be the very reason why she was dumped.

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Any body here a lawyer or know of a lawyer? Really need help here too. Been through alot and would appreciate legal assistance with a case very similar. Thanks in Advance, Hoping

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U.S. Representative Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, told The Associated Press he has introduced a bill called the International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2009, which would penalize countries that show a pattern of not cooperating to resolve such cases. Penalties could include being denied military aid and certain loans, he said.

What a crock of hot air this statement is! Like the US would ever take these sorts of sanctions against Japan.

Yet another woman using her kids to get even with her ex. Nothing new or Japanese about this scenario. Do these selfish bitches even consider how it effects their kids? Now, this guy has been locked up and has a criminal record. She has won! He will never see his kids again. He'll be lucky if he is allowed back into Japan at all. Women! You can't live them and you can't shoot them!
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He gets his J citizenship and moves to the US soon after?

Um. Is the INS on this guy's case yet? I assume that he did not get his green card, as he was required to, for work in the US? Or was he American while he was there, but Japanese while he is here? I am beginning to see flake written all over this guy. He has not divorced in Japan, although he has had almost a year to do so?

He built a legal glass house and then started a rock fight with the love of his life. Oh boy. Time for me to move along.

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tokyotom - i think he is some kind of pharmacist or similar...and took Japanese nationality to become head of his company. I doubt that they worked for Nissen.

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i agree with Klein, since Japan does not allow dual citizenship after a certain age, he would have had to turn in his US passport and RENOUNCE US CITIZENSHIP at the moment of receiving his J-Passport. Unless he figured out a way of keeping both, but its highly unlikely.

If the kids were born in Japan and have J passports, then he's got that against him as well.

This issue could raise a lot of problems for Japan with the NK abduction issue.

a lot more information needs to come out to be fair to both sides.

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This guy simply took his eye off the ball.

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"But she is probably a typical cold, selfish Japanese b*tch - look what she did with the kids and ignoring a court order."

What's he ethnicity got to do with it? Are you racist?

She ignored a US court order, but all 4 involved are Japanese citizens.

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My understanding is that under Japanese law a parent cannot "kidnap" their own children, so I suspect he will not be charged with anything.

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People just give up citizenship due to Japanese govt. harassment that is not supported in International Law.Japan CANNOT force anyone to give up their other citizenship.Look it up on debito.org

As a father-to-be with a Japanese spouse this stuff chills my blood.To have a child with a Japanese is like playing Russian Roulette.The foreign spouse is listed as 'biko' 'additional notes' on the koseki family registry.According to Japanese law,the foreign spouse is not officially a spouse and the foreign parent is not officially a parent.In my case,should my wife die, my daughter will be handed over to her grandmother,then her great-grandmother and ultimately she will become a ward of the Japanese state,because I am not officially recognised under Japanese law. This has to change and until it does these heartbreaking events will multiply as quickly as the marriages that spawn these children do.

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and the U.S. Embassy isn't helping this guy in any ways.. 2 different countries and 2 different laws, isn't embassy supposed to work in between to help out their own citizens?????

PepinGalarga - Japan does not officially allow dual citizenship after a certain age, that's true, but Japan doesn't go out of its way to try and find out who is keeping his/her 2 passports, either. That is why there are many older people who still have 2 passports from 2 countries.

And if they had also submitted a divorce paper (rikon todoke) in Japan, then there's a place where you need to fill out to specify who gets the custody. It's all written in JApanese, so it is most likely filled out by Noriko-san... If she checked "mother" as a legal custodial parent, then she has 100% custody of the kids in Japan... and this could be a bit tricky, because under the Japanese law, she's got the custody while under the U.S law, the father got the custody.

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Well, Osaka, if you are thinking in terms of "spawn" and "death", you are well on the road to being disappointed no matter what happens.

The good or bad news is that you have already made the most important decisions. You chose the person you married and chose to have children with her. If you take care of your marriage and your family, there is very little that a government can do to intrude. If you don't, then the small probability that your wife will die before the children become independent will be the least of your worries.

Japan is a rule by exception society. If you keep your affairs in order, you will have a good life. If you become an exceptional case, you expose yourself to the judgment of people who are not too bright or circumspect.

Deep down, it hurts for one's contribution not to be acknowledged, and to be a second class citizen, but what difference does that make in the long run? It bothers me too, a lot. But if all is well that ends well, then you will live out your life and have happy successful children. Many prouder, more self-satisfied, and self-righteous people will not be so lucky.

In short, if you take care of your wife and baby, everything will work out just fine. Give twice as much as you take and people will rally to you when you need them. Everton is right. You have to keep your eye on the ball.

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Her ex-husband in US will be arrested if she/they did not apply the marriage report to local government/city hall of her town in Japan. If not, he will be another wacko under Japan's law. This is completely different from NKorea abduction case. As long as she ignores the US court order and also they keep staying here, there is not much about it. the American court order will be not effective in Japan.

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the father is a CEO of a decent-size company that has a branch office in Tokyo, and his pictures and kids pictures can be seen online.. My point is, that people know what the kids look like and if they are keeping their last name, then when the kids go to school, their classmates and teachers will know that their father is in jail and mother kidnapped them.. This isn't good for the children. Ther mother might be hiding, but whenever she goes out with the kids, local people would notice that it's her.. She cannot hide too long.

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When you do crime you will pay, Kidnapping is a crime.

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I am not sure what crime he committed (according to Japanese law). AFAIK, and this is why there is so much problem, there is no such thing as kidnap when the kidnapper is a parent.

There is however a law against leaving the country with your child without the approval of the other parent. Is the consulate considered to be another country?

Anyway...this issue is one of the saddest and makes me cry so much my keyboard gets wet. See the site below and check out some of the forums, in Japanese too, for Japanese fathers too who can no longer see their children. http://www.crnjapan.net/

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The article says above that Savoies wife was given primary custody of the children. What it fails to mention is that after the abduction of the children by his wife (remember, in the US there IS a law against this) Mr. Savoie was given sole custody and an arrest warrant was put out on his wife. http://www.crnjapan.net/The_Japan_Childrens_Rights_Network/itn-tktenn3.html

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CNN says their marriage was never annulled in japan.. so... this could be complicated.. hmm.

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I think people think this is a kidnapping or a crime of something, however this is not any crime at all and unfortunately can not kidnapping in Japan because as long as she birthed her children. She just brought her own children to Japan. They really need to talk each other about this to solve.

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Sad....I personally know three guys who have had there children used as "a kick in the stomach" from their ex-wives. It is the japanese wifes way of getting back her revenge on her ex-hubby. Take the kids far away. Sadly the kids are pawns in the love hate relationship. The best interests of the children are the furthest thing from mummys mind in this case. I hope she gets dragged across the hot coals for taking them out of the states to begin with.

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Tatanka,

" . . . he chose to become a Japanese citizen, so he must deal with the consequences of his actions..."

Horse puckey. If you want to use the "he's technically Japanese" argument, then you also have to apply the "He's still technically married in Japan" argument, which gives him every right to pick up his own kids. This means there was no abduction, and that this is a situation authorities would most likely have left up to the parents to sort out, absent obvious evidence of physical abuse. BUT -- and here’s the crucial “but” -- he wasn’t “really” Japanese (nudge, nudge, wink wink!). He was a gaijin. And even under Japanese law, even though he went through the difficult process of naturalizing, even though, according to Japanese law, he technically had the right to see -- and yes, take -- his own children, he was held to a different standard, in complete contradiction to Japanese law.

You can't play one card without the other.

And this silliness from another poster about “Anglo-Saxon law not doing justice to Asians”: OMG, what a load of utterly amateur social anthropology, as if non-Japanese felt any less passionate about their children. Does this rant against Anglo-Saxon law therefore mean Japanese are above any and all laws outside of Japan? I don’t think so, and the U.S. State Department would agree. This woman broke the law in the United States, by absconding with these children, and is subject to those laws -- just as if an American broke the law in Japan, he/she would be subject to local laws.

Support of this abduction by some posters here, as well as the implicit support of the Japanese government, is predicated on a wholly manufactured fantasy of Japanese legal and cultural superiority, rooted firmly, as I said before, in gross double-standards, blatant hypocrisy, and yes, racism. You only have to look so far as T_rexmaxytime's contradictory insistence that adultery was somehow a factor in this. He is arguing no less than an American court’s decree of divorce, as well as a restraining order against removing the children from U.S. soil, holds no legal standing, and thus -- because technically they were still married in Japan -- this inane claim of adultery. Yet, interestingly, he fails to see how that argument cuts both ways, and that while in Japan, Mr. Savoie is still married to Noriko, and as such, is entitled to full parental rights, even now as he sits in jail for exercising those rights.

This idea that Japanese law trumps all is indefensible, no matter how hard one tries to spin it with weakly constructed arguments regarding "cultural differences."

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"But she is probably a typical cold, selfish Japanese b*tch - look what she did with the kids and ignoring a court order." What's he ethnicity got to do with it? Are you racist?

Well I'm definitely not racist. The person who wrote that probably isn't either. But I guess you haven't been crossed by many Japanese girls in your life. They're particularly cold and selfish when they want to be. And it's very rarely deserved, IMO. So don't be fooled by those pleasant looks and that mediocre personality - there's a lot more underneath...

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Tell you what he should have done. Is go to his x's house first. Lay the smack down. Go get the kids in a calm fashion. Head for the airport and away he goes!

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I have been married to a Japanese woman for a year and we are planning on having kids. These kind of news scare the crap out of me...

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I thought you had to give up your US citizenship if you became a citizen of Japan, I seriously doubt that he did this.

It's interesting how Japan makes such a big deal out of the North Korea abductions (and righty so)when under Japanese law it is perfectly legal to abduct children from other countries and bring them to Japan.

I wonder if Norkio-san got them Japanese passports after she returned to Japan? Also where were they married Japan or the U.S?

In any event she should be extradited to the US and put in jail.

Moderator: Readers, the North Korean abductions are not relevant to this issue.

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Horse puckey. If you want to use the "he's technically Japanese" argument, then you also have to apply the "He's still technically married in Japan" argument, which gives him every right to pick up his own kids

I don't think that's correct. A legal divorce overseas is valid in Japan. If you are legally married in Japan, and then divorced overseas, your marriage in Japan is dissolved.

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What is lucky for him is the fact that he has Japanese citizenship (or is it in fact permanent residence only?) because for many foreign fathers and mothers,the Japanese ministry of Justice blocks them from entering Japan PERIOD if the Japanese abductor requests it.Good on this bloke for blowing this issue up so visibly...if only he could have timed it for Hatoyama/Obama part one.This one looks like it will blow up!

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This guy was cheating on Noriko. He moved to TN(the mistress moved to TN) with Noriko and the kids so he can keep the relationship with the mistress. A month after the divorce, he marries his mistress. Then he uses American law to bind Noriko from leaving TN with kids. He hid the fact that he was naturalized. The kids were born in Japan and have Japanese passports.

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Mr. Savoie is still married to Noriko, and as such, is entitled to full parental rights, even now as he sits in jail for exercising those rights.

Sorry wrong. See my comment above. Note the story states ex-husband, but that's not the only reason I'm saying this. A divorce overseas dissolves a marriage in Japan - if that's what your argument is based on?

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LFRAgain, well said.

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Thank god I did not marry a nut case like this idiot Noriko! Good luck American dad, better to move on and not be pulled down by this horrible woman.

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This guy was cheating on Noriko. He moved to TN(the mistress moved to TN) with Noriko and the kids so he can keep the relationship with the mistress. A month after the divorce, he marries his mistress. Then he uses American law to bind Noriko from leaving TN with kids. He hid the fact that he was naturalized. The kids were born in Japan and have Japanese passports.

That does not make right what Noriko did.

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While the parents ofcourse should try and work something out, such that the kids and their childhood/life is not negatively impacted; Japan should be reviewing its family laws and recognize dual custodianship. Lawmakers, Japanese citizens; you've got to churn things up for the sake of society.

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This whole thing could be avoided with two things:

1) Japanese law needs to accept the rights of BOTH parents. Children are not assets to be divvyed up in a divorce - but this is how they are often treated.

2) This attitude of using the kids to hit back at the other parent (and this is not specific to Japan) needs to be stopped. Again, they are not tools to be used in a battle and such behaviour needs to be punished.

I think in this case - as in a lot of cases - there is far more to it than meets the eye based on scanty news reporting. As I sit and type here it is being reported on CNN again - but not once have I heard CNN mention (at least on their verbal reports) that he is remarried, has cheated, forced Noriko into virtual imprisonment in Tennessee, or anything else. I don`t know the whole truth - neither really does any of us.

The only people who know the truth in this whole affair are the parents themselves. What a pity they aren`t grown up enough to be able to work something out for the sake of their children.

The one positive thing that can come out of all this - I really hope for the sake of everyone else out there suffering in similar situations, that this issue is now blown up and addressed at the highest levels. Because something really needs to be done.

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In case, some people want to know the CNN coverage

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/09/30/japan.savoie.children/

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Klein2 please write a book; I like the way you look at the different angles to the story.

Priority here is the kids.

Does everyone here can say that they know what it feels like when a man cheats on his wife? And the pain she goes through when the man marries another woman?

We should not ignore the issue because it is do with Asian culture etc. My mother did not leave my father so that I will have both in my life. She just tolerates him, and they live in different houses in the same compound.They did that for the sake of the children. But now they also know that they need each other so that they do not feel lonely and left out.I am from a pure Asian culture.

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MSNBC Today show also had big coverage for it. This is going to blow on their face...poor "nice" Japanese people.

you can watch it here. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/33086474#33086474

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/33086474#33086474

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Anderson cooper too http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnw_hsFanDA

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ritalyn luilui ca1iocat (and probably others) are criticising the guy suggesting he should have taken legal means.

Folks do not seem to realise that there is no legal means.

There is no such thing as dual custody, no enforcable visitation rights, and parents are effectively FREE TO KIDNAP their children from the other parent (so long as the children do not scream?).

All afaik, from reading the heatrending stories on places like http://www.crnjapan.net/

The only law is against taking ones children out of the country. I guess the consulate is ex whatchamacall it, another country. That is why they arrested him just outside the consulate, where they can say he was attempting to take them out of the country.

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"better to move on and not be pulled down by this horrible woman."

How do you move on when you leave your children behind? No easy.

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Japan is just plain backwards.

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Japan is getting preivalage only in business sector seems advanced internationlly when comes its matter same like underdevelop country. Because American umbrella is big and enough for Japan. IF hague protocol is not signed why not take action to her by internaionlly its matter of human rights.Domestically also Japan discriminate foreigners in matter of business.

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ah another one of these stories. If things ever turn bad with my wife i ll be taking the kids out of the country before the divorce. Everyone knows that foreigners have no rights in japan, and once you divorce you lose that visa then its bye bye Mr gaijin off you go back to the mothership.

Oh yeah how do you kidnap your own kids? They are your kids? What i hate is when police and government decide what happens to your children, since when did we give this power to our governments.

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Like I already posted: •he naturalized four years ago; he should've give up his US passport •their divorce was only legalized in the US; they're still married in J •there's nothing illegal about going to the US consulate, given these two points. But we all know his arrest was spawned by 1.) his recalcitrant wife's (still married in Japan) call to the police and 2.) the fact that a non-Japanese looking man with kids (no matter that his honseki is filed in Tokyo) was going to the US consulate.

This may bend in his favor as a Japanese citizen. In this case, where's his offense?

If, as a sworn naturalized Japanese national, he summoned US support, then he risks losing his honseki and, consequently, any priviledges. He would otherwise be treated as an American breaking Japanese law: intent to whisk them away. But as Japanese, intent can be deflected.

If I'm wrong, then I'll be in big trouble for taking my children to the consulate. I don't intend on relocating them. Will the cops bum rush me and toss me in jail? No way,...Unless my wife wanted to screw my life.

Last point: CNN was mistaken to break this article calling Christopher "American"... Based on his Japanese naturalization, they should've clarified his status. Sorry, but the conflict in his status will be a make or break point.

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Saw the msnbc video and the CNN. Please STOP the emotional dramas. Personally I feel that the Amy Savoie should not be talking about how devastating it is for her. Can we also have Noriko's experience on the video?

Cross cultural marriages are not easy as you think. So please think before you take that big step. I would stay an old maid rather than make a mistake and cause pain to someone. Even if one day, I find that my relationship comes to an end, I don't want my partner to suffer.

Noriko, forget everything put your children first, and think that there is braveness and strength in letting forgiving your ex.

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womanforwoman- I couldn't agree with you more, people really need to think about issues like this before getting married. Unfortunately, it looks like these are 2 people who just act upon whims and spur of the moment feelings, which is heartbreaking to watch. The only ones who will truly suffer in this situation are those children. Both of them are being yanked here and there across 2 different countries based on the whims of two very selfish parents who really don't seem to care about them at all. Children are a responsibility, not a right and people really need to understand that.

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It's also been revealed that Christopher forced his kids and wife to move to America so that he could continue his affair with Amy. Also, Noriko had primary custody and was allowed to take the kids to Japan for vacation. When she didn't return, the court gave full custody to Christopher.

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Regardless of what he did right or wrong at least this issue is getting the international attention is deserves. Maybe Chris was wrong, Maybe the wife was wrong but thank freaken GOD Japan is being taken to task for not signing the Hague treaty which would stop this from happening in the first place. How many families have been ripped apart by this and Japan just sits and buries its head in the sand? About time. Hatoyama, sign the damn thing so us gaijin can stop living in fear that maybe one day our kids could be taken from us and we have no way of getting them back.

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Well womanforwomen, here is one take especially for you. Consider....

What was going through her mind? Probably the same thing that would go through a gaijin's mind in Japan. In the divorce proceedings, here is how it worked.

They had some kind of conflict. He divorced in January. He probably had his lawyer in TN all ready to do the divorce in November and she probably had little or no representation. Even if there were no language barrier, the whole US system is so convoluted she never had a chance. She probably did not play the game of taking half of his stuff and more to use for leverage in later custody battles. He got the cash and the house because she did not move fast enough. Maybe she had no job and no place to live. He cut off the credit cards. Even if she did not get the house, she might still have had the payments.

So the legal stuff starts, and just to make sure that he gets custody, he marries a white woman (any color would do, but let's not kid ourselves, white is best here... and if he were NOT having some affair, then they met dated and married in about 6 mos.) and there is NO WAY that a judge is going to grant custody to an unemployed foreign woman with no home, job, savings, etc. when there is a tailor made home all ready and waiting. He got it all set up perfectly. She was lucky to get visitation. I am sure he argued against it, aren't you?

So after the first round, it is over. After a decade of marriage or whatever, she is left with little and certainly not with the kids. By September, the kids have started school, and getting them back was looking about impossible for her. Realistically, moving kids during a school year is not something a judge will do if it becomes an issue. Since he has custody, he can play games with her in terms of alimony, settlements, whatever. Maybe you know the drill. I certainly do. If she wants to see the kids, she has to cut a deal, and she probably got the shaft in the first place.

She brought the kids back to make sure that they could handle life in Japan. Then took them back to the US, and then took them for real.

Point being everybody, that HE is not US, SHE is US. It appears likely that she got gamed by someone who knew the Tennessee system. He shut her out. If you want to be sympathetic, why be sympathetic to the guy who is holding all the cards and who played them all splendidly and who probably rabbit-punched her to boot? What does this woman have left BUT the kids? Because of this felony rap she is facing, she probably has nothing left in the US. She would have had to leave it all to make it look like she would be returning, anyway.

If my significant other ever turns on me, I am dead meat. Deer in the headlights. If you do not trust your spouse more than anyone in the entire world, you have a screw loose. I have the satisfaction of knowing that my kids would probably be ok, but a foreigner trying to win legally against a native is unlikely in any venue. This woman upped the stakes and turned the tables. Who can doubt that she was the big loser before she stepped off the plane at Narita? But things are different now. Maybe she will get her say.

Anyway, I am not saying that all the details are straight, but it looks something like that. Or COULD look something like that. My mom has been ripped off in divorce settlements. Just like a prisoner's dilemma, the first one to defect on a marriage wins in a divorce... unless your opponent is a foreigner. The foreigner always loses.

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How many families have been ripped apart by this and Japan just sits and buries its head in the sand?

This is a case involving two Japanese citizens in Japan. Why are you even discussing international law?

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uh, he is STILL a US citizen as well. You can never actually lose it even though the other country says you have to. It IS international law, read the article.

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He sounds like a very selfish man, forcing his ex-wife to live in a foreign country (a small town in Tennessee for God's sake!) in poverty with few job opportunities and poor social support and raise his children for him.

He's got his life sorted out, good job, new wife, back in his own home country and doesn't have to look after his own children. Well that was the plan.

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Issues of the father's current nationality status aside, the United States Government should launch a formal and diplomatic protest regarding the contact of the Japanese police.

Why? Under the terms of the Nationality Law here in Japan, both of the children are allowed to claim dual nationality up until such time as they reach the age of majority. As such, it could be argued that the father (even if he is now a Japanese citizen) was simply conveying the children to a location where they could make claim to their US nationality (in the form of passport). To whit, having Japanese police prevent nationals of a foreign country from accessing their own diplomatic mission is a breach of so many international conventions that it is unbelievable. Seriously, on this point alone, the US should demand a full and unconditional apology from the Japanese Government. Failing to receive such, it should institute a policy of declaring Japanese diplomats resident in the United States to be persona non grata.

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Idicemic:

their divorce was only legalized in the US; they're still married in J

Writing this for the third time today - a divorce in another country dissolves a marriage in Japan. It's the same in all countries that I've looked up. Get divorced in the U.S., and you are no longer married in Japan.

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It sounds like this man is not as innocent as he want us to believe. While in Japan he did everything he could to be Japanese but once he left, he dropped all of that and became a 'proud American' again so he can use the system in his favor. If he indeed dragged that woman back to the US just so he can continue his affair and rid himself of her without losing his kids(which may have happen if he stayed in japan) then he deserves what is happening to him.

I'm not saying she was right in what she did, but I could see where she may have felt trapped in the US. Did she have any friends? A way to provide for herself and her kids? People who were looking out for her? Probably not. He was moving on with his life, she was stuck. He used both the US and Japanese government to get his way and now it's biting him on the ass.

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I have already tol my wife that if we go back to the US and she pulls this sh*t then I will make everyone, including her family pay. Of course, this is just a fake threat but if you say it seriously enough it may give her second thoughts. of course the best option in divorce, if she wants to go back to Japan, would be to give the wife custody in japan and let the kids travel to see day for a few months of the year.

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Whatever the husband did or did not do, does not make right what Noriko did. If he cheated on her, then she should have kept pushing legal procedures instead of abducting the kids. Please stop making up assumptions to justify what she did. Did she or did she not break a country's law? Simple question, simple answer.

Kids are 6 and 8 years old. They still need a father and a mother in their lives. They cannot fully comprehend what is going on. They will mostly believe whatever one side tells them. Perfect opportunity for a parent who holds the cards to brainwash them for years. This is where the countries and respective courts should step in to give equal rights to both parents for the kids.

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Moral to this story: if you are married to, or planning to marry a Japanese, don't have kids.

If you already have kids (through marriage or otherwise) make sure they attend international school because there is no future for them in this country -- anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional...

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A rally and candlelight vigil to free Christopher Savoie from Japanese imprisonment and return him and his children Isaac and Rebecca to the United States will be held on Saturday, October 3rd 2009 in Washington, DC. 2:00 PM - Rally in front of the Japanese embassy, 2520 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 3:00 PM – Press Conference in front of the Japanese Embassy. Speakers 7:00 PM – Candlelight vigil in front of the White House.

http://groups.google.com/group/crnjapan/browse_thread/thread/607b425129c304be

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Hey someone should organize a rally in Tokyo. I wonder if it would get media attention here?

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She kidnapped them, he is trying to rescue them.

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when Obama comes to Japan next month, he and the new Japanese prime minister should talk about this as this sort of stuff has been a big issue and more will happen unless resolved now.

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@Klein - No she HAD custody - but not rights to remove the children from their country - she lost custody when she abducted them - the rest of your rant is just that.

He is the victim of a racist Japanese family court system and no political will to change.

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Tatanka,

That was funny I like it. Though the funny looking usually comes from the non Japanese side. A large majority of Foreigners married to Japanese wouldn't be considered all that attractive in their home countries. Thus, Charisma man/woman syndrome.

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Timborder - Under the terms of the Nationality Law here in Japan, both of the children are allowed to claim dual nationality up until such time as they reach the age of majority.

Incorrect! They have to make a choice at age 12 because of the pension system here in Japan.

He is the victim of a racist Japanese family court system and no political will to change.

Not just raciest, but also sexist. Japanese family law is about the only law in Japan that favors women. And, understandably so too. Most Japanese men can't even look after themselves.

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Incorrect! They have to make a choice at age 12 because of the pension system here in Japan.

Sorry son, you are about 8 years to quick. The citizenship issue comes up at the age of majority in Japan. This would be 20 years old at the current time. That being said, however, seeing as the average Japanese 20 year old has the mental age of a 12 year old, your analysis might be correct.

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He is the victim of a racist Japanese family court system and no political will to change

And she was a victim of an American divorce system. She was in a foreign contry and had no way to defend herself or understand her rights as the mother.

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It seems that she was trapped by he planned before they left Japan for US. He wanted children from her. He was thinking about divorce in US. He was actually remarried soon right after the divorce to take children from her. At that time she had to work for children but could not find job because she did not know much about there and nobody supported her about almost everything. Maybe she broke damn American law but she did make right decision to survive in this world and for her children who can speak Japanese and who were originally born here. No problem at all about children's school in Japan and about her working better here. She anyway no problem as long as she and her children live here. Well, this is one mother's decision.

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um..well I know folks born here that keep both their British and their Japanese passports and refuse to throw the British passport away.They are now in their mid 30's.The truth is the Japanese government can NOT force someone to give up their passport,which in the case of Commonwealth citizens is granted by the queen.As long as you have both passports then you are a citizen of both countries,I would say? The Japanese bluster people into giving up their passports but they are not legally allowed to do so.

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When Obama comes here next month, he should go for the throat on this topic. No prisoners at all. Given his high level popularity in Japan as an English teacher who is even bigger than Mr. James (just go down to your local bookshop and find out - there are dozens of little red books on the "Thoughts of Chairman Obama"), the President should proceed to act like everybody's favorite dinosaur (Godzilla) regarding this issue.

For example, if NHK wants to sit down and verbally pleasure the President with a nice soft interview, the White House Press Officer should vet all questions in advance and cross out all that are unrelated to these kidnappings by Japanese nationals. Teddy Roosevelt used to talk about walking silently but carrying a big stick. Well Mr. President, swing for the fences buddy.

Finally, if Japan wants to stonewall this whole issue, President Obama should be magnanimous in offering to pay for the forced relocation of all Japanese diplomats in the United States back to Japan. Why? Because the United States does not have relations with states that engage in forms of state-sponsored terrorism. The gloves should come off on this one.

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timtak:

ritalyn luilui ca1iocat (and probably others) are criticising the guy suggesting he should have taken legal means

please read my post carefully before you make comments. when did i say that?

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Almost no one here has considered the children. I too have had a child abducted by a Japanese.I live in Japan but cannot contact her. I would not however try to make a right by making a second wrong and kidnap my daughter back. How upsetting that would be for her. I hope the guy Christopher gets a long jail sentence.8-10 years would be appropriate I think.I have watched several videos about this on CNN and he is obviously a selfish idiot who is crying out to have an example made of him. That would discourage attempts at this sort of thing. What I really loved from all the US videos was the constant refrain from announcers and "legal experts" etc saying "Japan is an ally.We must be able to put some political pressure on them" LOL Please thing of things from the children`s perspective!

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@JmannGod While I don't want to shift focus from the kids who are suffering the most; I second you on your comments regarding a racist Japanese society,legal system.

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"Well I'm definitely not racist. . . But I guess you haven't been crossed by many Japanese girls in your life. They're particularly cold and selfish when they want to be."

So, ALL Japanese women are cold and selfish "when they want to be"?

Nope. No blatant stereotyping here. No sirree.

How about, "All people can be cold and selfish when the need arises." That's probably a lot closer to the mark.

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JMannGod. I stand corrected. You are right. She had custody. I might say that custody hearings go back and forth, so she might have feared losing it. Certainly, if he was going to raise a stink about her taking the kids out of the country, she might have feared that. One way to wrest custody is to show that the other person is denying visitation.

Dano2002, let me know how that threat/bluster thing works out for you. Personally, I would not enjoy a relationship with someone I could threaten, but it certainly works with some people. Until that one day... when all heck breaks loose.

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"And she was a victim of an American divorce system. She was in a foreign contry and had no way to defend herself or understand her rights as the mother."

She wasn't victimized. She initially received parental custody of the children, and the husband was granted visitation rights. This is no different treatment than any other woman in the same circumstances would receive in the U.S. She only lost custody when she decided to break the law and sneak out of the country with Savoie's kids.

And this “poor confused Japanese woman at the mercy of a system she doesn’t understand” bit doesn’t quite fly either. She knew enough about the system to get her kids out of the country on the sly. That doesn’t quite suggest deer-in-headlight naivety.

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The Japanese ex-wife is a criminal. The divorce happened in the USA along with custody hearings for the children. The ex-wife knew if she fled to Japan, her government would side with her. There is open information for Japanese women to "abduct" their children to bring back to Japan, therefore, the Japanese government is more than 50% at fault for allowing this to continue.

Even if Christopher Savoie is an idiot for trying to "re-abduct" his own children from his ex-wife, this growing problem has to be addressed so that both the fathers and mothers have fair access to their children.

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I really doubt that Obama would talk about this issue with Hatoyama and J government next month. I say "It Never happens". This is absolutely private matter and she is not a criminal. Obama will be much busier about foreign policies with Japan, China, both Koreas, Iran, etc. He will never talk about such a damn thing.

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Luilui wrote

when did i say that?

i hope they both hire good lawyers and fix this soon.

From my reading of the crnjapan.net website and discussion with a father, lawyers can not help, since there are no laws in place. Once the mother has the kids in Japan, and does not want or need daddy, then cry all you like, have the best lawyer in the world, you never get to see your kids again. Please read this carefully:-)

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in her email to Mr.Savoie, Noriko-san said it is hard to see the children becoming American and losing Japanese identity... i think she wanted to raise the kids as Japanese in Japan.

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Just from a legal perspective I have a quick point to raise. Do the Japanese police actually have the right to arrest this chap in the first place. Based on the evidence presented, it could be argued that no crime has been committed.

i think the cops were justified in arresting the guy. they can't be expected to untangle this mess on the spot. this is beyond their pay scale. it really is an international treaty issue.

all this back and forth defending/attacking the players is pointless. this is not about which player was right or wrong. it's about japan participating in an international treaty agreement or not.

i think us citizens should be outraged that our ally could so boldly dismiss our rights and laws. this is an interesting challenge for the two new governments to solve.

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Do both parents have a right to participate in the upbringing of their child after they divorce?

Moderator post this question and lets see the response. Make it a simple yes or no

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michaeltodd,

"hope the guy Christopher gets a long jail sentence.8-10 years would be appropriate I think."

Oh, yes, now THAT would do wonders for the kids, wouldn't it? Give it a rest, michael. Your cry "for the children" here rings more than a little hollow.

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Christopher Savoie has just guaranteed that his children will not see their father again at least for a long time.He knew the rules and the risks he was taking and chose to bring about this reality without using the proper channels. He must be made an example of to stop more of this happening.Have studied that the maximum time he can be given is 5 years.He definetely deserves this. Japanese laws are carefully designed to provide dissincentives to divorce and who is to say that in general they do not achieve this goal and create a less litigious society and less trauma for children. Please consider all this before commenting. Please do not consider what is "wrong and right" in your own country and then try to apply it here.It simply does not work that way

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Do both parents have a right to participate in the upbringing of their child after they divorce?

It's probably best for the kids to have both parents in their lives. Since both parents are citizens of Japan, it just makes sense to raise them there.

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igotchu - I say Yes!

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she is not a criminal

That is incorrect. There is an arrest warrant out for the ex-wife in the United States. Considering that parental kidnapping is a federal offense (the big league), the ex-wife is a candidate for the FBI homepage that focuses on parental kidnappings. As such, the President of the United States would be well within his rights to demand that Noriko Savoie be handed over to US authorities immediately under the terms of bilateral agreements concerning extradition that exist between the countries. He might also demand that a number of other individuals be handed over likewise. Now, if Japan declines to comply, the President would be well within his rights to order some form of sanction against Japan. What about refraining from supporting Japan's attempts to gain a UN Security Council seat. Surely the UNSC is no place for a country that engages in activities contrary to international agreements (the Hague Convention). On the other hand, the President might impose some form of bilateral penalty. What about no-longer treating Japanese nationals as citizens of a friendly country? Put a few barriers in place to stop Japanese visiting the US so easily. Finally, it is important to remember that historically Japan best complies with international wishes only after being firmly kicked.

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Surely the UNSC is no place for a country that engages in activities contrary to international agreements (the Hague Convention).

Russia and China didn't sign the convention either.

Why would Obama waste his time getting involved in a family legal dispute between two Japanese citizens? He's got more important things to do like fixing the economy and health care.

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the Japanese government can NOT force someone to give up their passport

They can revoke your Japanese passport if it comes to light that you have obtained it under false pretenses (you have to declare that you do not hold citizenship of any other country when you apply for a passport)

If you already have kids (through marriage or otherwise) make sure they attend international school because there is no future for them in this country

Rubbish.

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timorborder,

i'm with you on this but i think your being a little unrealistic. there is no way obama wants to raise this issue to the level of an international crisis. i think the state dept. will be haggled over this behind the scenes. no grand standing.

on the other hand i think the congress would be better vehicle for putting pressure on. that proposed bill might be enough of a wake up call to get japan's attention. it would be mostly symbolic, let's face it the US won't be changing it's national security policy over this. but a bill cutting some program somewhere might be enough of a message.

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U.S. Representative Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican, told The Associated Press he has introduced a bill called the International Child Abduction Prevention Act of 2009, which would penalize countries that show a pattern of not cooperating to resolve such cases. Penalties could include being denied military aid and certain loans, he said.

Highly unlikely to have any affect on Japan, heck Japan probably has more loans to the US then vice versa.

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i think us citizens should be outraged that our ally could so boldly dismiss our rights and laws. this is an interesting challenge for the two new governments to solve.

So two wrongs make a right? The guy came to Japan and violated Japanese laws as well...

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Badge213: There was already a separation agreement with custody of the children sorted out, she broke the agreement, kidnapped the kids and took them to Japan...

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inkjet: On the balance of probability you are probably right. However, when the President comes to Japan next month, it would be great if he showed his displeasure in even the smallest of ways. Just imagine if he were to offer a few off-the-cuff remarks to NHK , that fine propaganda mouthpiece of the Japanese establishment, when NHK were trying their best to pleasure him (figuratively not literally). Just the hint of this thing blowing up would bring so much pressure to bear on the Japanese government that they would have to act.

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Yeah. Thanks Cleo. I had a reply all written out for Tatanka, but thought better of posting it. Japan is a great place for families. Good marriages require maturity.

Osakadaz, you should ignore the fear, uncertainty, and doubt you are getting from some posters here and just pay attention to what you have. I know you must be scared out of your wits about all this. You will hear horror stories, but you must know that things work out just fine.

I am not eager for the screwed up system of family law infesting the US to be making inroads into Japan. If the treaty is part of that kind of legal creep, then Japan is better off without it.

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These situations are always hard, and without knowing all the details we can't know about particular cases.

However, speaking generally:

The important rights are those of children to have access to, and be free to love both their parents. Children need as much love and support as they can get, and it is not for one parent to decide that the other is disposable. International relationships increase the risk that one partner will remove them to another country, but this should only happen with the agreement of both parents, or the chance at least to argue it from a child-centred point of view in court.

I don't think that the inflamatory terms kidnap or abduction should be used about a 'good enough' parent who has been obstructed and uses it as a last resort in the absence of an equitable court process.

Children's rights to a relationship with their father post separation sadly do not appear to be recognised in Japanese family law. Issues of domestic violence and abuse need to be addressed, but should not be based on accusation alone, and should not be used as an excuse to prevent children from seeing a good enough parent 'just in case'. That would literally be throwing the baby out with the bath water. In Britain contact centres in any case provide services so that handovers can take place without parents meeting where there is a question of risk.

The law should recognise the importance of both parents, and parents themselves should respect their children's needs above their own and attempt to co-operate as separated parents.

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There was already a separation agreement with custody of the children sorted out, she broke the agreement, kidnapped the kids and took them to Japan...

So two wrongs make a right?

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Hey Timorborder:

How about Hatoyama acts by checking all foreign passports issued to "former" Americans to make sure that those people do not have US passports too? That would be a very proactive measure, wunnit? Can't have this kind of thing happening again. I am betting that the Ministry of Justice would love that project. My guess is that JT forums will light up with a million points of DEBITO if that happened.

Christopher, having willfully lied to get his Japanese passport, might be looking at real live prison time. And he is CEO of a business in Japan? Ooopsie. Hope they don't have to investigate EVERY piece of paper he signed as a Japanese citizen. Banks could get in on that action. Is his hanko invalidated too? Uh oh. Could get really really messy.

I wonder if Christopher really wants this to get as big as he is hinting.

This can all be spun in lots of ways, see, and before one launches rockets, one must watch out for that blowback!

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The guy came to Japan and violated Japanese laws as well...

No.

He.

Didn't.

He's still technically married to the mysterious Ms. Noriko "I Have No Last Name Even Even Though I'm Screaming to the High Heavens that I'm Now Divorced." Therefore, he has all applicable parental rights afforded to married spouses in Japan. Including the right to pick up his kids.

Oh, wait. I forgot. He's just a foreigner. Rights, schmights.

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Klien2,

"I am not eager for the screwed up system of family law infesting the US to be making inroads into Japan. If the treaty is part of that kind of legal creep, then Japan is better off without it."

While I would certainly agree that American family law leaves a lot to be desired, you have to admit that they system in Japan isn't particularly better.

And I'm not talking about cases of international marriages. I'm talking about cases of divorce between, say, two Japanese nationals. How do you rationalize that one of two parents automatically loses the right to any contact whatsoever with their children after a divorce? Do you genuinely feel that this arrangement is better for the children?

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michaelqtodd at

"He knew the rules and the risks he was taking and chose to bring about this reality without using the proper channels. "

As I keep saying, there are no proper channels. In the US there are courts which will reach a settlement. In Japan there are courts that give custody to the mother/Japanese parent (afterall who better, this is japan) and in any event to ONE parent and then the other parent is OUT OF THE CHILDREN'S LIVES FOREVER.

There are no proper chanels. There are NO proper channels. This guy was aware of that, and that is why he tried "some self help" (his lawyers words.

Discounting 1) Making up with x 2) Bribing x to let see children

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How do you rationalize that one of two parents automatically loses the right to any contact whatsoever with their children after a divorce? Do you genuinely feel that this arrangement is better for the children?

I rationalise it in terms of its effect upon society. If dual custody were allowed the divorce rate would sky rocket. Japanese do not believe in boy-girl love eternal. The family is based in parent-child love. If you could keep that and get a new spouse the...there would be a rush for the door.

Children of divorced parents are more likely to turn to crime, and drugs.

So in a way, the law on single custody is a rock that is keeping Japanese society together, or so it could be argued.

Which makes it no less tragic for the parents left behind in the USA.

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He's just a foreigner. Rights, schmights.

Thats what the J cops thought when they illegally arrested him. He has J citizen ship. What a screwed up series of events the crazy woman started by kidnapping her kids in the first place.

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Someone says parental kidnapping is federal offense but arrest warrant is as long as in US. She just brought her own children home in Japan without father's answer. This is not kidnapping at all in Japan, so not against the Japan's law at least. someday she may be back to the US 50 years later to see her ex-husband again if she wants. Maybe US requests extradition in the future but Japan will not because she is not criminal in Japan as she did not break any law here and she did not kill anyone. She just found way to live.

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spudman exactly, this is an illegal arrest. hes japanese-hes not divorced from his wife in japan hes the father-what grounds are they arresting him on ..

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Klein, a rather interesting post on your part. I think, however, that you have somewhat missed the point old chap. You don't seem to realize that Japan will always defer to (bend over) when Uncle Sam gets angry and (figuratively) flops it out. To do otherwise would risk Japan having to assume the responsibilities of a true nation state (no more neo-mercantilism, having to develop foreign policy, defending itself, etc). At the same time, however, before the US straps on the plastic, it should at least use a lubricant.

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Badge213: There was already a separation agreement with custody of the children sorted out, she broke the agreement, kidnapped the kids and took them to Japan...

She kidnapped them from the USA, and he was trying to kidnap them from Japan. Again two wrongs make a right?

Again I'm just looking at it from a legal standpoint, keeping emotions and feelings out of it, which some find extremely hard to do.

She broke US laws, he broke Japanese laws. Unfortunately he was captured in Japan, she wasn't captured in the USA. So he gets the short end of the straw. Like it or not, thats how the laws are now and he broke the law.

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badge213

what laws did he break in japan??

as i keep saying they arent divorced here

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If they aren't divorced here, then he is a bigamist by marrying Amy in TN. Bigamy is apparently illegal in Japan.

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That is a crime that he will pay. Kidnapping is a crime.

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akaminekoji but he hasnt kidnapped anyone-who did he kidnap?

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So let me get this strait, If I'm married in the B country, I have to remarry again in Japan because it's not official in Japan?

From what I gather, I'm married in the US, it is recognized in Japan, same if I married in Japan, it is recognized in the US, there's no need for me to marry twice. Taking that into account, I would assume a divorce done in the US would be recognized in Japan as well, thus alleviating the point of having to divorce twice. Unless you can point to me where it says otherwise.

But we're all in a very very grey area now.

Unfortunately he still got the short end of the straw.

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Ah bigamy is a crime too, thats a good point, any comments on that matter?

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MrUSA

"She ignored a US court order, but all 4 involved are Japanese citizens"

The fact that he is NOW Japanese is a technicality and you know it. The lived in America. She broke American law. SHE is the original criminal here, and were she to step foot on US soil, she'd be arrested for it - and for good reason.

I'm not racist. I just don't have my head in the sand like many OTHERS around here. I am married to a Japanese woman. Notice, in my last post, I said "typical cold, selfish Japanese b*tch." My wife is not typical. She is intelligent and warm-hearted. She sees the forest for the trees here - which most J women cannot. She gets it, and she is Japanese; so why can't you?

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"Under the terms of the Nationality Law here in Japan, both of the children are allowed to claim dual nationality up until such time as they reach the age of majority. "

VERY good point. JUST cuz they have J passports, does not mean they are not American as well...

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Marriage outside of Japan is recognised in Japan.

Divorce outside of Japan for marriages outside of Japan are recognised as well.

However, marriages that are registered in Japan have to be dissolved in Japan (or through the consulate) in order to be recognised in Japan.

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for a int marriage to be recognized in japan you need to get clearance from home country that person is single. same otherway round. he divorced in usa and remarried in usa no issue.

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The more I learn about this story the more I realize is that neither party is as bad as the other party is making them out to be. It's just they handled their situation the wrong way.

He wanted a divorce but he knew that if he gotten one in Japan, he wouldn't see his kids, so he went to the US to get it done. I understand that, but if he had just sit down and talked to her, they may have came up with a solution that might have worked out for the both of them. I know that Japan rewards custody to only one parent but I'm thinking that if both parents made arrangements that both parties agreed to, the courts would have allow it.

Now she was dragged to another county that she may have known little about and then pretty much dumped there. I don't know how much of the language she knows but the only people she know may have been him and the new wife. And it's not easy making friends, especially if you know little about the country you're in. So here she is, maybe alone, maybe depressed, longing to be with her family and friends back in Japan, but if she goes home, she would have to leave her kids, and she doesn't want to do that. I understand why she did what she did but once again, it was the wrong thing to do, and once again, this may have been resolved if both parents simply sat down and talked to each other.

In the end, both parties were wrong. I think both parties did what they thought was their only option.

Now I will say this, if he brought her to US knowing he was divorcing her and marring someone else, then he was wrong. If they came to America knowing they were divorcing because the marriage wasn't going anywhere, that's one thing. But if her just dumped her on foreign soil just so he can marry his new lady, that's cruel.

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for a int marriage to be recognized in japan you need to get clearance from home country that person is single. same otherway round. he divorced in usa and remarried in usa no issue.

But the divorce wasn't recognised by the Japanese authorities. His "home country" is Japan, isn't it by virtue of his naturalisation. Or is this supposed to be like a Tiajuana divorce?

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Japan has to come to grips with a parents right of access to his/her children. Just go ahead and change the dam domestic laws, if you're not going to do it just say it clearly and stop trying pretend like its something Japanese society doesn't want. Japanese Parents want access to their children just as bad, and they've acted in a worst manner than Chris- to be with their kids. Hell the former PM Koizumi kidnapped his son. Face it the customary practice of denying a parent access after divorce is backward and gots to go. Its doing more harm to the society- increased suicides among single mothers, higher juvenile crimes, more young girls going into the sex industry, a declining birthrate, and a higher burden on tax payers because of welfare. One of you politicians be strong enough to bring this issue up in the diet and lets get it over with. Stop destroying peoples lives to uphold an outdated customary practice that's no longer useful in the 21st century.

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Flyingfish:

spudman exactly, this is an illegal arrest. hes japanese-hes not divorced from his wife in japan hes the father-what grounds are they arresting him on ..

Ok, fourth time I've written this today. But I'm gonna write it again because it's really important that people understand this.

You only need to divorce ONCE in ONE country for it to apply in ALL COUNTRIES.

Badge123:

You're exactly right. Makes sense, doesn't it? Imagine if marriages were only recognised in the country they took place in.... The same applies for divorces.

But we're all in a very very grey area now.

No we're not =) It's all black and white.

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Timor and Fadamor seem to have things summed up nicely.

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abromofo

nonsense

why do you think the japanese authorities are saying the divorce wasnt registered with them then

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@Timtak "Proper channels" include building relationships and trust.Do not always mean the courts

Anyway I cannot believe anyone is supporting this guy 1.Correct me if I am wrong but he lured Noriko to US with no intention of continuing their relationship.She naturally wanted to give it every chance and was naive. 2.He grabbed 2 children (they are not "his" they are simply children) from their mother while they were walking to school together in the morning.They were then deposited into Police custody.They will now be subjected for some time to what I am sure is most unwelcome "fame" in their school and neighbourhood. Surely no one can support and encourage this appalling behaviour

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ritalyn luilui ca1iocat (and probably others) are criticising the guy suggesting he should have taken legal means. Folks do not seem to realise that there is no legal means.

Not until you can get rid of that pesky Y chromosome.

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Even if he lured her back to the US he did so because Japanese Law would not guarantee nor enforce his right of access. Stop trying to obscure the obvious, the Family Law is the problem. Fix it damit.

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abromofo nonsense why do you think the japanese authorities are saying the divorce wasnt registered with them then

I can assure you it is not nonsense.

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id be assured if you could answer my question

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Well I have certainly gone cross-eyed on the arguments here. Timorborder. I think I understand very well now. Thank you. Mind that blowback now.

LFRagain. Let me give you two cheers for the Japanese system. The main benefit is that it gets cut and dried quickly. I have no desire to defend it. If I ever encounter it, it will destroy me, but is it better overall? I think so.

How about what it DOES have? Seems to me the J system puts ONE parent in charge of the children. Period. That parent has sole responsibility, and there is no renegotiation unless there is some kind of heinous misconduct and usually not even then. That might have a lot to do with legal fees. In sum, that is good. It is not optimal, but life goes on. At least one person must be the parent. It seems that the outcomes are transparent, too. If everyone is pretty sure that the wife gets the kids, guess what? No fighting about it. It just happens. Less conflict. And frankly, if one loves his kids and KNOWS he will lose them in a divorce, then divorce is less likely, QED. Less dice rolling also yields less conflict.

What DOESN'T the Japanese system have? 5 child development experts, 4 social workers, 3 lawyers, 2 psychologists, 1 activist judge and all the hearings, reviews, evaluations, and appeals that any divorced parent could possibly afford. There are so many scams and schemes that can be used to shovel kids back and forth, and the amounts of child and spousal support are all tied up in there. And if you really go for broke, you can accuse the ex of sexually molesting the kids. The fights go on and on. Restraining orders, restrictions on travel, police, medical costs that could be for anything. (Ex wife decides that missy should have plastic surgery and wants ex hubby to pay for it. If ex wife can get a psychologist to testify for this and that, then ex hubby foots the bill and mom and missy can take a vacation to Atlantic City to show off the new nose.) From the word go it is conflict, competition, and destruction, and the process can go on for decades. The lawyers encourage it.

What would 10 000 dollars in legal fees do for a child's education? No matter how much I would hate my wife, she would be the mother of my children and I would gladly give her the money rather than spend it in legal fees. And in the end, all the legal decisions in the world get you nothing. Not a thing. Everything can be circumvented or subverted.

It is a terrible thing to go through, but win or lose, I would rather do it the Japan way. Life is just too short. People need to move on.

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If parental abduction is not a crime in Japan, why is he in custody?

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michaelgtodd,

1.Correct me if I am wrong but he lured Noriko to US with no intention of continuing their relationship.

You’re wrong. There. I’ve corrected you. You’re building an argument based on pure speculation, none of which has to do with the fundamental truth that she broke the law and kidnapped the children.

She naturally wanted to give it every chance and was naive.

More pure specualtion without a shred of proof.

2.He grabbed 2 children (they are not "his" they are simply children) from their mother while they were walking to school together in the morning.

Wow. I’m actually shaking my head at this in utter disbelief. Quite possibly the most asinine statement to pop up in this thread today. Are you really trying to turn this into a philosophical debate on the proper classification of these children? They are his” children, just as they are “her” children, both legally and culturally, by virtue of them accepting the parental obligation of raising them.

They were then deposited into Police custody.

No information to that effect anywhere.

They will now be subjected for some time to what I am sure is most unwelcome "fame" in their school and neighbourhood.

And they wouldn’t have once faced with having to explain where their father suddenly went?

Surely no one can support and encourage this appalling behaviour

Yet you seem more than willing to support and encourage the mother’s illegal abduction of the children from their home in the United States. And on their first day of school, no less.

You, sir, are a pathetically obvious hypocrite.

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I have been through all this myself and I tell you.It is not in the children`s best interests to fight over them.All the information I have raised here is gleaned from the CNN videos of which there are 7

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First - the children, apparently, love both of their parents. There is nothing to be gained in abusing/attacking either parent. However - no matter what the court decision in USA was regarding the custody of the children, and no matter how much their father was judged in USA to be the better parent to have greater custody - there is no way that I can blame the mother for doing as she did. She was clearly in a very weak position - in terms of keeping her children safe from whatever she was likely to consider to be serious dangers - which in Japanese culture are nothing like USAs. An example - as a far away, very foreign outsider - Id say - without the slightest intent to be unkind to their father - Noriko must have watched in anguish while her children were led into the USA big, happy eater mode - of overweight and high blood pressure, while their stepmother is happy to go on air talking about the money grabbing, cheating Japanese mothers, who try to get money by false pretences. Noriko must have been heartbroken, anxious, to see the growing influence of the USA, at the cost of what she may have considered the best of Japanese care. And all the while - to live like a 'second class' mother - close - but not too close - to her childrens' USA second family, and their new, stand-in mother. I feel the horrible pain with her. Of course the laws must be changed that prevent those children seeing their father too - but to expect happy aquiescence - to USA child care standards - without question, is too much.

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Everybody is trying to take a side. Look at it in simple terms, does Japanese law guarantee and enforce both parents right of access-No. Does US law guarantee both parents right of access-yes. If you love your children and know you could lose your parental rights by divorcing in Japan, where would you want to get the divorce US or Japan? Come on people, tell the Japanese to fix the dam law and most of these cases will disappear tomorrow.

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Klein2,

Things that DO happen in the Japanese system:

Child neglect numbers that are off the chart.

Child abuse in startling numbers.

Psychological bullying in startling numbers.

Child suicides in startling numbers.

And the most disturbing part of it all? Much of it goes unreported because not only are there are no mechanisms in place to combat it, but the traditional Japanese model

Marriages stay together for the worst of possible reasons: It's too much of a hassle to divorce the one you hate, so "shouganai,” or the even more deplorable reason of “what would the neighbors think?” Six months down the road, baby’s dead in the car sitting in the afternoon sun because mom and dad find pachinko more emotionally rewarding than raising a child, 13-year old girls are pimping themselves out via cell phone websites so they can afford Gucci handbags, and teenage boys with pipes are beating homeless people to death in public parks. Yes, all is just rosy and wonderful with Japan and its family law.

Are these problems the result of the Japanese system. No, of course not. But the Japanese system is failing to evolve with the times in order to accommodate a vastly different social fabric. The rise in international marriages are but one facet of where Japanese law is entirely outdated and insufficient.

You also argue that putting one parent definitively in charge of the child somehow has greater benefits over the Western model which, hmm . . . also puts one parent in charge of the child, plus another to maintain the child's bond with both parents. Where are the striking benefits of one over the other? I’m not seeing it. I teach kids from both married households and divorced households on a daily basis and I can tell you from what I’ve observed that this vast benefit of making divorce somehow more prohibitive is not as clear-cut as you seem to think it is.

Meanwhile, here’s your laundry list of the potential horrific consequences of divorce:

”Restraining orders, restrictions on travel, police, medical costs that could be for anything. (Ex wife decides that missy should have plastic surgery and wants ex hubby to pay for it. If ex wife can get a psychologist to testify for this and that, then ex hubby foots the bill and mom and missy can take a vacation to Atlantic City to show off the new nose.) From the word go it is conflict, competition, and destruction, and the process can go on for decades. The lawyers encourage it.”

By your own reasoning, if THIS list isn't enough to terrify couples contemplating divorce into reconsidering, then I doubt very sincerely your idea of a settling everything with a one-size-fits-all law is going to deter divorces any more than the above list.

I agree with you that divorce when children are involved is a terrible thing, but the idea that arbitrarily awarding sole custody of the children to the mother somehow makes everything magically better, including reducing divorce rates, is indefensible, particularly when you have no evidence to support that claim. I will certainly allow that it might make a sort of sense on some level, but you cannot strictly claim it is the case.

I agree that these two basically did this to themselves. Who knows what circumstances led to Christopher spending 8 years with Noriko, only to divorce her later in the U.S.? We can’t know what led up to it. But we can be sure that this wasn’t just some flight of fancy. They were together for eight years. That’s a long time. Personally, I find it offensive that so many posters seem more than willing to assume that he brought her to the U.S. just to throw her away as part of some elaborate ruse. I mean really, what could possible be his motive? He just really, really, really wanted two half-Japanese, half-American kids?! There’ve simply got to be easier ways of achieving that than spending 8 years buttering up someone to bear them for you.

Also, I don't know enough about Noriko to condemn her for wanting to do what she did. I can certainly empathize with what much have been considerable desperation for her. But her possible reasons for wanting to return to the U.S. and her declared reasons for stealing the children to come with her done jibe at all. She feared they would lose their Japanese identities? That's irrationality speaking. What did she expect would happen when she moved to the United States?

Obviously something in their relationship went very wrong, but it's unfair and unrealistic for any of us to judge either one of them for whatever that may have been. Even in knowing, it’s completely irrelevant. At the end of the day, she broke the law. Out of selfishness, she stole his son and daughter with the clear intention of never letting him see them again. And she had no right to do that under U.S. and international law, under whose jurisdiction she was at the time.

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LFRAgain, you say we shouldn't judge them but you turn around and say she took the kids because she was selfish. How do you know that? there could be many reason why she took the kids. Maybe she wanted to go back home and didn't want to leave them, maybe she thought he would try to shut her out of their lives. what she did was wrong but don't think it's because she's a heartless woman who doesn't care about anyone else but herself.

I never said he brought her to the US to dump her, i think he went home for the divorce because he knew he had a better chance to see his kids, which is understandable. I said IF he did it just to divorce without her knowledge he was wrong.

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michaelgtodd,

I saw all of the CNN videos as well, and I'll say again you are making statements about Christopher Savoie that are completely unsubstantiated. There is nothing in any of those videos, much less the written news items, that support your comments.

It is not in the children`s best interests to fight over them.

I agree wholeheartedly.

So, why aren't you outraged with Noriko for essentially firing the first volley in this fight? She is the one who took it upon herself to strip her children of their father. Doesn't she deserve some of your ire for using the children in this manner?

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ritalynn,

there could be many reason why she took the kids

No need to guess. She gave a reason. She stated in a written e-mail to Savoie that she was afraid of watching her children become American and losing their Japanese identities.

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For you people damming Chris, do you think he would have gotten a divorce in Japan when he lived here for 7 years with Noriko, had Japanese law granted visitation rights and enforced those rights, as well as allowed his children to travel to the U.S.?

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No need to guess. She gave a reason. She stated in a written e-mail to Savoie that she was afraid of watching her children become American and losing their Japanese identities.

That's understandable. She still shouldn't have took them but but I can understand her reasons. It doesn't sounds like her reason was selfish.

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Theres only one way to deal with any of it - and thats to make every possible effort to find a peaceful solution for the children to see both of their parents regularly without neglecting the concerns of either parent, either extended family, either social group, either culture, either nationality. USA is a wonderful country - but its customs and ideals are vastly different from those of Japan. The people from both cultures need and deserve equal respect. The custody laws in this case did not give it. I just read Noriko's comment about not wanting her children to lose their Japanese identity - does anyone here have a clue how important that might be for a loving mother? Ive already quoted DIET - food - as one of the basic USA/ JP differences. Those children were already getting into the American way - and might have been on the road to life threatening high blood pressure, like their pa who was hospitalised in Jp and is suffering now.

If you had to watch your kids learning to eat big and maybe die early - what would YOU want to do about it? That by itself could be reason enough to take the kids and run. It all needs very much more careful thought than trite throwaway ideas of rights and freedoms.

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ensnaturae:

Theres only one way to deal with any of it - and thats to make every possible effort to find a peaceful solution for the children to see both of their parents regularly without neglecting the concerns of either parent, either extended family, either social group, either culture, either nationality

They already had one, she decided to break the separation agreement and run away.

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still hoping. Any lawyers reading this site - please contact me. same situation 3 years of court costs and no change.

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If daddy has to face abduction charges in Japan, Noriko should be sent back to the USA to face the same. What's good for the gander is good for the goose. Leave the kids with grandma in Japan and let Noriko face the same jeopardy that Mr. Savoie faces since she started the whole ball rolling on this one. Can the US get someone extradited from Japan?

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Some of you have bi-cultural kids, speak up about how your children make a natural adaption between both cultures when they have two loving parents that share it with them. These children learn to speak, read, write and do all the things that come with both customs when their parents create the right environment for them to learn. When one parent is fearful of the other parents culture it will have negative effects on the children. Japanese parents tend to be more afraid of the children's western identity because they think it will cause them to lose their Japanese identity. I think their fears are unfounded and they should practice more tolerance to the children's western identity. Furthermore, Japanese courts are worst than the parents when it comes to protecting these children's Japanese identity. You guys need to stop being so defensive of your culture and learn to respect other customs. These children have every right to know and practice both of their customs. For those of you who can't handle that don't have children with foreigners. Japanese courts have no right whatsoever to deny these children the right to learn about their western heritage. US Courts recognize the rights of foreign parents to pass their customs down to their children and affords foreign parents those rights. Noriko was given custody, visitation rights, and the right to take her children for visits to Japan. What does Japanese courts afford the foreign parents?.........Not a dam thing.

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http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/10/01/japan.savoie.custody/index.html he says "in Japan, they think my wife is the victim) why did he make a break for the consulate and scream at guards if he didn't think he did anything wrong you need to obey the law of where you are why do americans always think American Law follows them regardless of what country they are in?

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I am bi-cultural lawyer, born of a Japanese mother and an Irish-American father, I got raised in Japan but have been living in East England ever since i was 21.

Let's stick to certain facts. Savoie became a naturalized citizen of Japan. This is not just due to the marriage agreements he had with Noriko but because of business ownership issues of his company in Japan. The couple was of course married in Japan. What is intriguing here is why the US courts even allowed the divorce to be heard in America when they were not even married there, and are not even recognized citizens on registry in the States. And subsequently issue a custody award to Savoie despite not having a marriage and citizenship prerequisite for either one of them? Note that Savoie is a CEO of an emerging technology firm. His lawyers were particularly sloppy at the handling of his case when they could have reinstated his American citizenship first, made a subsequent divorce papers settled both in the Japan and in the US, and then battled for custody. The American courts also failed Savoie in advising them of their jurisdiction. Despite the Hague protocols on international child abductions, it must be noted that country sovereignity still is a paramount consideration in its execution.

In the case of Japan, they (lock-stock-and-barrel) would argue that they have followed all the necessary rules in this case. Technically, they are correct. Such that it can even be argued legally that they can arrest Savoie on charges of kidnapping as a Japanese citizen regardless whether he is still legally married to Noriko in Japan or not.

Every one of course will have a tendency to take sides. However as a lawyer i am compelled to ask the following questions to both parties: What was the reason for the divorce in the first place? Why was the divorce papers filed in the US? Who triggered that request? Was it Savoie or Noriko? Was either party under duress when the divorce was heard in the US? Why weren't equivalent requests held in Japan? Were both parties fully aware of the repurcussions of child custody and jurisdiction? Why didn't their respective family lawyers advised them of the US courts jurisdiction versus the marriage / family law in Japan where they were married?

I enjoin all of you that before you paint anyone of them in a bad light, i would suggest that motives from Savoie and Noriko need to be brought up by using the above questions. We may be culturally different (Japanese and Americans) but there is also a possibility that Noriko was in duress during the divorce / custody hearing and it is possible that she could not understand anything. It is also possible that Savoie was misinformed by his lawyers on custody strategies and perhaps was greatly misadvised.

It also disheartens me to see that we can make broad brush strokes on certain cultures without fully understanding detailed intricacies of Savoie and Noriko's relationship.

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thank you tekiru. that was a very insightful post. you raise some very interesting questions.

emotions run high when we see a parent arrested for simply trying to be with his own child.

it's an especially sensitive issue for those of us living in japan with children.

if indeed the courts/lawyers screwed this up i hope it can be fixed without destroying these lives.

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Tekiru, thank you for your insightful comment. Igotchu, you say: "do you think he would have gotten a divorce in Japan when he lived here for 7 years with Noriko, had Japanese law granted visitation rights and enforced those rights, as well as allowed his children to travel to the U.S.?" I agree that the reforms you suggest are necessary, and I can understand why the father wanted a divorce in the U.S. But the state of Japanese law is not the mother's fault, and as Tekiru suggests, it does appear that the mother was under duress - the only way she could get a divorce and money for her and her children was to do it in the U.S. It's not clear to me that Tennessee really should have been the home state for parenting under Tennessee law, and the nation state of habitual residence under the Hague Convention. The kids being U.S. citizens doesn't answer that question, and nor does dissatisfaction with Japanese law. Seeing how this has turned out, I agree with Tekiru that this should have been handled differently. Ultimately, both parents have to act in good faith for each other and the children. It's not clear to me that the father has done that, and not clear that the Tennessee court considered these issues. Forcing a Japanese mother to move to Tennessee to get a divorce was inherently unstable.

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Tekiru, it's not so much citizenship as which state is the "home state."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UniformChildCustodyJurisdictionAndEnforcementAct

Here's an explanation by Mr. Savoie's lawyer:

http://www.international-divorce.com/uccjeachildcustody.htm

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My husband and I talked about this whole issue at length when he came home last night - he hasnt seen anything about it in the J media, but said there have recently been lots of reports in the J media of kids being kidnapped OUT of Japan by foreign spouses (whaddya know).

Anyway - I told him I would NEVER do that to him and no matter what we would work something out for the kids if it ever got that bad.

At that point, our 3 year old ran into the kitchen, and tried to bite his bum while out 5 year old took a pic with her new digital camera and the two of them ran off giggling hysterically to go and hide!

He rubbed his butt cheek gingerly, turned to me with weary eyes, and said "Please kidnap them back to the UK. I will pay for the plane tickets!"

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Teiku, Chris and Noriko, both had a home and permanent mailing address in the state of Tennessee for one year. That makes Tennessee the state of Habitual Residence and gives their courts the authority to rule on the divorce. Chris' nationality is irrelevant, two foreigners with habitual residence in the US can file for divorce. I can see your point, he may have lured her to the US to get the divorce. I believe the Tennessee courts made their decision to hear the case based upon rather or not Chris' parental rights would be recognized by Japanese courts and was this in the best interest of the children. One can argue that a US Court has taken jurisdiction over the case because of human rights concerns, whereas Japanese courts would not recognize these rights. I would agree that his lawyers handled this badly in the beginning. The key point is who has sovereignty over the case.

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Had Chris Lawyers fulfilled the Japanese Courts criteria for recognition of a foreign courts ruling in the US it would have made his case stronger, but the reality is it would not have made one bit of difference because of their so called "PUBLIC POLICY" requirement. They effectively shoot all foreign court rulings down with this argument. They delay the court proceedings, then claim habitual residence and jurisdiction now belongs to Japan. We've seen this happen too many times.

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Even though the victim is the father, the Japanese courts are so hard headed they will convict him and make a case of it.

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Tekiru, it's become clear that Noriko was served divorce papers when she arrived in the US with the children.

Regardless of legal issues it's impossible to justify forcing a single Japanese mother and two Japanese children to live in a foreign country they have had little or no contact with.

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More 3rd world policies and loopholes in a 1st world country. Poor kids..

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Chris and Noriko, both had a home and permanent mailing address in the state of Tennessee for one year.

One year AFTER filing the divorce.

Christopher and Noriko lived in Japan until 2008. Christopher then left for TN in January with the wife and kids arriving in June of that year. Soon after arriving, Noriko was served with divorce papers. Divorce proceedings completed in January 2009 and Christopher soon re-marries.

I fail to see how the children's Habitual Residence can be considered to be Tennessee when they were just off the plane.

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fair enough chuckers but according to the court record she expressly says that she knew her husband was with someone else and that there was no chance of a reconciliation,before she went to the us. when they divorced she got 800,000$ think shed get that in japan..

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@LFRAgain Please show me where it says Noriko was stopping Christopher from contacting/seeing the children in Japan.You are assuming this to support your argument! My personal view after studying this for most of the day yesterday is that this guy is a really bad guy He dragged his poor Japanese wife back to America even though he had already started an affair with an American woman. She had no job there and no friends and he expected her to look after the kids fo 12 out of every 14 days. Unbelievable. It did not matter to him a bit that she was really unhappy.How do you think this was affecting her parenting? He then came to Japan and grabbed his kids off their mother while they were walking to school.He then drove them to Fukuoka city where he was arrested.The kids had to be looked after by police.Unless he is kept in prison for a long time these kids are always going to be worried that this happens again when they take that same walk to school. I know where my daughter is and I actually had a joint custody order in my country (unlike Christopher) who had 2 out of 14 days.However there is no way on earth that I would do what he did to my daughter.He is like an animal! I was shocked that the maximum time he can go to prison for is only 5 years.If I were a judge I would give him 8.Just to stop people doing this kind of thing.Many people I have talked to agree. Please think of the children. Michael

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he didnt drag her to america at all. she went of her own volition even knowing he was seeing another woman and would divorce her in the states.she was handsomely rewarded with 800,000$ for her trouble

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Has anyone noticed the steady increase of Japanese /gaijin divorces? Someone needs to do a study to ascertain the causes. Its cause for concern, maybe most Japanese just cannot coexist on any long term basis with a foreigner. Do they have pre-marital councilling? Or do both parties go into the marriage with just stars and rainbows in their eyes? This is too much now. I have a student in my class that is going through the same thing. He is in limbo and is totally being shunned by his classmates because he is 'mixed' as they like to call him. He really wants to be with his American dad, and wants to go back to America.....you know how the rest goes.

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Man go here and read this. This is gona make all men scream. The Japanese need to free this man and send him and his children back to the U.S.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i1wNIMvNzJOj4tJ3S-nfVaZ6lCGAD9B2JQA80

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So the Tennessee court said $800,000 was fair, given his assets. That doesn't answer the question of whether she should have had to go to Tennessee to get that, and more importantly, it is irrelevant to the question of whether the Tennessee court had jurisdiction for child custody issues. Problems with the Japanese system are also irrelevant unless the Tennessee court has jurisdiction. This question relates to the very purpose of the Hague Convention - preventing removal of a child from its habitual environment.

But what if Nashville was the new habitual environment? Whether or not it was fair to make her come to Tennessee for a divorce, the mother did bring the kids there, agreed to the parenting plan, and they had lived there a year.

There's no easy answers, and we don't know all the facts. We know more than CNN and MSNBC, though. If they are going to make a private matter public, they should be more thorough and balanced. Even then, we'd just be talking about shadows on the wall of a cave. Maybe that's why Japanese TV thinks it shouldn't report on this case.

Press reports in Japan leave out the names, which is probably a good thing, at least for that society and for those kids. There's lots of comments at Yahoo if you want to see shadow talk in Japanese:

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20090930-00000030-jij-int

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dracpoo2, help your student to overcome that. We are all human beings and we play these games with each other and most of the time I think we just do not realise our silly actions. The kids who are bullying this mixed kid, I am sure do not know what they are doing. It is this little bit of jealousy mixed with the natural taunting and humiliating nature of human beings.

JT should start publishing a magazine with articles contributed by men and women in mixed marriages translated into Japanese. I can think of many posters here whose contributions would be valuable to the community. Many who take these intercultural marriages lightly, who do not give careful consideration to what their children might go through will have some insight.

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Six months is still enough time to claim habitual residence. It really doesn't matter, the argument is about his rights of access to his children. The Tennessee courts ruling still stands in my view. I can see why he went ballistic, "I just paid you $800,000.00 and my kids are where? Are you nuts?" (Joke) Who is trying to get over on who?

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What is intriguing here is why the US courts even allowed the divorce to be heard in America when they were not even married there, and are not even recognized citizens on registry in the States.

What does that even mean?

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Klein2 wrote; "In short, if you take care of your wife and baby, everything will work out just fine. Give twice as much as you take and people will rally to you when you need them". ***aaah,

K2, if only that could be a guarantee! Youve never discovered, then, that there really is no father christmas? and for you theres no such thing as a true martyr to any cause? No people who put every ounce of strength into what they know or believe to be good and right for those they love, their families, their fellows, and yet - still have to find the strength to deal with rejection or cruelty of every kind?

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What a mess this situation is, For pity's sake cut out accusations, character attacks, and rubbish about which countries laws should be regarded as the most holy, and everyone, focus on how these people - especially the children - might live without the grinding anxiety & distress of endless fighting.

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He basically paid extortion money to her with the understanding that he be allowed to see his kids. In Japan, Japanese fathers can too see their children if they pay enough. But in this case she then left. She got the money and he does not get to see the kids. I would never pay a lump sum settlement. All alimony/child support would be based on her allowing me to see the kids.

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flyingfish:

he didnt drag her to america at all. she went of her own volition even knowing he was seeing another woman and would divorce her in the states.

Haven't you been saying numerous times that they weren't divorced?

And "own volition" could be seen as a bit of a stretch. Think about it like this:

Christopher, after cheating on his wife, wants a divorce. Getting a divorce in Japan (the country he originally married in) means that he won't be able to have access to his kids because he as admitted to infidelity and that makes him the bad guy in the divorce.

What does he do? He flies back to his old homeland (old in that he was granted Japanese citizenship but now wishes to ignore that out of convenience.)

His wife, stuck in Japan with 2 kids and presumably minimal income has now been left in the lurch. Her cheating husband has flown back to the US and she can't get a divorce in Japan without his signature/stamp on the paperwork to turn into the city office.

He calls her up and says that if she wants a divorce, she should come to Tennessee with the kids and they will settle it there (this is evidenced by the court documents that she "knew" what she was flying into.) No real choice in the matter. She can't get on with her life without a divorce and she can't get a divorce unless she flies to a foreign country with her children.

So, she packs up and flies to the US to go through an unfamiliar justice system. She gets $800,000 for her troubles (no small sum by any means) but now her kids are effectively being held "hostage" in a foreign land they barely know because their father has been a bit of a scumbag. She has custody except for 2 weekends a month. Scumbag dad is living it up in his former homeland with his lover/ new wife while she is trapped in a foreign land looking after their kids. She could have done that in Japan. And thus forms an idea in her mind.

Is she justified in "abducting" her own children? Probably not. But I can certainly understand why she did it.

Was the husband justified in trying to "re-abduct" his own children? Again, probably not. But I can also understand why he would attempt it.

This is a brutal and ugly divorce. From what I understand, all divorces are brutal and ugly. Especially to the children. And the children are the only ones in this case that are going to get any of my sympathy.

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chuckers,

nonsense.you have just made up large parts of the story you know nothing about. the reason he wouldnt have access to his kids in japan is because hes a white man.the affair or other has nothing to do with it. end of story. she wouldnt have got the cash in japan,even if hed stayed and divorced her here thats not how it works. so now shes got the kids and the cash, back in japan and refusing to let him see the kids,having used the us laws she likes and ignored the others not to her liking. hes in the hole for 800gs and no kids now,and in the clink. i originally sided with her,but in my opinion they are both pretty dreadful. still i would like to know how the police could possibly arrest him. to state again,their divorce had not been recorded in japan(different from having divorced in us,something you seem unable to gather) and hes the kids father. if it had been the other way round,do you really think the police would arrest a japanese for kidnapping kids if an nj or nat nj phoned them??

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The story I told is based on the legal transcript of the divorce proceedings.

He would have had a huge uphill battle in the divorce in Japan because of his admitted infidelity. Being a white male is a red herring. He could have sued for custody. He might not have got it but he could have at least tried. The infidelity would have been strike against him.

Noriko could easily sue for pain and suffering in the divorce in Japan and would likely have gotten it due to the infidelity admission. Granted, not likely 800gs but still something. That is how it works.

The divorce not being recorded in Japan is a red herring from the government of Japan to try to cover their back sides. Paperwork for the divorce should have been submitted after divorce proceedings in the US completed at the local consulate in Tennessee. That should have been something Noriko should have done to keep her family register up to date.

Should he be in jail for abduction? Only if she should. And then both parents would be in jail and the kids would be even more screwed. This has been a screw up from the get go. And, again, the only people getting my sympathy are the kids.

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chuckers,

you obviously no nothing of how divorce works in japan. he could never get custody there has never been a case when a white man was awarded the kids over a japanese wife in japan.just wont happen. even in cases where the wife has been certifiably mentally insane the court ruled against the caucasian involved.(ex husband told that court couldnt give kids to a foreigner) you need to try to understand that divorce/child custody injapan is based on different criteria than in the states-racial and gender ones.

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fact is both the woman and the j police have tried to have it both ways. he was awarded sole custody of the kids when she absconded. therefore his to take when he comes to japan. japan police say that they dont follow american law. fine,then it that case as their divorce is not legal registered on what grounds are they arresting him???

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Hear hear Chuckers, extra sympathy for the kids. although it is very sad and difficult for all of them. Who really knows what kind of people the parents are, or what they have been to each other - only that so far, they have been unable to create a peaceful home for their kids to share with both of their parents. Unlike 'adult' men and women, the kids cannot choose to duck and run and find a place to be, by themselves without the hassle.

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According to this article, the landlord says that Noriko still wanted the marriage to work when she got to Tennessee.

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20091001/NEWS03/910010361/

There was a slight language barrier, but Nokiro was friendly, said Daniel Gardner, who rented the Franklin Greens house to Nokiro.

"I rented the house to Christopher and Nokiro," he said. "She wanted the marriage to work, but he left. She was in the house for a year and two months. The best tenant I ever had. When the police called me for a wellness check, they told me to either open the door for them or they would knock it open."

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gogogo? at 12:08 AM JST - 2nd October you quoted me.... ensnaturae:

Theres only one way to deal with any of it - and thats to make every possible effort to find a peaceful solution for the children to see both of their parents regularly without neglecting the concerns of either parent, either extended family, either social group, either culture, either nationality

They already had one, she decided to break the separation agreement and run away.

Roll in, garbage trucks - this comment is loaded pro USA justice. I dont accept USA as the voice of god, sorry pal. I see this as a very sad set of circumstances that absolutely will not benefit from any kind of 'SHE did this' and 'HE did that' Of course she ran away! OF COURSE she ran away!! Alone in a completely different culture from her own, away from all contact with her family and friends in Jp. The sad thing is - that the only place she could run to, for protection for herself and all the things she considers important for her kids - ie - to her home country - doesnt YET take the needs of those children - to associate with their father, as seriously as it MUST, and will.

All attacks on either parent are ad hominem. Not logical and destructive nonsense.

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ensnaturae,

Nice post.

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Klein2,

In a previous life I was a divorce lawyer. A little different from some others because I used to force my clients to work with their ex-spouses. Didn't make a lot of money doing that because it usually worked. I only had a handful of custody cases that ever made it to trial. Took my own advice with my own divorce and it's working quite well. There is likely much more to this story between Christopher and Noriko that I am very interested to learn.

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This guy was cheating on Noriko. He moved to TN(the mistress moved to TN) with Noriko and the kids so he can keep the relationship with the mistress. A month after the divorce, he marries his mistress. Then he uses American law to bind Noriko from leaving TN with kids. He hid the fact that he was naturalized. The kids were born in Japan and have Japanese passports.

I hadn't heard anywhere this to be a fact but this situation sure smells like it.

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derekj,

you need to read up a bit more before ignorantly opining. he was cheating on noriko.it is clear in her court testimony that she knew he wanted to divorce her before she went to us.he didnot hide his naturalization,its in the testimony. she like the decision about here getting 800k but didnt liike the bit bout staying in us so ignored that bit of the decision and left.

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flyingfish,

That is interesting as I'm not aware that the hearing transcripts have been published. That would be unusual in a divorce proceeding. Please provide a source, link, whatever. In addition, the mere fact that she took the money and ran does not eliminate the possibility of a cheating scenario. If you would read my sentence more closely, you will see the disclaimer in the first part of my sentence. Base upon what I have read so far, the time line and more than a few years with divorce/custody clients, cheating is a possibility here.

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Found excerpt transcripts: debito.org Will make interesting reading.

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This is gonna make a great movie!

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This is gonna make a great movie!

especially if obama sends in the navy seals to free chris!

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Actually I have heard that rather than the seals Bill Clinton is on his way here to free Chris.Just like he did with the journos in North Korea. Clinton cannot see that Chris has done anything wrong by Noriko at all

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DerekJ, what do you make of a Tennessee court exercising child custody jurisdiction over children that arrived from Japan the day before the divorce action was filed? It seems like Japan would be the home state under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, because the children had been living with their mother in Japan.

I don't think the money is an issue, except in asking the question of why she needed to come to the U.S. to get a divorce and property settlement which seems fair. I don't see how she can be criticized for that - it's the husband that wanted a divorce so he could remarry.

I think the Tennessee court may have overstepped its jurisdiction on the child custody issue, and by doing so, created a serious mess. The mother is not responsible for Japan's legal system, and the Tennessee court shouldn't base its jurisdiction just on what might happen in Japan.

Ultimately, it's not in the children's interests to vilify and criminalize either parent. Mr. Savoie may or may not be a cad. Regardless, he is the father and has a lot to offer his children. The children will most benefit from parents that can work with each other and can travel freely between the U.S. and Japan. I hope the Tennessee court and the Japanese government can wind this mess back.

Strategic, competetive lawyering, as espoused by one of Mr. Savoie's current lawyers, has failed.

http://www.international-divorce.com/strategic_international_divorce.htm

"The analogy to a game is not inappropriate. Any serious competitor plays a competitive game strategically. Is the process of divorce any less serious than that?"

Wrong. Play games with money, but not with children's lives. Analogizing the parenting aspects of divorce to a game is indeed inappropriate.

Forcing the mother to live in Tennessee under court orders was inherently unstable and unfair to the mother, and should not have been necessary with the kind of cooperative lawyering DerekJ says he did. I can only imagine how difficult it was for the mother and children to be thrown into American divorce litigation, especially with the complication of a new marriage by the husband.

The Hague Convention is designed to prevent children from being uprooted from their habitual environment. Arguably, that's what the Tennessee court did in asserting child custody jurisdiction. This was not the way to introduce the children to life in the United States.

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Here is the order granting Mr. Savoie full custody. Now, the mother's February 2009 email about "being on the edge of a cliff," which the court previously found was a reflection of the stress of her situation at the time, is now seen as evidence of mental instability. She is also accused of such things as threatening suicide and not getting medical treatment for her son. The father was already asking to be the primary parent before she left for Japan. He apparently thought that this order justified his actions in Japan.

http://wtvf.images.worldnow.com/images/incoming/Investigates/SavoieOrder.pdf

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I've read the petitions and rulings Chris filed in the Williamson County Courthouse (http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/category.asp?C=175746). Its clear the judge and Chris' biggest fear is Japanese Courts. The concern is Chris' rights of access and the enforcement of those rights, read the judges words for yourself. Chris, he did what was in his best interest, and not necessarily what was in the best interest of his kids. Noriko, appears to be a woman scorned - a deceptive, cold blooded, revengeful, cunning, and gold digging ..itch. Chris pushed Noriko to the brink and Noriko pushed Chris to the edge. The judge/mediator in the case tried something different that came close to working, that is allowing the two of them to chose 1 parent coordinator each to counsel them on child rearing. Just because it didn't work this time does not mean it cannot work in the future. I happen to like the idea but there needs to be some adjustments. Noriko should have had a translator and a Japanese speaking Parent Coordinator. She was able to deceive the parent coordinators. Because Chris speaks Japanese and understands Japanese customs he should have been more concerned about her feelings, but hell he agreed to give you $800gran, pay for your education in the US, and for the kids too. The judge/mediator even tried to introduce her to his own Japanese speaking friend. I know that blank facial expression, fake smile, yes when you really mean no, playing with kids emotions and manipulating them to the point where they start to cry in front of people just to gain sympathy for yourself. Noriko has PAS (parental alienation syndrome) and the US parent coordinators didn't realize it. It seems Chris was trying his best to warn the courts she had a problem, but for some reason and i don't know why, he has a medical degree, he didn't catch it. Japan is going to give her medical attention, but they are not going to call it PAS, they are going to call it Domestic Violence. Chris does speak, read, write, and understand Japanese culture much better than Noriko understands American culture. Chris appears to have the means to visit his children here in Japan and to have them visit the USA. Take the parenting plan they made in the USA and reverse it, but Japanese Courts has to agree to accept, enforce, and never change it.

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Igotchu, you're talking the language and strategies of American divorce litigation, which are reflected in the documents you read. The bigger question is whether the Tennessee court should have asserted jurisdiction in the first place. Jurisdictional rules are there for a purpose, and this case is not comparable to cases such as the Wood case. Yes, Japan needs to make reforms - we know that. But Japan's lack of strong enforcement of court orders is not a justification for exercising Tennessee jurisdiction that does otherwise exist.

Frankly, if I were a Japanese judge, this case would not increase my trust of American courts. I don't think this case helps the cause of urging reforms in Japan, which is a good one. I think it hurts the cause.

http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/story.asp?S=11250386

Please stop speculating about the motives and character of the children's parents, because that is not the issue and it only harms the children.

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I meant:

Japan's lack of strong enforcement of court orders is not a justification for exercising Tennessee jurisdiction that does NOT otherwise exist.

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DVW, there's nothing in the Haque or the UCCEJ that prevents a voluntarily change of Habitual Residence when both parents agree. Noriko agreed to relocate with the children to the US. The kids was not forced to be there, nor were they kidnapped.

If Noriko wanted to change certain aspects of the MDA or the Parenting Plan she should have told the judge. It appears the judge/mediator was giving alot of attention to what she wanted.

Show me something in the Haque or the UCCEJ that says two parents cannot voluntarily change their place of habitual residence. I happen to disagree with you on the Tennessee courts right to exercise jurisdiction. Both parties agreed to the change in habitual residence. What's illegal about that?

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DVW, How can you be suspicious about American courts when they were the ones trying to build the bridges between the two countries family laws? Look at how they went about the divorce, mediation, the Marriage Dissolution Agreement. Japanese Family Law encourages mediation. They took it a step further with the Parent Coordinators, but its appears to be a form of counseling intended to help the parents when they disagree on whats best for the child. Japanese courts are the ones that use the words balance and harmony in a child's life, this is what they were trying to do.

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I'm not being suspicious about American courts. I'm questioning whether the Tennessee court had jurisdiction, a procedural question that affects all the substantive decisions it made.

In fact, Tennessee law appears to provide that a child custody order made without jurisdiction is not binding. See 36-6-209(a) here:

http://www.lrcvaw.org/laws/tnuccjea.pdf

Also take a look at 36-2-202, Construction and Purpose. What has happened is exactly what the law is designed to prevent. I can guess what your arguments will be in response, but I would be surprised if a liberal interpretation of six months would mean 2 days.

I don't know the answer under Tennessee law or any state's law, but the statute seems quite clear. This is a serious question, as reflected in the serious consequences we now see.

I don't know whether the parties can waive this jurisdiction question. If so, that consent should be truly voluntary. And remember, this law, which has been carefully designed and applies in almost every state, is designed to protect the children, not the parents.

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Igotchu, I know the Tennessee court did its best to deal with a difficult case. The question is whether had the power and duty to deal with it.

The mother taking the children back to Japan is an example of the very outcome that these jurisdictional rules are designed to prevent. The decision wasn't for the parents, but for the court on behalf of the children.

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The next time some Japanese "expert" starts lecturing television viewers on how the USA has done this or that thing badly, I'm going to remember this situation. It is hypocritically interesting to see how Japanese people and "experts" will lecture me about how bad the USA is and was for not signing the Kyoto Accords to end global climate change, yet in a case like this, where a father is denied visitation rights simply because he is foreign and the wife is Japanese, these "experts" suddenly "disappear" from in front of the TV screen.

It is tragic, TRAGIC, that this sort of thing happensin the 20th century, but there it is: it does. If I had been in this father's shoes, I would probably have done the same thing: taken the children as they walked to school, and made a run for the nearest US Consulate, Embassy, Military Base, or other US Government Entity, because once the mother brings the kiddoes to Japan, there is no recourse, especially if the father is foreign. I had an Egyptian friend who divorced from his wife, and he took his son with him to Egypt. A sad case, but Asraaaf did the rght thing, because it is very likely that he would have been kicked out of the country and never wuld have seen his son again.

So long as Japan does not sign the Hague Convention, they have no right to lecture any other country on their international dealings.

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Let me further add that blame for this falls equaly on the shoulders of both Christopher and Noriko. Chris shouldn't have cheated on his wife, and Noriko should have been less selfish and less culturally narrow-minded, in fearing that her children would lose their Japanese heritage if they stayed in the USA.

All in all, it is the Children who are the biggest loswrs in this fiasco....

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Igotchu, it's possible the Tennessee court decided not to recognize Japan as the home state because its child custody laws violate fundamental human rights. I'm sure there are many that would say it does, but I would be surprised if a Tennessee court actually made that determination, because I don't believe that is true.

If the Tennessee court did that, then I don't see how telling Japan that U.S. courts won't recognize Japan's family court orders is going to make Japan more willing to recognize U.S. family court orders.

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Where's the Japan Today update? This is NO NEWS in Japan. For Japanese

Moderator: We had an update story the following day.

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DVW, One can argue that Chris, being one of the parents was located in the state for the six months prior. The fact that she agreed to the relocation means that the state of Tennessee is the home state at the time of commencement of the proceedings. I think its clear, the court records show it, she knew in advance about the divorce and agreed to the divorce in the state of Tennessee.

If Japanese courts play ball, they can settle this issue within the scope of the UCCJEA and their own domestic laws. I think you should not focus on the jurisdiction, but the rights of access Chris has to the children.

Art2 Jurisdiction Sect. 201 (1) this State is the home State of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceeding, or was the home State of the child within six months before the commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from this State but a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in this State;

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DVW, you see the fundamental human rights issue is in the UCCJEA and the Hague Convention. I've argued that issue for years and that really is the key point as far as I see it. I'm sure you've read the petitions and rulings from this case. Its clear to me based on the judges wording he is most concerned about Chris' Parental Rights. I see it as Chris' Parental Rights vs Japanese Customary Practices. The customary practice issue is depends on what happens next here in Japan. It looks like Japan may have the upper hand, but the US side established jurisdiction first. Now some of you think the Japanese Courts have the right to take back jurisdiction. The US side does not have to recognize any ruling here in Japan that overturns their ruling and violates Chris' fundamental human rights. What happens if they do it?....well, things could get ugly.

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Japan should just sign the Hague convention so that children`s parents can freely, with the backing of law, be part of the life of their children. It IS a better way. The poor children (Japanese as well) in Japan never know their Fathers and it really is the elephant in the room. And for the poor divorced Japanese in the US who cannot leave the US with their children to visit Japan because we all know what might happen. JAPAN PLEASE SIGN THE HAGUE CONVENTION FOR THE SAKE OF CHILDREN, PEACE, JUSTICE AND LOVE. The children could go visit Dad for the summer in the US. God Bless the USA and JAPAN.

DVW, igotchu - thanks for the intelligent posts.

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Igotchu, I found a quote from the drafters of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act: Moreover, "jurisdiction exists only if it is in the child's interest, not merely the interest or convenience of the feuding parties, to determine custody in a particular state." See Commissioners' comment on §3 of the UCCJA, 9 U.L.A. 309 (empahsis in original)["child's" underlined in original].

I understand the fundamental human rights argument about weak protection of divorced father's rights in Japan, and although I think it is a stretch, perhaps it can be made in the abstract here.

But there's no way you can convince me that in this case, this father's fear of potentially not being able to see his children overrides the problems created by rushing this case through a Tennessee court.

Waiting six months before filing the divorce and letting the mother get used to the situation in Tennessee, without dealing with divorce litigation, might have made this work. We'll never know.

I don't see how things could get uglier for the children than they already are, and I also don't see how this case helps advance this father's rights, or any father's rights, in Japan. Even if it does, it doesn't help these children, who are the only important consideration. Blaming the mother and blaming the father only hurts the children. I hope the authorities can wind back the clock so that neither parent is treated as a criminal and both parents can be part of the children's lives in Japan and the U.S.

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Thanks OneforAll - I agree Japan should sign Hague, for the reasons you state so kindly and eloquently.

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DVW, I understand your point but I believe the fundamental human rights issue is the strongest point. You know very well its not just a few of these cases out there, and Japan's failure to not enforce Parental Rights has been a stain on the countries reputation for decades now.

I don't believe it was necessary for the courts to wait six months to accept the divorce. Remember one thing the divorce was a Marriage Dissolution Agreement (MDA), this was an agreement that the courts accepted and not ruled on. The two parties came to this agreement by way of mediation, not a courts ruling. Therefore, I don't see it as necessary to wait 6 months to accept an agreement the two parties started negotiating in advance.

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The most important ruling the Tennessee Judge has made in this case was to give Chris full custody of the children. He decided this after Noriko didn't return with the children. That means 6 months has elapsed since Noriko and the children were in Tennessee, and Chris' custody orders are valid under US Law.

One for All one (".")arigato

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No, igotchu, not this case. Watching this video made me cringe.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/10/02/japan.savoie.custody.battle/index.html?iref=mpstoryview#cnnSTCVideo

The lawyer comes right out and says the mother came to Tennessee knowing she would get a divorce, and the father paid the mother $800,000 in cash, up front, in return for a promise not to take the children back to Japan. The lawyer says she did it knowing she would get a better financial settlement in Tennessee than in Japan.

Child custody jurisdiction should not be for sale. There are reasons for the rules, and a court that doesn't follow them shouldn't be surprised when the harms the rules were designed to prevent come to pass.

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Igotchu, it is irrelevant that the father was in Tennessee for six months. The children would have had to have been their with either parent for six consecutive months.

There has been too much focus on Chris' "rights of access." The real question, given this family's situation, could and should have been actual access, which the father has never been shown would have been denied, any more than he has shown that a Japanese divorce would get the mother less money.

The lawyer on CNN says she would have gotten "small money in Japan, and big money in Tennessee." This is basically a claim that the money was to buy an American court order guaranteeing right of access, but I think it is clear that it was at least as much a purchase of a move to Tennessee so that access would be convenient for him and his new wife.

Assuming the lawyer is telling the truth about the mother's understanding, that is no way to move one's soon-to-be-ex-wife and children to a foreign country. There is no way the parents could know how that would turn out.

This was much too risky for the children, and the Tennessee court should not have enabled it. If it did it on "fundamental human rights" grounds, then that was a serious mistake.

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DVW, we have a totally different interpretation of the UCCJEA, and thats fine. I would argue she made an agreement that the courts accepted. Then she violated that agreement and the courts issued a ruling. The ruling was made well within the boundaries of the UCCJEA. To me its all in line with Japanese Law, its done quite often here if you have money you pay the women and she agrees on a visitation schedule. If the women agrees the courts accept (here in Japan).

At this point it becomes speculation as to why he didn't do that here? Why was he so afraid of her in Japan? Its obvious no enforcement measure. and I think they don't trust each other.

When they get finish fighting the lawyers gona take all that money. About 150k was blown on legal fees in the US. Once you triple that fighting in Japan and shit their lives are blown to pieces. I know.

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Igotchu, what you say about how it's done in Japan, which is about what I thought, is not at all the picture Savoie painted for the Tennessee court. In that latest CNN video, the new wife even says the father told the little boy that "they" don't allow daddies to see their children in Japan. That is sickening that the boy was told that.

That picture of the Rising Sun flag with mom's red face as the sun was also some pretty sick propaganda by CNN.

Gotta go - been spending way too much time on this. Typical CNN, pushing people's buttons with a bogus story. This one really bugged me. Thanks for the discussion and insights.

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"The State Department is working on it" "Japan is an ally so everything will be all right" "He is in a jail in a remote town" Fukuoka-LOL Is CNN even on the same planet as us?

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DwightVanWinkle, in answer to your question about the UCCJEA, that statute is applicable as to between the signatory states. I TN is one of those states. The fact that they came from Japan is not determinative in this situation. The TN court properly assumed jurisdiction. TN was the only court in the US that could have assumed jurisdiction. Both parents and kids moved there and indicated an intent to remain. There was a significant presence of the kids in the state (kids were registered in school). See, tnuccjea section 36-6-216(a(4)

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Doesn't make much sense to me. Why should americans help this man when he renounced his own american citizenship to be a japanese citizen? Its one of the requirements to be a naturalized japanese citizen, google it. I think Japan should just handle this case alone now. Let them handle it the japanese way. America has no right anymore to get in the way of the japanese citizens.

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Doesn't make much sense to me. Why should americans help this man when he renounced his own american citizenship to be a japanese citizen? Its one of the requirements to be a naturalized japanese citizen, google it. I think Japan should just handle this case alone now. Let them handle it the japanese way. America has no right anymore to get in the way of the japanese citizens.

Aside from the larger issue of international child abductions, this guy gets little sympathy from me. He and his wife played a game of chess with their kids as pawns and he got burned. These kids need better parents. It doesn't appear to me that either parent is willing to set aside their pride for the sake of the kids.

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DerekJ, foreign countries are considered states under the UCCJEA. 36-6-208. 36-6-216(a)(1) should apply with Japan, not Tennessee as the home state, because that is where children were residing with a parent for six consecutive months immediately prior to commencement the child custody proceeding.

(a)(2)-(4) only come into play if there is not a home state under (a)(1)

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Please read her side of the story

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20091003a4.html

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wow, cheating on his wife, tricked her into to coming to the USA so he could divorce her in the USA and not in Japan, got married one month after the US divorce to I would guess his mistress who has kids of her own and then kidnapped his kids and ran to the US consulate. This guy is a real loser. Where is his concern for his kids in all of this I wonder? Seems to me he is only about hating his ex-wife and using his the kids against her, not an unfamiliar story. Seems to me he has no case whatsoever since he clearly left Japan for the purpose of divorcing in the USA. Unless the mother is unfit, which seems unlikely, he is screwed.

The CNN piece, like all TV news, is totally worthless.

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DVM, You're right about that...my bad. That said, I'm wondering if the court applied 36-6-208(c) in making its decision on jurisdiction. Applying US notions of child custody determinations against those of Japan (i.e. the non-custodial parent is basically cut out of the picture), we may have the answer.

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zurcronium

he didnt trick her she states clearly in the court testimony that she knew he would divorce her in the states before she went there so why did she go then

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i agree this guy is a piece of rubbish but under japanese law there is no reason to arrest him. parents cant kidnap their kids unless one has sole custody. their divorce wasnt registered in japan.she didnt have sole custody. how can they arrest him? if they are saying that they are ignoring us law cos under japanese law kidnapping own child is not a crime then why are they arresting him

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Why should americans help this man when he renounced his own american citizenship to be a japanese citizen? Its one of the requirements to be a naturalized japanese citizen

Did her renounce it? That hasn't been established.

What usually happens is that you agree to renounce your original nationality as a precondition for Japanese citizenship, and then you never get around to renouncing it. Assuming this is the case, it would have bearing on whether his assumption of Japanese citizenship was ligitimate, but it would have no bearing on whether his US citizenship was still valid.

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DVW, does the statute say and or or?

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Ok Legal Eagles.Whats the rule about names please?.My name has been removed from my daughters Kosseki (family documents). Ex(Japanese) now says that she can only enrol at school in the exs family name.Presumably this will also apply for passport applications etc.Guess Christopher will aalso be faving these issues. Japan really is different isn`t it!

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michaelgtodd.

your name was never on the koseki i would have thought.

does your child have your name? christopher doesnt have these issues as japanese. he can refuse permission to remove from koseki.

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sadly,your predicament highlights the problem.

men and in particular foreigners have no rights in divorces in japan so many women like noriko do threaten the father that they will never see the children again unless they pay large amounts of money.

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Whomever is to blame for being a poor spouse, it is terrible that such a thing can happen, where a mother or father can snatch children away form the country of the other parent, and be spirited away to Japan where there is no international jurisdiction nor recourse for the foreign parent, especially if it is a foreign man married to a Japanese woman. The real losers here are the children....take that back, the real losers are those in the Japanese government who perpetuate this. The tragedy is the suffering of the children.

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@flyingfish 1.Yes my name was on the kosseki.Like I said it was removed/(With my permission).2.Yes my child has always had my name.Noriko never got any money from Chris nor asked for it.It was HER money.50/50 share right!Her businesses. It seems that my case would be around 100 times as powerful as Chris`s to support.I never did anything wrong.Faithful,loving compassionate father and husband.This guy is a complete arsehole but everyone is supporting him.Just because he is American? Just because he went and grabbed his kids and probably traumatised them for life? Seems completely bizarre to me.if he gets away with this and does notdo say 2 years in prison i am going to be sorely tempted to go and grab my daughter myself just like he did.I will do it a bit more cleverly though and hopefully not get caught like him!

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are you japanese?? if not your name will not be on the koseki why did you agree to have it removed. 50/50 share doesnt happen in japan thats why she went to the states and thats why she threatened him that he would never see his kids unless she gave him a huge settlement,when his pharm company hit the jackpot i agree money was hers as well but so were the kids.

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are you japanese?? if not your name will not be on the koseki

His name could be on the koseki if his wife took his name after marriage and removed herself from her family's koseki to start her own under that name. Technically, of course, it would be HER name on the koseki and he is just listed as spouse but still.

The only way to change it after that would be to go to family court and argue that it should be changed back. Usually only happens in divorce.

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@chuckers @flyingfish Thanks for your input into my confusing status!. What happened is that my name when onto my wifes kosseki after our marriage.After divorce it was removed.I did not fight this as I am not really into fighting with people. Just did what she asked. Never knew that the japanese system would now prevent my daughter from using my name though. How will she and my gramdchildren jnow of their heritage? Seems weird becuae I have asked a few Japanese people whose parents are divorced and they seem to have kept their fathers name. Do they only do this name changing thing to gaijin? Any kind of prejudice is possible here!Maybe their(my Japanese friends) parents never officially divorced (reason for low divorce statistics here)and just live apart.Oh well naru no yi naru .what will be will be. They have probably told my daughter I am dead.LOL

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Hello All!

I, too, am a U.S. citizen living in Japan who has divorced, lost custody of my child, and have no power whatsoever to do anything about, well, anything. And, yes, I am basically blackmailed to either pay the child's mother whatever she insists, or she can just not allow for me to see him. Prior to the divorce there were many promises made by her which were immediately broken after the divorce, such as the number of visitation days which went from "You can see him any time you want"(discussing that this may be 3-4 days per week. Immediately after the divorce she attempted to change this to twice a month. I sought legal help and nothing was done. (3 different lawyers in fact) She married about 7 months after our divorce (legally unable to for at least 6 months), which most definitely caused problems for my son.(Not to mention the obviousness that she was involved with the man prior to the divorce). There's a long list of similar such things. Now, on top of this, she said MANY times during our relationship that she knew she was a bad mother and a bad wife. She repeatedly made such statemnts, and was NOT joking. In fact, her own mother repeatedly told me that I should scold her for this very fact (coming in at 3 and 4 a.m. every night, etc...) Bottom line, as has been mentioned here already, foreigners have exactly ZERO rights when it comes to such matters. None. I feel for the man who now sits in jail and were I him I'd do WHATEVER I needed to to get them back, legal or otherwise. The selfishness of the mother in that she is obvious unaware what sort of effect this may have on the children itself demonstrates that she is unworthy to have the children. Also, my child's name was changed without my being told. This bothered me a great deal at first, but I've decided that I would continue to call him by his English name, and will do so in all matters where he's involved. As you may be able to tell, this is personal for me, and has most definitely affected my life. That being said, does anyone know of any cases where the opposite has happened i.e. An American parent taking their child to the U.S. against the wishes of the Japanese spouse who maintained custody? Does the Japanese spouse have any rights here?

Also, and perhaps this has been dealt with already, if the father and mother were not technically divorced in Japan, as I've heard, then this would seem to indicate that he was NOT kidnapping his children. There's nothing saying he can't see them to my knowledge if he's still married to the mother. Thanks! FH

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I am really glad I heard about this article. My j-girlfriend and I sometimes argue about the fact that I don't want kids. After I heard about this, and I told her that I just found out if we had kids and got divorced (assuming we get married in the future) she would get my kids. She basically nodded her head, agreed that i was right and doesn't want kids anymore. you i have also found out, and this article is a good example. is it seems the only people who have kids, are the ones thats probably shouldnt. and visa versa. but i guess some one has too.

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Do they only do this name changing thing to gaijin?

No, when you get married, one party or the other joins the koseki of the other and changes names. They are removed from their previous koseki. Children are listed under the koseki of the parents at the time. There have been a lot of weird cases recently where a child would be listed under the koseki of a previous spouse (or under no koseki at all) because the mother remarried within 300 days of a divorce and the child's biological parent is actually someone else. But they don't have that parent's name. That law is being (has been?) changed. There is also a proposal to change the law so that a spouse DOESN'T have to change names after marriage.

Being gaijin can put a bit of a spanner in to the works because being gaijin means no koseki (unless naturalised but then you aren't "gaijin" anymore etc. etc.) In that case, the spouse either forms their own koseki by breaking away from their family's koseki and starting their own with the spouse's name or they keep their name and list the spouse on the koseki that way. Children are listed under the name of the koseki and it is not uncommon for the children to be listed with an all Japanese name on one set of documents and a foriegn name on another set of documents. Japanese facilities (schools, welfare office) will only accept the koseki name. Foreign-ness of the name doesn't enter into it. It is what the koseki says that counts.

Changing to a foreign name also introduces grief for spouse and/or children when they go to get a Japanese passport. The foriegn name comes out in Hepburn romanization which makes things look horrid. (e.g. "Savoie" would be "SABOA") The way to get around that is to submit another document at the same time which states what the actual spelling should be ALONG WITH documentation PROVING that the spelling desired is correct (such as the spouses passport.) You have to do this as well for children with middle names as they are not recognised as valid under the koseki system. The names are run together as one first name (e.g. "Isaactaro" instead of "Isaac Taro")

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@chuckers.You know a lot about this! So in summary it seems that after marriage I was added to the family kosseki.No new kosseki was ever started. Actually saw this once when I needed it to get a visa.My daughter was also added but never with the name Todd as her surname.After divorce my name was removed. This country is complicated.Thanks for helping me getting my head round it.They probably never imagined gaijin getting involved when they started the kosseki system.

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featherhead:

There's nothing saying he can't see them to my knowledge if he's still married to the mother.

This case brings all kinds of questions to mind. If, in Japan, they are still married and if it turns out that the divorce jurisdiction should have been Japan, and not America, then --huh?-- does the divorce get annulled?

If the divorce is annulled, then of course Chris's subsequent marriage to Amy would be annulled.

Also I believe it was required by Japan for him to renounce US citizenship in agreement to become a Japanese citizen. If he did not do that renouncing, he could be stripped of Japanese citizenship or forced to make renouncement.

On other forums there were allegations of drugging the children to subdue them while taking them from the mother. If that is substantiated, the man could be facing serious charges of abuse, rather than abduction. That would count against him in the (second) divorce proceeding.

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cicada:she also has dual citizenship.

to michael g todd/ foreigners cant have their own koseki. name on the koseki decideds name of the child. once you are divorced you are off her koseki . thus japanese parent controls child and childs name. its a system originally started in the 16th century to discriminate against christians and is still being used for that purpose today. korea abolished their system recently and japan needs to as well

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michael todd another option would have been if you could get custody to take off wifes koseki and make a sep koseki just for the child.

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another option would have been if you could get custody to take off wifes koseki and make a sep koseki just for the child.

That would probably require the child to make that choice as well as a trip to family court to get it approved. Neither of those can probably happen until the child reaches majority.

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not true. its been done a number of times

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CNN has a great video download of this, showing the happy children with their father. This tread is long. Has anyone brought up that the ex-wife got an 800,000 USD settlement to not take the kids out of America. She divorced him in the US because she could get more money. Most of the Japanese women who marry men who can afford 800,000 UDS settlements have this planned from the start. Go to the US for a few years. Have a few kids. Then take the Fathers money and leave with the kids. Watch the CNN special about it. Also the new wife was required to speak Japanese with him over the phone. Seems like the police are requiring him to speak in Japanese to do anything. Once this hit's Obama's desk all ShiX will fly.

US I am sure will issue another notice, like the roppongi one, saying Japanese women are after your money. Get a pre-nup!

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noborito

the ex-wife got an 800,000 USD settlement to not take the kids out of America.

Not true. The $800,000 was splitting of assets. Alimony and education money was, however, tied to her staying in America and the transcripts show the judge explained that if she returned to Japan she would lose that money.

She divorced him in the US because she could get more money.

Not true. She wanted to divorce in Japan, but the husband refused.

Most of the Japanese women who marry men who can afford 800,000 UDS settlements have this planned from the start. Go to the US for a few years. Have a few kids. Then take the Fathers money and leave with the kids.

Might be true in many cases, but not this one. Noriko had been living in Japan, as had the kids. She went to America at the request of the husband.

The CNN story is biased and inaccurate. Examples:

The ex-wife had agreed to live in Franklin to be close to the children, taking them to Japan for summer vacations.

True, she was allowed to take them to Japan for vacations but she agreed to live in Franklin to be close to her ex-husband, who shortly thereafter re-married.

In court documents filed in May, Noriko Savoie denied that she was failing to abide by the terms of the couple's court-approved parenting plan or ignoring court-appointed parent coordinators. She added she was "concerned about the stability of Father, his extreme antagonism towards Mother and the effect of this on the children."

The context of this is missed. Noriko is responding to complaints by Chris, and this is happening in May, long before any summer vacation in which she is allowed to bring the children to Japan. At this same time, Chris and Amy were waging a public campaign to discredit Noriko and obtain custody of the children.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/09/29/japan.father.abduction/index.html

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@flyingfish Get custody? I am not even allowed to speak to her! Korea has changed this archaic rule recently you say.Seems no reason for it at all.Thanks for your great info.You too chuckers. Will be interesting to see what happens after the ten day period is up.Guess Chris will be released on bail and have to surrender his passport till the trial.Sometimes these trials take a while to organise.He really has dug a hole for himself.Wonder too if he reads this stuff.Hope so!

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Because of Japan’s stance, U.S. court rulings in the past have decided in favor of keeping children in that country, saying American parents would otherwise totally lose their custody right.

Christopher Savoie only discovered his children were gone when their school called him Aug 13 to say they had not showed up, according to an affidavit filed with the arrest warrant against his ex-wife for violating the terms of custody.

I'm not sure what exactly the Tennessee state court ordered in this case, but since his ex-wife flew to Japan with her children, without notifying him, it could be regarded as a violation of court order. You can't simply run away from a country just because you want to get away from there. You still have to deal with legal constraint. You can't simply write your own policy by simply forcing your cultural bias. Things are quite different especially when you have the kids.

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Guess Chris will be released on bail and have to surrender his passport till the trial.

That will only apply if they decide to prosecute him for something. The article states that he hasn't been officially charged yet. As has been shown, this is a very messy situation and they may not have anything to charge him with and will be required to let him go.

I am sure they are going to try to impress upon him that he should just go back to the US quietly and stop making a fuss or they will find something he can be charged with.

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This is a bad example of Japan vs Non-Japan children custody/visitation battle, and to be made as International hot-issue. Nevertheless, hopefully this case will wake everyone up and can bring more similar-cases to the surface, and in the end, will force Japan to sign the Hague Convention. I truly hope all the negative comments toward this case will not be used by the Japanese as an excuse NOT to sign the convention. I wish all the fathers/mothers who are banned from seeing their own children the best of luck. And at the same time, if this is going nowhere, probably it is time for you to just move on. This is a battle worth fighting for, but your own life, your own happiness is also worth fighting for. I can only imagine how hard it is, but sacrificing too much without any hope that it will work in the end, is just not worth it.

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I should have known not to get involved with this case or its coverage at all. I hereby refuse to care about these people because their one goal now is to involve as many people and entities in this mix up as possible. One would think that someone who knows how divorce goes would know the one truth that is common to all divorces:

It doesn't end. Nothing ever ends.

When their children become 20, this will still be unresolved. I guarantee it. Too bad for them. I hope they get their lives together.

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I hope he makes a fuss as much as possible, this country stinks sometimes with it's 3rd world mentality. It's supposed to be a developed nation for god's sake.

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Divorced fathers in Japan typically don’t get much access to their children because of widespread cultural beliefs that small children should be with their mothers.

Wow. Noriko must be very smart to abduct the children and bring them to Japan. She knows about the cultural and law differences between Japan and U.S.

Christopher Savoie is now the sorriest person on the planet for marrying and divorcing this Japanese woman. He is suffering the serious consequences for rudely throwing Noriko into another land, failing to keep his married relationship with her ongoing, fooling around, and marrying another woman. His second wife should not deserve an interview with any American and Japanese media. Why should she? Stupid.

I am totally on Noriko's side and very proud of her genius strategy.

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Sorry, marriage and its union shown in children, is a lifetime experience. The Hague convention would help many Japanese citizens overseas who cannot bring their children to Japan, certainly now with this situation. PLEASE SIGN THE HAGUE CONVENTION for the children.

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BuddhismTech

His second wife should not deserve an interview with any American and Japanese media. Why should she? Stupid.

Exactly. But she is going at it full throttle:

"I don’t know if I’ll ever see Isaac and Rebecca again," Amy Savoie said, blinking back tears on CBS' The Early Show Wednesday morning.

http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/09/30/crimesider/entry5353444.shtml

She lies to the media and they repeat what she says, because Noriko "is not available for comment" and because they are too lazy to check the facts themselves:

She’s talking about her step-children, who were abducted to Japan by their birth mother, Noriko Savoie, who lost an American custody battle with her ex-husband and Amy Savoie’s current husband, Christopher Savoie.

She's always making it look like Chris had custody but the fact is that Chris lost the "custody battle", not Noriko. Noriko was granted custody by the American court, and maintained it all the way until she did not return from Japan. This is what bothered Amy and Chris so much: they lost the custody battle -- and so they then resorted to various other means, tormenting Noriko, hoping to win the battle another way.

Christopher Savoie grabbed his children while they were on the way to school. His ex-wife immediately called police, who were waiting for him at the American Consulate.

No mention that Chris did not act alone, but kidnapped the children with the help of "friends".

"She [Noriko Savoie] was not letting us speak to them [the children] on the phone," Amy Savoie said. "When he [Christopher Savoie] called the grandparents’ house he could hear Isaac crying in the background."

And yet she herself has recordings of phone calls allowed by Noriko -- herself talking to Noriko and the kids talking to Chris. She used the latter to show reporters that Chris is a great dad because he and the kids were laughing on the phone. She used the former to denigrate Noriko, who is heard saying that "America is not a nice country" (context shows that she only means America was not a good place to raise the kids, who have lived all their life in Japan).

She revealed that she has been recording phone calls all along, even while in America, "because it was a contentious divorce".

So maybe Amy would like to produce the full set of recordings with her ex-husband during her divorce?

Faced with the heartbreaking reality that she may not see her step-children for years, Amy Savoie said, "We hope that … they will come and find us when they are in their 20s maybe. And come see that we still love them, and that we miss them and that we always wanted to be a part of their lives."

Odds are the Amy-Chris marriage won't last that long. Hopefully she will be ready with her tape recorder for that divorce too.

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Cicada

Thanks. Seems like you are supporting Noriko. I do, too. I can't read all of so many comments in this thread but I did read every sentence of yours under my comment. Smile. A very good comment!

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Oh well, I think that it was very naive for Amy Savoie to get involved in her current husband's problem. She should stay away from his conflict with Noriko, otherwise she would look like a criminal accomplice. She is so stupid and loser!

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As far as I can tell, they're both as bad as each other.

He sounds like a douche, who cheated on his wife and divorced in the US on 'home soil', but she's an idiot for taking them back to Japan without permission.

If I had to choose the stupid(er) of the two, it's the guy. Snatching his kids in broad daylight is idiocy in itself, but someone with his experience of Japan and its lack of Hague Convention should've known better. And his new wife seems like an attention wh!re / self-pitying moron. She acts like the kids are hers.

I hope the kids aren't treated any worse than they already have been.

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maintained it all the way until she did not return from Japan

Well, that's how the problem occurred. The Tennessee court keeps the record of her testimony that clearly spells out her intention, and she suddenly ran away from legal constraint? Anyone could be in a huge trouble if you were in her shoes, whether it's in Japanese or the US court.

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amerijap:

The Tennessee court keeps the record of her testimony that clearly spells out her intention, and she suddenly ran away from legal constraint?

She did not "run away", "flee", "abduct", etc. She returned to Japan during summer vacation (as permitted by the court). Her violation is that she did not come back. That wise decision (not to go back to America) was made in Japan.

Considering that the children had never been to America, and only went there in order that Chris could initiate a divorce in Tennesse, where Noriko had never been before, it is not surprising that Noriko decided the best place for them to be was home.

Contrary to Amy's lies, Noriko did allow phone calls from America, and was even talking on the phone to Amy. We know this because news reports show transcripts based on recordings made by Amy!

(Incidentally, the recordings that Amy made of phone calls while both parties were in America are probably illegal. Yet she also turned those over to media in hopes of making Chris look good and Noriko look bad). Amy can probably be prosecuted or sued for that.)

There was no indication from Noriko that she would refuse visitation by Chris in Japan. Yet Chris decided to, with the help of friends like Shannon Higgins, kidnap the children forcibly.

There is just no comparison between the actions of Noriko and Chris, except that probably Noriko is smart enough not to visit America, even though she never committed any crime there. Chris, on the other hand, was stupid enough to perpetrate a violent crime in Japan. He did this without regard to the welfare of the children, Noriko, or even himself. Likely his business interests will suffer if he stays in jail or is banned from ever entering Japan again.

He chose to snatch the kids and run to the American Consulate, even though he has Japanese citizenship, as do the kids. Is that smart or stupid?

If I were in that situation, I would have simply joined the mother on the walk to school, asking her to a cafe afterwards to apologize for my horrid behavior and to beg her to allow visitation in Japan, assuring her that I would no longer allow that nasty wicked shrew Amy and her 3 kids into Noriko's life.

But I wonder how much free time Chris has, that he is going to spend lots of time with his new 3 children, and then do so with his own 2 children? Hence his plan was to efficiently get them all together and have 5 children, while dumping Noriko into an abyss of misery.

For someone very smart with PhD and stuff, Chris Savoie is just incredibly stupid, with no ethical scruples whatsoever. If he wants to throw away his happiness, fine, but he has no right to continue his abusive behavior toward Noriko and those 2 children.

I'm hoping he is stripped of Japanese citizenship and barred from entering Japan again, after he serves a year or two in prison.

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I'm going to guess that the children would probably prefer to live in Japan. It's terrible for children to have to choose a parent, but in this case I think the best way to solve it is to grant the children dual citizenship until 20 and let them choose where to grow up.

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BhuddismTech - you don't sound much like a Bhuddist to me...

Both the parents in this case appear to be guilty, quite equally, as they both abducted the children. The difference is that the mother succeeded getting them out of the USA and the Father failed to get them out of Japan. I think they're both in the wrong.

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frontandcentre

Both the parents in this case appear to be guilty, quite equally, as they both abducted the children. The difference is that the mother succeeded getting them out of the USA and the Father failed to get them out of Japan.

The difference in guilt is quite large. In America, Noriko had custody of the children and had permission to be in Japan during summer vacation. Her "abduction" consisted of a decision not to board a plane and go back to America. Therefore, her (non-violent) violation of the American court order did not even occur in America; it occurred in Japan. As the judge had explained to her, by so doing she would lose alimony and monthly payments.

Christopher, in contrast, committed a violent crime of abduction in Japan. He enlisted the help of "friends" and together they forcibly took the children from the mother while she was walking with them to school.

The children resisted, and so did the mother. This was a forcible kidnap, a violent crime, that would have direct traumatic impact upon the children. Clearly, Chris knew he could not force the kids into a car by himself, and so he brought along accomplices.

Why does the Western media fail to mention the role of accomplices?

Noriko violated an American court order while she was in Japan (where this court order does not even apply) and Christopher committed a violent crime while he was in Japan.

How could you possibly think that these are at all equal?

It will be interesting to see if the accomplices are arrested. Meanwhile, Chris Savoie sits in jail where he belongs, and Noriko has been forced to hide from the American media, which has been misrepresenting the story to the American public.

Hopefully, Chris will be severely punished and Noriko will be left alone to recuperate from the traumas afflicted upon her by Chris and that homewrecking loud-mouth Amy.

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Cicada, just to be accurate, Noriko Savoie brought the kids back to Tennessee after the vacation in Japan. The kids then went on a trip with the father and his new wife, I think to New England. For whatever reason, she came back, then left again.

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DwightVanWinkle:

just to be accurate, Noriko Savoie brought the kids back to Tennessee after the vacation in Japan. The kids then went on a trip with the father and his new wife, I think to New England. For whatever reason, she came back, then left again.

I'm aware of this, but the point is that she left for Japan before school had begun. Had she come back to Tennessee in time for school, there would have been no violation. Therefore, her violation of the American court order occurred in Japan.

I'm making this distinction because Amy's crafty version for the media would have people believe that Noriko "abducted" the children from Chris and Amy's home, which is nonsense. When Noriko took the children from that home(presumably after their New England vacation), it was Noriko who had custody of the children. No violation or abduction occurred there.

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Its a shame that Japanese fathers (I will speak in general in regards to which spouse) do not have the balls that Chris has.

If they did then maybe the law would be forced to change regarding the inability to have children on multiple family registers.

After that happened and Japanese fathers were able to have equal access to their own kids then maybe there would be hope for foreigners too but as it stands now, there is no hope for Chris.

In this case I support Noriko but there must be other cases where men have had their children ripped from them undeservedly but of course the main reason for losing access to your kids is beating your wife and/or cheating.

I can almost guarantee that cheating is biggest reason and those that lost their kids because of it, deserve it.

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"Nonsense, I clearly acknowledged that she violated the American court order by not going back to America from Japan in time for the kids to attend school in Tennessee."

Okay. How do I say this without sounding like I'm patronizing the hearing-impaired by speaking more loudly, as if that will somehow aid comprehesion?

Noriko DID NOT leave the country during summer vacation and simply fail to return in time.

She took the children home for summer vacation, AND RETURNED IN TIME.

Noriko THEN took the children out of the country THREE DAYS INTO THE NEW SCHOOL TERM ON AUGUST 13TH. That violated a court order and was determined by Tennessee courts to be KIDNAPPING.

No matter how many times you keep saying that this a case of her simply naot returning in time to meet the terms of the court order, that doesn't make it magically so. Sadly, you aren't arguing this on reason, but rather on full-throttle emotion, something that may explain why you pointedly refuse to accept this as a point of fact. Which makes it virtually impossible to discuss this with you.

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In this case I support Noriko but there must be other cases where men have had their children ripped from them undeservedly but of course the main reason for losing access to your kids is beating your wife and/or cheating.

I can almost guarantee that cheating is biggest reason and those that lost their kids because of it, deserve it.

Where's the proof for his cheating habits? If there's a smoking gun, all of us should find it right up in the middle of the article.

Noriko THEN took the children out of the country THREE DAYS INTO THE NEW SCHOOL TERM ON AUGUST 13TH.

Yep, what the court ordered is that she can take her children for vacation- not the school. And the fact that she testified at the court to remain in the US is another heavy blow. She puts a legal strain on her residency. Ouch.

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Amerijap, I don't think it's what she said that is the problem. That was 4 months earlier and could have another meaning - that she had always intended to let the father see the kids. The problem for her residency is what she did. She left, in violation of the court order. For the sake of the kids, I hope that can be resolved, because her not being able to come to the U.S. is going to make it less likely they come here anytime soon.

This is a tragedy, because the U.S. court will have to be concerned about sending a message that Japanese mothers can violate U.S. court orders, and the Japanese prosecutor, and court if it goes there, will have to be concerned about sending a message that self-help by foreign fathers is OK. So all this publicity is going to make it harder to get leniency on both sides, which I think could help the children.

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LFRAgain:

Noriko THEN took the children out of the country THREE DAYS INTO THE NEW SCHOOL TERM ON AUGUST 13TH. That violated a court order and was determined by Tennessee courts to be KIDNAPPING.

Sometimes you claim it is "abduction" and sometimes "kidnapping". Why not post for us the exact wording of the court determination so that you can settle on which term is best?

No matter how many times you keep saying that this a case of her simply not returning in time to meet the terms of the court order, that doesn't make it magically so.

It's not magic, it is fact. The violation would not have occurred had she been back in time for the children to attend school. So any determination of "kidnapping" or whatever is based upon her not bringing the children to the school in time for the first class, as she was required to do.

An important distinction to make here is that the brutal forcible abduction carried out by Chris and his 4 henchmen was a violent crime taking place at a specific location and a specific time.

You do not seem to grasp the idea that Noriko did not abduct the children from Amy's home, as Amy claimed to the media. Nor did she abduct them on their way to school. Her "abduction" was a failure to bring them to the school on time.

It's time to stop playing with semantics, acting like the violent crime perpetrated by Chris is in any way comparable to Noriko's decision to stay in Japan, where the kids had always been.

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If anyone is still reading, I think I was wrong to say Japan was the home state of the kids for determining child custody. Even two days after they moved to Tennessee, the question became whether they had significant connections to Tennessee. I still think the mother was treated very unfairly by the father, and that this case is very different from the usual child abduction to Japan case. I also still think the mother deserves to believed when she said in March that she had never wanted to keep the father from seeking the children. And although this is in retrospect, I still think that this divorce did not belong in Tennessee because of assumptions about the mother, who is also a victim of the Japanese system. She's not the one who chose to marry into that system.

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DwightVanWinkle:

I still think that this divorce did not belong in Tennessee because of assumptions about the mother

I agree, but what is there from preventing this from happening again and again? The more publicized the story, the more sly people will see ways to set a trap for their Japanese spouse like Chris did.

that this case is very different from the usual child abduction to Japan case.

How can you be sure? Have you looked at all the other cases? I wonder if many of the other 100 so-called abductions were not similar to this case.

Perhaps Hague Convention rules need to be modified to encourage Japan's signing.

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Cicada, the Hague Convention rules are very flexible and leave a lot of discretion with the nations that sign on. I was thinking maybe Japan and the U.S. could do a bilateral agreement, or Japan could make "reservations" that would make it willing to sign. Them I read the Hague Convention, as you should. It is really very flexible.

Seems like you are just here to hate on the father and Hague Convention. Am I wrong?

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There are so many very emotional issues between making and breaking cross-cultural families - that anything so sensitive as decisions in law, concerning the childrens' upbringing, should not be considered without court representation and full support for both parents and the children, taking CULTURAL DIFFERENCES into account. I cannot understand how anyone is surprised if someone fails to keep laws imposed in any other way - that seriously affect the lives of parents and their children. I repeat, USA law - is not the voice of god.

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DwightVanWinkle: There is a thin line between flexibility and ambiguity.

Seems like you are just here to hate on the father and Hague Convention. Am I wrong?

Yes, you are. I call the shots as I see them, without any agenda. In this case, the father and his homewrecker bride Amy are clearly responsible for all the difficulties after the divorce.

I would not judge before the divorce, except that seeing the character of Amy and Chris after the divorce leads one to believe that Chris's unwise decisions and abusive behavior have roots that go far back.

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