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American father arrested in Japan had asked Tennessee court for help

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Savoie obtained Japanese citizenship.

This might be a snag in the guy's case as well.

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I dont care what he did, he shouldn't be held. I would have done it too....my wife alreadys knows what will happen if she tried that mess.

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I dont care what he did, he shouldn't be held.

What if he killed somebody, should he also not be held then? He was arrested for trying to take the kids out of Japan without the mother's permission. Right or wrong, it's still illegal. He's also not been convicted of a crime, he's only in jail accused of a crime. So he'll likely get out.

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i dont blame her for wanting to go back to japan, she probably had no reason to stay for herself except for the kids and the father. feel sorry for the father, stuff happens i guess. its called life. but... noone should deny anyone else the right to see their kids no matter what country they are in.

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Savoie obtained Japanese citizenship.This might be a snag in the guy's case as well.

Why would that matter?

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The chap obtaining Japanese citizenship might just sink his boat. Nevertheless, the US should lodge a full and formal complaint regarding the actions of the police with regard to the children, who are both American citizens. Denying citizens of a country their right to consular access and protection is about as serious as it gets. As I have written before, the US needs to get into this boots and all, demanding that the police in question be charged with human rights abuses if they did in fact deny the children their rights as US citizens. Namely, the rights to move free and unhindered in order to obtain access to their consulate.

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the children, who are both American citizens.

Are you sure that they are? Both of their parents aren't.

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mr usa what are you talking about.. they are not divorced in japan ,he is the father of the children. why is he being arrested? he has the right to take his kids where he wants (as long as they agree of course) i dont see why he is being charge with kidnapping.. how can he kidnap his own kids when he and his wife arent divorced in japan?

having said that whole thing a mess-she is a criminal and cant go outside japan ever now,his having illegal dual citizenship another. dont know what the authorities will do but these kids will never leave japan be sure of that.

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“It’s very difficult to watch kids becoming American and losing Japanese identity,”

Then why did you marry an American? I don't want to pass judgment on who's completely at fault here, but honestly, teaching your kids about their heritage is your job, not dragging them back and forth across the world so selfishly.

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illegal dual citizenship

That is a road the J authorities won't go down. So many Japanese citizens have dual nationality that this can of worms will stay firmly shut. Odd that Germany and Japan are two standouts in the only one nationality group of countries. Maybe it's a losing mentality at work?

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he has the right to take his kids where he wants

I understand what you're saying. But this is not entirely true. He intended to take his children out of Japan without the mother's permission. That is illegal. Had the mother tried to take the children out of Japan without his permission, that would be illegal too.

These kids are obviously pawns in a sick game between a divorced couple who can't put their differences aside for their children's sake. Both parents are at fault.

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Oh, that said, I think they're both being rather selfish. I don't think either of them are looking at the big picture here. Those kids are going to be so messed up after all this is done.

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Tokyo has argued that the Hague Convention could hinder its ability to shield Japanese women and their children fleeing abusive foreign husbands.

Oh, please. Japanese domestic law is ineffective in shielding Japanese women and their children from abusive Japanese husbands. This argument is a red herring.

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mr usa,

not the case you dont need the permission of both parents to take kids somewhere.. remember they are not divorced.

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timorborder

"the US needs to get into this boots and all, demanding that the police in question be charged with human rights abuses if they did in fact deny the children their rights as US citizens. Namely, the rights to move free and unhindered in order to obtain access to their consulate."

I would absolutely second that.

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flyingfish,

The Japanese wife supposedly got an annullment of the marriage and obtained custody of the children in a Japanese court. The children are Japanese citizens also (evidenced by both having Japanese passports).

If the father also has Japanese citizenship and if he is physically in Japan, then he may be under jurisdiction of Japanese law and its courts...

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not the case you dont need the permission of both parents to take kids somewhere.. remember they are not divorced.

So only if they were divorced would they need the permission?

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LFRAagain, rights as US citizens irrelevant.dual citizens thus japanese law takes precdednt in j

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timor: it did say somewhere that both kids have japanese passorts, and were born here.

The main issue here, is if the divorce was not entered in Japan, legally he is still the father of the children and can do with them whatever he wants (as any Japanese father of a Japanese child). Then custody (or citizenship) should not even be an issue. He wasn't even leaving Japan, he was just visiting his friendly neighborhood US consulate. Nothing wrong with that.

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Since she has some outstanding warrants for her arrest, the solution may be to go through Interpol or some other extradition treaty.

Of course, two wrongs don't make a right. These children are the real victims of this childish behavior and may be in need of counseling all their lives.

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MRUSA fair point-im not sure-even if they are liviing sep im not sure they do though i could be wrong.he is j so has koseki registered in tokyo it appears,so presumably everyone is on that

personally i feel sorry for the wife-they go back to us he divorces her after a few months marries someone else then shes stuck there if she wants to see the kids seems like he set her up

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flyingfish, either way, makes this situation even more interesting. If he claims they are divorced, then he can't take them out of Japan. If he says they're still married then she can keep them in Japan. And there's the issue of his new marriage in America.

This couple really didn't think things through.

Maybe Obama and Hatoyama should invite the kids over for a milk and cookies summit and find out what they want.

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kwaabish, where does it say they are divorced in japan-the other reports say not divorced in japan...

what with his illegal dual cit and her being a fugitive from justice its all very interesting.

even more interesting is the fact that none of the japanese news sites will go anywhere near this

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U.S. law has no jurisdiction in Japan and there is no reason why it should.

Many people forget Japan is not America, Canada, UK, etc. Japan has its own laws and people within its borders need to abide by them.

That said, these abductions will only continue.

In these types of cases, Japanese police and the Family courts do nothing. Possession is 9/10ths of the law in these cases.

The best bet is for any foreign male married to a local in Japan is to build a strong relationship with the parents-in-law and to apply for permanent residence as soon as they can.

Not doing so, and divorcing, will mean that a Spouse visa will revert to a tourist visa when it expires, and the foreign ex-spouse will have to get out.

Another point worth noting is that Japan does not have the notion of dual custody in cases of divorce. In 90-odd % of cases like this - including J-J divorces - the wife gets the kids and the husband is expected to disappear.

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sushisake,

hate it break it to you but pr etc kind of irrelevant j gov will never give a child to a non national there have been cases where mother was mentally ill, or the grandparents kidnapped the child and that was seen as ok

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Maybe Obama and Hatoyama should invite the kids over for a milk and cookies summit and find out what they want.

...I kind of wish this would happen.

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Again I don't blame the police, whatever your criticism of the police might be, they were responding to a reported kidnapping. Last time I checked he was arrested on Japanese soil not US Soil (eg inside the consulate).

Also,

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 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, that's how it is.

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flyingfish

Most Japanese news sites won't cover this story because to the editors, it isn't a story. Parental abduction is not considered a crime, so an editor would not consider it ... until international pressure is brought to bear.

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...her unhappiness with living in this Nashville suburb...

Sorry but not all places in United States like California, N.Y., Vegas or Florida.

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flyingfish - point taken, but my underlying point was that with PR, a foreigner will not have to leave Japan when their visa runs out.

This admittedly is not perfect, but it is better than nothing.

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The father gave up US citizenship to become a Japanese. Why wasn't that mentioned here as it was in other articles? Technically Japan does not allow anyone over 20 have duel citizenship. You are suppose to claim one over the other. You can get around it though. So why was he allowed to stay in America? Did he get his American passport back? Did he register his kids with the American embassy when they were born here? If so they have duel citizen ship. I am further happy to know there are no abusive Japanese husbands, but only foreign husbands.

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yelnats

how do you know he gave it up. i very much doubt he did. thats why it may be a big issue

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flyingfish:

I take that back. I thought I read in earlier articles from yesterday that the wife went to a Japanese court, but the later articles indicate that she had not...

Sorry about that.

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kwaabish, no probs,, the double standard that she is wanted for kidnapping in us and j police do nothing .he takes his kids (not legally a kidnap) and is then arrested immediately by j police is amazing though

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some japanese articles up now usually biased nonsense one even claiming she had the custody rights

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It seems Japan values view a father’s love as an unnecessary part of nurturing children. I’ve heard several stories about how a father can be cut off with no legal options.

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Maybe an Interpol warrent for kidnapping should be issued for her arrest and extradition to the US? If Japan ignores that it'll make them look even more draconian then they already are. If the father was awarded sole custody he was simply coming to return his children to the USA, not kidnap.

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Flyingfish:

not the case you dont need the permission of both parents to take kids somewhere.. remember they are not divorced.

Seesh. Come on, dude, think about it. A divorce in one country is legal in all countries. Same goes for marriages...

Do you really think this whole thing would be happening if they were not legally divorced in Japan? NO!!

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SushiSake3 I believe you have hit it on the head Best bet by far is to nurture a good relationship with the inlaws.Especially the mother in law.She is the most influential figure. Hoping this guy Christopher gets put away for a long time.Whatever America allows is their business.People grabbing kids off their mothers on their way to school for their own selfish reasons can never be supported and he must be made an example of. It is a pity that the max possible sentence is only 5 years

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michael- this has to be the stupidest comment i have ever seen. You want 5 years for a guy who just wants to see his kids. maybe you should read the article first. she did the same thing to him.

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Yelnats,

The father gave up US citizenship to become a Japanese. Why wasn't that mentioned here as it was in other articles?

Actually, I hadn't seen anything yet to indicate he gave up U.S. citizenship. While the U.S. State Dept. official stance on dual citizenship is that it's unacceptable, it doesn't actively enforce the rule. The result is anywhere between 700,000 and 5 million Americans possessing dual citizenship. The wildly varying numbers should serve as an indicator of how low a priority this is for State.

Flyingfish,

I wandered over to the US Embassy webpage where they lay out the rules governing child abduction and providing sanctuary to US citizens. In the case of Mr. Savoie, he wasn't let into the Consulate because he was in the process of committing a crime on Japanese soil. So you're correct in that this may not be a US citizen's rights issue,

But it does beg a host of other questions regarding whether any law was actually being broke, considering he has Japanese citizenship as well. Essentially, he wasn't committing a crime when he sought to provide sanctuary for his American children.

At the end of the day, all things being equal, his only crime was not being Japanese enough when he picked up his own kids. And the wife absolutely counted on this prejudice to protect her interest. Had this been a Suzuki Taro, married to a Suzuki Haru, taking his kids to a hideaway in northern Hokkaido, the police wouldn't have lifted a finger to stop him in such a timely fashion. And you know perfectly well that’s the truth.

To be clear, I don't blame any of what transpired on the Japanese police or the staff at the Consulate. There is no way any of them could have know any of the relevant details to this particular case in the short time it took to unfold, and they did their jobs as they were trained to. Quite honestly, I'd be grateful for the police to respond that quickly to a possible abduction of my child. But at the same time, the response was a little too quick and a little to cut and dry for my taste. Ms. Noriko NoSurnameGiven played a decidedly mean hand by reporting her husband as having been an American taking her kids, rather than her naturalized Japanese-American husband, a salient point that may very well have influenced decisions made by the police towards pursuing in this matter.

Or perhaps not. Savoie still lacks a certain degree of Japanese-ness that affords the likes of Alberto Fujimori sanctuary after a reign of terror in Peru and Kazuyoshi Miura wild public support and outrage at the audacity of American law enforcement expecting him to stand trial for the murder of his own wife in L.A.

Double-standards. Hypocrisy. Racism.

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Similarities (for Japanese woman who cuts off father): Taken without consent to another country. No way to visit children. Arrested if he tries. No way of knowing if children are treated well or poorly. Children not free to make their own decision (until adulthood). Children forced to learn a new language and culture. Children stripped away from their family, friends, school, etc.

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It is supposed to be that way,but when I divorced (I was married in Japan) I was told that I should complete the divorce proceedings under Japanese law. (If I had divorced in Australia I would have been prevented by law from remarrying for a set period but in Japan a man can marry the next day after divorce)So I think it does matter WHERE they married and WHERE they divorced.That is my understanding,based on personal experience. I am 100% certain that divorce proceedings are defined by the place where the marriage was registered.So as far as marriage goes,the marriage and divorce only need to be done in one country and not both,but they must be done in the SAME country.

As far as the father having a passport...in the case of Australia,you can hold Australian citizenship by descent, by birth and by naturalisation.You DO NOT lose your citizenship even if you accept citizenship in a foreign country.I would assume the USA is the same..the father doesn't lose his American citizenship..it is his birthright.He GAINS Japanese citizenship.The Japanese can accept him as a Japanese citizen but they cannot strip him of his American citizenship under American Law.

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they had lived in japan all their lives til 2008 when they went to america and he then divorced the wife. kids dont have to learn a new language culture coming back to japan

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After the abduction, a Williamson County court gave Christopher Savoie full custody of the children in his wife’s absence. The courts also issued an arrest warrant for Noriko Savoie.

Wow the Japanese media have flip flopped they now say the mother abducted the children! Finally some justice here, Japan needs to fix their outdated laws.

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gogogo

what is the japanese media you are quoting. doesnt seem japaanese to me

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flyingfish: This site (Japantoday), I quoted the article above.

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yeah well no japanese look at that this isnt japanese media j newspapers say she had custody

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This guy is a douche bag.

They were together at least 8 years.

Noriko and the children moved to the US in June 2008 and divorce procedings are underway by October 2008. He's remarried less than 9 months after the divorce finalized.

Now he expects his ex-wife to live as a single mother in small town in a foreign country where she knows no one except her ex-husband. Her job prospects probably top out at shelf stacking at Wallmart. I guess his new wife wouldn't be prepared to move to a foreign country so he could be with his kids.

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Problem is, even if he moved to Japan with his new wife, he would have no legal right to see his kids. At least in the US, he'd have the option.

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tetsukon,

you are right. it sounds like he screwed her over. but then again we don't really know, do we?

besides, that is not really the point. is it?

it may have been an error on her part but she did go through the american court system. she even won custody of the kids. she agreed to the terms, right? i'm certain she had to sign an agreement with the court. she was bound to that agreement.

if she was unhappy she should have tried to work something out, legally. instead she broke her agreement with the court. it seems to me the father was acting with the backing of the US. he now has sole custody of his kids. she may have changed her mind but the US courts don't let you have 'take backs.'

now it comes down to whether the japanese government will honor the US courts or not.

unfortunately it seems from all i've read they won't.

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Tetsukon, those were my thoughts as well when I read that he re-married in '09.

On another note, both women AND men of international marriages REALLY need to understand their cultural differences and differences in values BEFORE they get married... I know, easier said than done.

And yet on another note, no offense to those who are divorced, but I wish people wouldn't waste taxpayer's money with family issues. I would rather die than get divorced and break up my family and put my children through hell. Sacrifice yourself before your children's well-being and other people's money.

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In my opinion the guy chose to get on with his life, married again, and made his decision to stay put in the US. His ex-wife was put in a difficult, if not impossible, position.

Having been through a divorce and having a child, it was a no brainier to compromise and live in japan where I could be a father to my child.

I have equal access and I get a visa on account of supporting the child. My ex-wife and I stay on good terms and she writes letters to immigration supporting my visa application.

I know I probably cannot get married again or have more kids in the near future. This is another compromise. My finances are focused on our child.

I am afraid that Mr. Savoie wanted his cake and to eat it too and that he was unwilling to even give a scrap from the table to his ex-wife so she did what she had to do. She stole the whole banquet and frankly, I do not blame her.

I would do the same thing as her if someone was choking the life out of me too.

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If J-spouses wud just agree to visitation even though separated by countries it wud be an improvement & something non-j-spouses wud agree with in some cases.

These cases are so sad & so messed up & Jpn had better get its ar$e in order or its going to looked upon like NK in this regard.

These cases arent easy but surely middle ground shud be found in many of these meltdowns

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"It’s very difficult to watch kids becoming American and losing Japanese identity,”

That's truly a backward statement.Exactly,why on earth marry a foreigner?? Sounds like the woman was a bit nutty anyway.Get's back to who you choose in a relationship.So many naive foreigners involved with Japanese ladies here.Japan is not some progressive fair and open society,and the people are pretty much the same.
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The fact he remarried is irrelevant. I can understand the woman not wanting to live in the US burbs, but she should not have taken the kids away from him and then denied him access to the children. There is no mention of physical abuse so she had no reason to do it other than knowing Japanese law would protect her. His course of action of kidnapping the kids would seem right to him because under Japanese law that was the only avenue open to him.

Neither of them deserve custody of the kids.
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As more details come to light, it seems to me that both of the parents are being selfish. (as kokorocloud said) An international marriage has some challenges. You must be flexible and open-minded. Add 2 kids and I'm sure it can become even more complicated.

When you have children, I believe you have to be willing to make sacrifices. This couple should have discussed the issue about where to live in depth and anticipated possible problems. But after hardly a year of living in Tennessee, they got divorced.

If the woman wasn't happy there and the man knew it then he should have talked about it with her and come up with some kind of solution that would be in the best interest of their kids. Unless she was in fear of her safety, taking off with the kids was wrong. I hope this situation is resolved quickly and the children are somehow able to have both parents in their lives.

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That mother sounds like a nasty, nasty piece of work - and a criminal, to boot. Not a good role model for children at all.

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Tahoochi, Bobba and GW. I think we have some kind of team going.

I think that most spouses with children of mixed race would not keep dad from seeing the kids. My understanding is that in Japan, it is left up to the custodial parent, but given a reasonably civil relationship, these things get worked out. Confronted with legal and practical hurdles to "protecting my rights", I frankly surrender. If I can't trust my wife, I am lost. Fundamentally, that is what marriage is.

And I do agree that expecting the police and courts to work it out is wrong in so many ways. That is business as usual in the states, and I think that it never provides resolution.

Bobba is doing what I would do. Hang on and help the kids and try to keep my life together. Getting all vindictive and using the kids to get revenge is just so sad.

These two should have tried to resolve things better. She is going to figure out that she needs him more than she thinks she does, and she burned some serious bridges to get back here. He is going to regret forcing her to this. No legal decree is going to do anything to help these people.

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He should have been more creative about it...

Sent her a fabricated letter saying she had just one a free trip to the U.S. (even Guam OR Saipan) air-fair and hotel accommodations, then as soon as she took that trip and stepped foot in the U.S. He could have had U.S. Marshall's waiting for her...Japanese have thousands of Sneaky ways of doing things... He should borrowed one of their ways... He's shown exactly "How Not" to get your kids back...

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My heart really goes out to the many of you in complicated marriages and making the sacrifices. I kind of understand what you are goi9ng through. I wish all this was less complicated. I wish even this couple concerned would give up all this chase and unnecessary expenses and self-inflicted pain. It is alright to lose sometimes. It would break us to pieces but if it benefits someone so be it.

Klein please write a book. It will benefit many here. Thank you.

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Nice post Klein.

In looking at this, she was communicating with him via email and expressing her difficulties and then he used that inside information to try and screw her in the courts instead of trying to compromise with her.

At some point Savoie has started treating his kids as possessions and his ex-wife as an object.

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@bobbafett Exactly. I cannot see my 9 yr old right now but I am slowly and patiently working throught things with her mother.It is not about me though.It is about my daughter. I would never go and grab her on the way to her school.This guy has everything coming to him that he deserves. All his language on the videos on CNN are about "my rights" "my children" "me,me,me"

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michaelqtodd

best of luck. usually paying support helps and not rubbing any new relationships in your ex-wifes face. take them both out for dinner or to the park a few times for a few months before going for the full sleep over.

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Ok, lets look at the things carefully and objectively. The article says that they were living in Japan from 2001 until 2008. In October 2008, they decided to break up. That means they lived as a family in USA only for few months. Now, she is alone in a foreign country, knowing nobody (except her ex-husband) and perhaps, being depressed and homesick. What could she have done? They were both wrong and before you accuse the mother, you should notice that the father did EXACTLY the same thing (trying to kidnap the kids). Unfortunately for him, he was arrested inside Japan. The situation is much more complicated now.

Gosh, i really feel sorry for the kids. Some people should think twice before deciding to marry their "exotic" and "attractive/handsome" partner. And i am not talking only about the Japanese wife. Why did they decide to leave Japan at the first place, anyway?

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"The courts also issued an arrest warrant for Noriko Savoie"

Does the U.S. not have an extradition treaty with Japan?

And why did Savoie go back to the U.S. after obtaining Japanese citizenship? Could have something to do with the fact that even with Japanese citizenship, he was not treated as a Japanese by the Japanese.

"It's very difficult to watch kids becoming American and losing Japanese identity."

Could only be said by a Japanese unhappy in America.

Savoie could say, "It's very difficult to watch kids becoming Japanese and losing American identity.

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"Savoie obtained Japanese citizenship." So is he American or Japanese? I believe that to become Japanese you must renounce your previous nationality.

I suspect that he did not obtain citizenship but, perhaps, a permanent residence permit, which is much easier to get.

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Klein - Always good advice.

It looks to me that Chris S just hurt that poor Japanese girl tremendously. I think I would have just fallen over being treated the way this guy treated her. And then to want the children. Sounds like the Koizumi story. What ambitious men will not resort too. Just totally cruel is this man.

Sarge - Quite right. I am glad my boys are culturally American. If I had a girl I would have raised her Japanese. How graceful and lovely. Guess that is why I married one. However, I am hoping that the Japanese will sign the Hague convention as all civilized nations have. Allowing the kidnapping of children is an international crime. Also, many Japanese citizens may not be able to ever bring their children to Japan if divorced overseas, because the divorced spouse is fearful of this situation above.

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After the abduction [by Noriko], a Williamson County court gave Christopher Savoie full custody of the children in his wife’s absence. The courts also issued an arrest warrant for Noriko Savoie.

Legally, the man's actions seem justifiable. But the posts by Tetsukon and Bobbafett above do seem to probe into the man's faults. He married so soon after the divorce, and yet he demands to see his children from the previous marriage. But legally he did have that right.

What a mess, they need some kind of objective arbitration , and counselling. It's time to think of what is best for the kids.

Good luck to the kids, they will need it...

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It doesn't make sense to me why a divorced parent in Japan has to bend over backwards to please his ex-spouse just so that he/she could have access to their kid. The children are from your seed, a manifestation of the man and the women. Why does one have more rights and responsibilities than the other? No loving parent forfeits these rights unless they cannot handle the responsibility. Divorcing in Japan doesn't mean you forfeit these rights, and should not be automatically taken away from either parent because they divorce. How can you bow for what is rightfully yours, especially when you only want to love your child. You cannot give a person what they already own, nor can you place barriers to their access w/o expecting some form of protest. All this talk about different cultures and laws, no matter which side you choose in this case doesn't outweigh the natural rights of both parents. Most of the criticism should be directed to Japanese Family Law for failing to protect these natural rights.

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OneForAll,

Oh, for crying out loud, cut the melodrama, please. You have absolutely no idea whatsoever how anyone how treated anyone before, during, or after the divorce. You are filling in the blanks with an overactive imagination.

And lest you forget, Tennessee courts awarded her custody. There was no vicious conspiracy here, other than a hopeful father wanting to maintain contact with children he helped raise for eight years.

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LFRAgain:

You are filling in the blanks with an overactive imagination. And lest you forget, Tennessee courts awarded her custody.

Not according to the article:

a Williamson County court gave Christopher Savoie full custody of the children in his wife’s absence.

Imagine that.

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mmmm already married? Did he rush into marriage or was he planning it for a while?

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LFRAgain - Watch the videos on CNN and MSN. Are you married to a Japanese girl? My friend said my wife was the first person he has ever met who never had an evil thought. Just there to please.

For Chris S. to drag his wife to the US and divorce her so soon and then to remarry so quickly and then to isolate her and have a nice family of his own with the new wife and to have her children playing with his new family`s children, as a family, without her is a bit much for anyone, especially in a foreign culture. That is not nice to do to someone you have loved. I feel for her.

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And not to forget trying to block her from taking the children out of the country. Future Japanese who are divorced in the US most lkely will not be able to take the children to Japan until the Hague convention is signed. LFRAgain - divorce in the States. You pay someone to live in your house who is doing your wife and raising your kids. She was not paying but just watching. Both is horrid.

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No loving parent forfeits these rights unless they cannot handle the responsibility.

Prove that he is a loving parent. Him (or you) saying so don't make it so. He divorced his wife soon after arriving in the US and then marries his high school sweetheart. He sounds duplicitous. The more I learn about him the less I trust him.

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Let's boycott Japan and Japanese products!

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**igotchu wrote:

All this talk about different cultures and laws, no matter which side you choose in this case doesn't outweigh the natural rights of both parents. Most of the criticism should be directed to Japanese Family Law for failing to protect these natural rights.

And that is exactly true! The natural rights of both parents. The Japanese Government does NOT own the children, nor does the wife or husband that abducts or kidnaps the child/children. The left-behind parents and the children suffer, but Japan could care less. Don't be fooled by the bowing gestures and pretentious smiles. It's termed "hone/tatemae" here...a common practice.

I am presently one of the unfortunate that is experiencing what it is like in Japan. The legal process goes on and on, for years. The child/children are being played like a pawn. It makes you wonder why the suicidal rate in Japan grows higher each year. Such corruption!

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All this talk about different cultures and laws, no matter which side you choose in this case doesn't outweigh the natural rights of both parents.

If dad loved being a parent why did he so quickly divorce soon after arriving back on "home turf" and then marrying his high school sweetheart. Looks more like he was planning this for a while. Why should his ex give a flying fk about his needs, he clearly doesn't care about her needs as a mother. His duplicity does not justify his abduction of his children as if they are pawns in his ego-driven campaign.

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"his abduction of his children"

Or, his rescue of his children, depending on which way you look at it.

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Well, I agree that it was not smart on his part to come into a foreign country and expect to snatch the children without having to face the consequences. There's no way that he would have escaped - especially since he did it while his ex-walked the children to school.

Japan will recognize that as a crime because dual-custody doesn't exist (YET) in a separation/divorce situation.

Regardless of who he married after is irrelevant. His actions demonstrated his love and desperation to be with his kids. Why can't people see that?! YES it was foolish on his part to do what he did, but because of that, the spotlight is on JAPAN. Hague Convention! I'm glad for the media coverage and attention.

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Regardless of who he married after is irrelevant. His actions demonstrated his love and desperation to be with his kids. Why can't people see that?!

Well I happen to believe in the idea of a traditional family, he does not and his actions do not convince me that his children's welfare are his highest concern. And coming to another country and breaking the law (sarge calls it "rescue") makes me question the soundness of his judgment.

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Gaijintraveller - Mr. Savoie did change his nationality - I knew the family when they lived in fuk...

But, I dont know if he has changed it back ( if that is possible!? ). I guess he may have just not told the American government of his Japanese citizenship...

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Would it help if everyone followed a principle " never hurt the one you loved"?

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Looks more like he was planning this for a while

He didn't plan well enough. He should have figured out a way to get, and hang on to the kids passports. He certainly didn't plan their abduction very well either. It's almost as if he wanted to get caught to create such a big international fiasco.

Had he really planned, he could have come back to Japan, got in good with the wife, stayed for a few months, convinced her he was staying for the kids, then quietly taken them, knowing full well she could have never come after them.

Instead, he snatched them off the street. He could have at least convinced them to have lunch with him or something, and then quietly gone to the U.S. consul to sort things out.

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Hehehohohaha, he is the father of the children rather he is married to her or not and his rights of access cannot be denied simply because she is a woman scorned. If she goes back to the US she will probably get a nice settlement, if he has anything. But what she won't get is the right to deny him access to the kids because he married another women. Japanese law would allow this women to seek her revenge in such a manner that would cut him off from his children, possibly for life. No Japanese parent should have such authority over their spouse so as to threaten them with denial of access to their children if they seek a divorce. In international marriages this threat is real and Japanese spouses tend to pull this card without concern for the rights of the their spouses, and most importantly the rights of their child. I'm sorry, but the international community cannot allow you to play this card any longer.

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Hehehohohaha, he is the father of the children rather he is married to her or not and his rights of access cannot be denied simply because she is a woman scorned. If she goes back to the US she will probably get a nice settlement, if he has anything.

Actually, if she goes back to the US she will likely be arrested and charged with kidnapping and custodial interference, as well as about another dozen charges. Expect her to spend quite a bit of time in jail for her actions.

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Actually, if you read the transcript of the hearing at newschannel5.com, the wife went to the U.S. knowing that her husband had a girlfriend, and she was served with divorce papers the day she arrived in June 2008. They had been married 14 years, and it sounds like they had been separated for a year or more, and the judge said that she did not come to Tennessee thinking they would reconcile the marriage. It seems to me that she went to the U.S. because that was the only way to get him to make a property division, and he wasn't going to agree to a divorce in Japan because it wouldn't guarantee him enforceable parenting rights. It's not clear to me that Tennessee should have been the home state for parenting jurisdiction, but I guess both sides agreed to it. If Japan had enforceable family law orders and more openness to joint parenting, it could be the home state without forcing the mother to live in the U.S.

I'm more sympathetic to the wife, because it can't be easy to move to the U.S. just for a divorce and to deal with a foreign court system, because it's not her fault that Japan's family law system doesn't work well, and because it's not necessarily fair to assume that she wouldn't let him see the children in Japan. Yes, that is the case for many and it is a reasonable fear, but it wasn't necessarily her intent. The husband acknowledges in a video that she said he could see the kids in Japan, but he did not want to be "beholden to the other side" and see them "as long as he is nice." That rubbed me the wrong way, because being nice is a good thing and the legal regime in Japan is not her fault. But still, he has a legitimate interest, leaving the morality of divorce aside as law should.

It also bothers me that he has made this into such a public case, and it really bothers me that his new wife repeated, on CNN, a grandmother's claim that she was "tortured" by Japanese police.

He does have a point that his rights in Japan would be very hard to enforce, even for someone with his economic resources and language ability. One can question whether "rights" or "being nice" is the best way to deal with these issues, but there are economic and parenting rights on both sides and Japan has a modern legal system with rights commonly litigated.

This is a gray case, and I think it is sad and counterproductive for the wife and mother, and now the father, to be turned into criminals. Ultimately, the problem is Japan's weak enforcement regime for family court orders of parenting and property division. But grandstanding won't change that. The father is a Japanese citizen with strong ideas about problems in Japan's legal system, with money, language ability, and apparently plans for law school. Maybe he could make his arguments to a Japanese judge on why the Tennessee order should be enforced or a fair Japanese order of joint parenting put into effect. The father said he would be OK with the kids living in Japan if he had enforceable rights - Japan should make that possible so the kids can benefit from the love and heritages of both parents.

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I'm sorry, but the international community cannot allow you to play this card any longer.

The only card I am playing is "He doesn't deserve my sympathy" card. I agree with bamboohat that his bungling of this "rescue" was calculated to garner press attention, a stunt. The narrative he wants everyone to accept is that he is some poor white guy from Tenn. hard done by a Japanese woman. But emerging evidence suggests he's conniving and duplicitous and will stop at nothing to get one over on that woman.

I don't believe his story nor trust his motives.

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When all is said and done, I'd say Christian is the greater victim. Remarks made by the judge when he allowed Noriko to bring the children to Japan over the summer indicate that Christian is paying a substantial amount in child support and alimony. He appeared quite willing to "share" the children. In fact, I would imagine that he would have been receptive to even longer stays in Japan for his offspring - if he could have been certain that his visitation rights would be respected. Obviously, he could not: she wanted the whole enchilada and was willing to tear up a legally-binding contract to get it. It is highly likely that, if he had limited his efforts to filing suits in America or even in Japan, his legal recourse would have been for naught and his wife would have blocked all access to the kids.

The only way out of this quagmire is for Japan to sign the Hague Convention. The certainty that, if one parent reneges on custodial or visitation agreements, the other country will repatriate the children would remove the uncertainty and, if not exactly foster trust, at least provide enough confidence for parents to raise children in both countries.

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The foreign abusive husbands reasoning of not accepting the Hague convention is so typically Japanese. Obviuosly Japanese women need to be protected from those foreign devils. I read something about how she claimed she was afraid of her husband, well I'll tell you if my wife stole my kids she'd have something to be afraid of too. Now for the matter at hand, it looks like the father was completely correct in his assessment that his ex would flee with the kids. The Tennesse court allowed Noriko to "take a vacation to Japan" and look what happened she didn't return. The court in Tennesse may have "recognized the father's concerns" but obviously didn't realise what a huge problem Japanese law is.

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Laguna, good points, and I basically agree. What bothers me, though, is that his demand for "certain[ty] that his visitation rights would be respected" is something that she personally couldn't give, to his satisfaction, without moving to the U.S. I agree that the solution is for Japan to change its laws, and not just signing the Hague Convention but reforming the domestic family law system. But she can't make that happen. I don't think it's clear that she "wanted the whole enchilada," because moving to the U.S. just for a divorce is a lot to ask. They were married a long time and she had a right to a property settlement. So they are both victims.

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Bottom line is, she said she was going to Japan with her kids for a holiday and then would be returning so they could head back to school. She decided not to return and straight out broke the law. A warrant was then issued for her arrest. Ever since she has been protected by the Japanese government and police. This is nonsense. There are hundreds of similar situations that nothing is being done about. Time to get tough. The diplomacy route has taken well over 15 years on this issue and isnt working. Mass protests and pressure are required if anything is to be done quickly. Peoples lives are being unnecessarily affected with hardship. Sign the Treaty Japan. Youll move up at least one notch on the belt.

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The Judge in Tennessee should also be held accountable. They should have known better.

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"Police said he had grabbed the kids as they walked with their mother to their new school in the southern Japanese city." Poor, poor kids.

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This is a complicated situation, from all of the information that's come out thus far. I suppose the only good that will come from this is that there will be some sort of movement going forward on the larger issues at play here. Hopefully the needs and desires of the two children will not be forgotten in the ensuing chaos and acrimony of the coming legal battle. I suspect the kids will have a hard enough time as it is, reacclimating and reintegrating into Japanese society.

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Well he originally hooked up with her in Japan married and they had kids in Japan, so why should he force the kids to be in America. Seems to me like since thats where they originally were from, wouldn't that make sense he should have to come to terms on where his wife was from, it's not like she went to America and started a family there then wanted to leave (which does happen a lot) and I don't think is right at all.

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There is no comparison between this situation and the abductions by NK

That is just an opinion; not even close to a fact. Fact is that in both cases the legal parents have no access to their children.

If Japan wants to be taken seriously internationally and get support by the international community they have to play along with the rules. Kidnapping remains kidnapping even if one of the kidnappers is a parent. As the US legislation ruled, the children belong to the US.

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To get permanent residency (a visa category) in Japan, applicants are supposed to have lived in Japan continuously for 10 years. How could he go to the next level and get Japanese citizenship (a Japanese passport) after only 7 years? I thought citizenship was very difficult to get and reserved for special cases like foreign sumo wrestlers etc.

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knews: It's now 5 years and you can naturalize if you can speak Japanese and act Japanese (they come over to your house and test you).

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gogogo

Thanks for that. I had no idea.

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DwightVanWinkle - Thanks for the info.

LFRAgain - Guess you were right and I overreacted. Pretty complicated story. Lot of issues. Just hope the Hague convention gets signed.

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This reminds me like the movie, not without my daughter. The man tricking his wife and daughter to coming to Iran then refusing them to leave. Minus the abusive part and whole muslim part haha and most of the movie, its very similar. The kids home is Japan where they were born and raised, no? why be an Ahole and force them to the US? Maybe he should have moved back to Japan and worked out some thing.

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Oh boy. CRCjapan couldn't of picked a worse poster child for their cause.

So let me get this straight.

-The kids were born and raised in Japan for most of their lives. -The guy has an affair with his highschool sweetheart, eventually marrying the woman who already has three kids of her own. -Noriko and her kids are forced to go to Hicktown, TN where upon arrival, are served with divorce papers. -The court awards shared custody but instructs Noriko and the kids to stay within the driving distance of Hicktown, TN. Oh. Did I mention that the kids were born and raised in Japan for 99% of their lives? That's irrelevant since the Hicktown, TN courts already determined that confining the kids to Hicktown, TN nearby his two timing father is for the "best" interest of the children. -Noriko violates the court order. On the grounds of the violation, Christopher files for full custody and gets it. In other words, the Hicktown, TN court decides that it is the "best" interest of the two children to live with his two timing dad, an accomplice to his affair and the reason for the kids suffering in his new wife, and her three kids. One big happy family, American style!!!

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Hehehahahoho, rather you like his intentions or not does not change the fact that Japanese Laws are the blame here. Why won't you say the Family Laws here are whats driving these cases? Do you believe that in the case of divorce one parent should be left out of their children's life?

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Inter-racial/cultural marriages do get complicated as this incident points out. The Japanese by all accounts are very protective about their cultural identity.

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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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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.

You are so right in your writing! The courts are so backwards. I went to Family Court to negotiate visitation rights, and was told by the mediators there that two hours a month is a fair settlement. I tried to argue the fact that I'm paying child support, and shouldn't I have rights as a father. I felt as if I was a criminal.

According to an International lawyer, I was told that FC can't do jack squat, and they're afraid to enforce rules because they don't want to be pin-pointed as the "bad guy." They want to promote talks.

My ex-???? made up every lie in the book to make me look like a criminal. She even went as far as to say that I got out of a black van with 5 other men in suits, and surrounded the court building!!! Of course her accusations were false, but it was only family court, and she's allowed to LIE all she wants.

The seriousness of this matter affects the child and his/her well being. Crazed and psychotic mothers should be examined, re-examined, and monitored to be sure that they're fit to be a parent. Not some biotch seeking revenge...which is exactly what the "other one" is doing. And, they should be held accountable by a real court of law for all of their false accusations and fabrications.

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If Japan wants to be taken seriously internationally and get support by the international community they have to play along with the rules. Kidnapping remains kidnapping even if one of the kidnappers is a parent. As the US legislation ruled, the children belong to the US.

Japan has it's own laws and follows those, not the laws of another country. US legislation has no power in Japan.

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Not some biotch seeking revenge...which is exactly what the "other one" is doing.

the cases are not the same. You are only relating it and seeing it with one eye and you are also telling a one sided tale about yourself.

Ex-wives do not go insane and mad for revenge on a whim. There must be a lot of smoke and huge burning fire for this to happen.

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Japanese courts have no right whatsoever to deny these children the right to learn about their western heritage.

Funny. I could of swore that it was the U.S. courts who ordered the mother and the children to remain in Hicktown, TN until they become adults depriving them from living in the only environment they knew.

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The ex-wife stated that she was afraid the kids were becoming to American and would loose their Japanese heritage. The Japanese people really no nothing about the US at all. While we might be American we do value keeping ones cultural heritage and customs intact. Where I come from we have a Festival Of Nations of which cultural diversity is celebrated and in fact preserved if you want to be fussy about it. She had no right to take those children as she wasn't in Japan but in the US. You expect us to respect your laws and customs and we expect the same of you. How do you expect for us to have transparency as Mr. Hatoyama has stated if you treat us as though we aren't even allies? This is just shameful!!!

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kawaisoo for the lady. This bloke has been so harsh: she was brought to nowhere, got through a divorce right after (which obviously was planned by this bloke quite a long time b4), then he get remarried, the J-lady is geographically and cutlurally isolated with her kids, and then the guy is creating this mess.

Putting the backwardness of some aspects of the japanese law aside and knowing that quite a lot of J-wives are evil, I would stand for the lady in this case.

This case will be used by everyone: CRCjapan, lawmakers, Saitama's housewives, and many more.

And even if he would really wanted to get his kids back to the US, there are tons of companies specialized in extracting children from parental kidnappings.

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She made the choice, good or bad. She married voluntarily to U.S. citizen and was living in Nashville with their kids. Even with a divorce proceedings, regardless of who did this or what, the U.S. law stands. She kidnapped her own children and went back to Japan. She knew what she was doing. This is a serious crime. The Japanese govenment should send her back to U.S. and face the charges of kidnapping and should face the consequences.

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Nigel Boy, please write the answer to my questions.

Did the Tennessee Courts give Noriko custody of her children? yes or no

Did the Tennessee Courts grant her visitation rights? yes or no

Did the Tennessee Courts allow her take her children for visits to Japan? yes or no

Will the Tennessee Courts enforce Noriko's parental rights? absolutely

Will Japanese Courts grant Custody to Chris? no or never

Will Japanese Courts give Chris visitation rights? maybe no or never

Will Japanese Courts allow Chris to take his children for visits to America? never

Will Japanese Courts enforce Chris parental rights? Hell No!!

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There are two points for which I would like more information. In the US if a there is a court decision to share custody of children, then the parent taking the children out of the state (Tennessee)must have the written permission of the other parent. The mother of the children may be guilty of kidnapping because she apparently did not have the permission, otherwise, the father would have refused permission. I would like to know if the court in Japan is refusing to honor a US court decision for joint custody. Joint custody is actually a contract, just as marriage or divorce is a contract. If I divorce my Japanese citizen/wife in the US, am I still married in Japan? According to the news story, neither the US court nor the Japanese law enforcement would become involved in the situation. Granted, he was wrong to take the children as she did, but the treatment he reportedly received from the Japanese authorities is inexcusable. My wife tells me that if the police arrest someone in Japan, the general opinion of the public is that person is guilty. The concept of "innocent until proven guilty" is not commonly held. This may be true, since some US news media have reported that the father had to speak in Japanese and did not have the right to a translator. Good luck to the Japanese tourist who is arrested in Des Moines, Iowa, or any other place where there are no translators. The Japanese court should order the mother and children deported as soon as possible so that the US court can resolve the issue. I will assume she is innocent of a crime, but, at the same time, I believe contracts and court decisions in any country must be honored by another country.

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Sorry igotschu. My only issue here is not really the "parental rights" but what the Hicktown, TN court decided what the "best" interest for the children.

You see, the Hicktown TN court never considered that the best environment for the children could perhaps be Japan where they were born and raised 99% of their lives because face it, all they were concerned about was the ability/inability of Noriko to make a decent living in their backward county as to determine is she was fit to be a parent deserving of custody.

This Hicktown TN court ultimately decided that it was the "best" interest for the children to stay with his two timing dad, his partner in crime which I'm sure these kids are really looking forward to(sarcasm), and her three kids.

Sounds to me that the court was looking at the "best" interests for Christopher, and Christopher alone.

And people wonder why Japan and many other countries don't sign the Hague Treaty.

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This lady is the real criminal in this case. She abducted the children from the US plain and simple. She should be extradited to the US to face charges.

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hollywood1, Japanese courts will not honor foreign courts ruling when it comes to custody battles between foreign parents and Japanese parents. With that said , the Japanese Law does have four conditions in which they will honor foreign court's ruling.(1)foreign court has jurisdiction and is the final court; (2)Japanese national must be served the final ruling; (3)cannot violate Japanese Public Policy or Morales; and (4)reciprocity. Japanese courts will not recognize Chris ruling from the Tennessee Courts because they have not met the criteria for one, final court and two, Public Policy. Public Policy is the one they use when the foreign parent has met all the other criteria. They will simply say it goes against Japanese Public Policy.

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Christopher Savoie is a citizen of Japan, so it is up to Japanese courts to decide what happens.

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nigelboy,

wow where did you get all that? did you read the transcript of the case?

what is the use of speculating? we don't know what the court based their decision on. do we? on top of that your speculations are based on a false premise. i read she was actually given custody of the kids by the hicktown courts. having your facts are wrong doesn't lend much credence to you speculations. they only gave him full custody after she broke the law. from an american perspective that is the key to the case. she signed off on a court agreement then broke it.

i agree it looks as if she was getting the short end of the stick. he probably did use and abuse her. but you know someone is always getting the short end of the stick. and the courts deal with that fact everyday. my understanding is these agreements are always being modified by the court to help parents meet changing life situations, new jobs etc. did she try to work with the court? or did she she see a quick fix for her problem? i won't speculate.

sadly it seems respecting the US courts is not a high priority for the Japanese government. if cases like this one catch on emotionally in the states there will be a price to pay. that's politics.

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nigelboy:

Hicktown TN

Franklin, TN is routinely rated one of the best places in the US to live and raise a family. Even the public schools are quite good, and the private schools are better.

Williamson county is home to Nissan North America, and other Japanese businesses in Tennessee include:

Toshiba (Lebanon)

Komatsu (Chattanooga)

DENSO (Athens and Maryville)

Brother (Bartlett)

Mitsue (Nashville)

Bridgestone/Firestone (Nashville)

Viam Manufacturing (Manchester)

GOH America Corporation (Memphis)

Iris Management Support (Nashville)

M-TEK (Manchester)

NKC of America (Nashville)

Tokio Marine and Nichido Fire Insurance (Franklin)

Toyota Tsusho America (Maryville)

Takahata Precision America (Helenwood)

The list goes on and on. Even the little Mom-and-Pops business I work for does more than half of its business in Japan.

Almost 80% of Japan's US population resides in Tennessee. There is a Japanese consulate in Nashville. And for many years, Tennessee was home to the only all-Japanese school in the U.S.

Not New York, not San Francisco, not Los Angeles, and not Seattle. If Savoie's ex-wife couldn't find a way to be comfortable here, she was going to have a tough time finding a better place in the U.S.

I know it's standard fashion to bash any place in the South as "backward" and "ignorant", but only deliberately ignorant people would say such a thing about Middle Tennessee. One only needs to stay here a few weeks to see how cosmopolitan Nashville is, with the wide variety of music performed and recorded here, the diverse arts, cultural and political scenes, and the offerings of universities such as Vanderbilt.

If someone can't wrap their heads around that, and still insist on calling us "hicks", then they're just another bigot and that's their problem.

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WhiteHawk: your quote: "Almost 80% of Japan's US population resides in Tennessee."

How did you get this percentage? How many Japanese people live in Tennessee in numbers? I believe California, Hawaii, and New York has majority of the Japanese population. Correct me if I am wrong.

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i read she was actually given custody of the kids by the hicktown courts.

@inkjet

I clearly stated that on my post at 12:39 AM JST - 2nd October. "The court awards shared custody but instructs Noriko and the kids to stay within the driving distance of Hicktown, TN"

My problem, as I stated previously, is the ultimate decision of the court which resulted in full custody of the kids with their two timing dad, his mistress, and her three children. If you think the two kids are better off with them than living in Japan with their mother and the support of her family, then we have nothing to discuss.

@Whitehawk

Almost 80% of Japan's US population resides in Tennessee.

No. According the MOF statistics, if you go buy the # of Japanese registered under the consulate locations, Nashville is at 2.4%

http://www.mofa.go.jp/Mofaj/toko/tokei/hojin/09/pdfs/1.pdf

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Nigelboyboy

You've dug & filled your own hole.

Supposition trails badly to knowhow.

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I thought Torrance, CA had 80% of the US population of Japanese. What... did they all move? Only half joking there.

What a great news story this is. It can and will be spun all over the place. Someone should summarize the viewpoints. Here are some of my favorites.

He is a Japanese citizen, so let him deal with it. He screwed her over because she was a foreigner. It was easy. She is an international kidnapper. Capital punishment in Tennessee! Those poor kids, having to play English language versions of Mario all their lives. He had intended to dump his wife and keep the kids while they were still living in Japan. Time to change Japan's laws because they don't mesh with American small business trophy-wife rules. Japanese women... not the ideal starter wife. Keeping a white Japanese man from entering the US consulate was bad, but if they had not known he was Japanese, they would not have stopped him. Fukuoka is Otaru!! THINK OF THE CHILDREN (this got buried early, as one might expect) Noriko is hot. The new wife, not so much.

As the story unfolds, here are headlines I would like to see.

Nori-S and Nori-P as Thelma and Louise II. Come on, you know they would do it if Brad Pitt signed on. Nori-S finds a great guy in Fukuoka who tries to fit the kids in a freezer. An Italian restaurant in Tennesee offers the Savoies a free dinner as a goodwill gesture. They refuse. The restaurant then overbills them.

If we think hard, I am sure we can come up with others.

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Or wait. How about this?

During custody hearings, Nori claims that Christopher tried to put their children in a freezer. Doctor confirms it.

There. THAT is the perfect storm.

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"If you think the two kids are better off with them than living in Japan with their mother and the support of her family, then we have nothing to discuss"

Why not, Nigelboy? What makes you think Noriko Savoie and her family members will be any better at raising those children? Is it simply because they're Japanese? If so, why? If that's your only reason for taking the mother's side (Noriko and her family's ethic background), and if you don't know the two parties personally, then you have no case.

And if you're going to expose your own ignorance and bigotry by referring to a place in Tennessee that you probably know NOTHING about as "Hicktown", then (as Whitehawk nicely showed) a lot of people have nothing to discuss with you, either.

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I meant "ethnic" in that last comment

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Interesting how this tragic episode has been partially diverted by some folks on this blog as an indictment of Middle Tennessee, where I was raised. It's as if you assume every Japanese would hate not living in a big city and none could possibly be happy in the country side. Similarly, there are Japanese in Japan who can't comprehend how I can be happy living in Saitama, where I do now.

I was in Winchester Tennessee (population 5000) a few years back. You can assume that the Winchester of 30 years ago defines the stereotypic small southern town that you are imagining. I met a Japanese family with kids who worked at the nearby Nissan plant. They were quite happy there, living in a big house with a yard and a low cost of living and it is quite safe. There are Japanese restaurants in the area run by Japanese that have good sushi and sashimi. When speaking to the locals, they were grateful for the Japanese being there as they bring jobs, revenue, and are good neighbors. The Japanese I spoke to there agree that they feel quite welcome.

So this situation is not about it being impossible for a Japanese mother to be happy in the American South. It's about problems between a husband and wife and personal preferences with the kids stuck in between.

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It seems that she run away with her children to Japan from her ex-husband because he remarried with other mistress shortly right after the divorce. He had love-affair with other girls secretly before divorce. He might have abused her often to divorce. I can imagine she was so isolated, lonely, helpless there. He dumped her anyway. She broke the law, but what she has done is understandable to me.

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He had intended to dump his wife and keep the kids while they were still living in Japan. Time to change Japan's laws because they don't mesh with American small business trophy-wife rules.

He had love-affair with other girls secretly before divorce.

Where do you guys get this stuff?

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I have to say that this has been a really, really good thread on this topic. Some very thoughtful and provocative posts from all sides.

In particular, thank you to DwightVanWinkle for a very informative contribution. It sheds a lot of light on what's happened up to the point that Savoie decided to try and recover his own kids.

One thing that I want to point out is that many posters here are maintaining that Noriko had no power whatsoever over whether or not Chris would be able to visit his kids in Japan, and it's crucial to understand that that simply isn't true.

While Japanese family law does indeed not recognize joint custody, there are no actual legal provisions strictly forbidding an ex-spouse from taking part in a child's life. Simply put, while an ex-spouse has no specific legal rights to do so, they are not expressly forbidden to do so if it is amicable to all parties. If the legal custodian of a child were to tell the ex to bugger off, then he or she would have no other recourse but to do just that. However, if the custodian gave the ex permission to see the kids, then that would violate no laws in Japan.

Chris had a reasonable fear that Noriko would never give him that permission. And, as it turns out, those suspicions were correct. After finally contacting Noriko in Japan after the abduction, she refused to let him even speak over the phone with his own children.

Noriko had the opportunity to make this work, and she chose not to. She further reinforced her resolve to keep the father separated from his children by abducting them and fleeing back to Japan where she knew perfectly well Chris would have no legal recourse whatsoever.

Noriko sewed the seeds for this disaster, admittedly out of desperation, out of fear, out of frustration. But this myth that's being perpetrated that she's simply some poor, unknowing victim is false.

________

Pointofview,

Please take the time to reread pertinent information on the case from Step 1. Noriko did not, as you understand it, take the kids to Japan on vacation, and then decide simply not to return.

She went to Japan on a court-sanctioned vacation, returned to the US, then later abducted the children when they were on the way to their first day of school in Tennessee, and fled the country. It has been suggested that she spent time during the court-sanctioned vacation in Japan preparing for the children’s arrival, having already committed to abducting them.

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Meh... Why is it always Americans in these battles?

I think because America has laws that slam foreigners, and Japan does too... both are just in this eternal deadlock. But... she won because she stole the kids. Japan's better at saying "this is our country, you will obey the Japanese customs, gaijin" whereas America has a little more heart so says "hey American... from a Japanese background... you can still see your kids if you stick around."

She then abused America's leniency.

Bloody Japan...

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"How long do intend on staying here Mrs. Savoie?"....Anywhere from an hour to a few days. Just depends on how fast i do what i have to do. "Are you traveling alone?"...for the time being. "And whats your purpose here in the States Mrs Savoie?"....Well i plan to hightail over to my kids school where i will abduct them as they walk into the front gates. Then i will haul arse out of the land of the free back to the safe haven of the rising sun, where my hubby will not have any rights whatsoever. "OK. Enjoy your stay."

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My children were abducted back in '93. I was fortunate enough to be able to return to Japan (military) and find them. I never got them back but I was able to be part of their lives again. During the brief time that the ex and I were getting along she revealed that she was instructed by certain "officials" that if she absconded with the kids to Japan that I would have no recourse whatsoever. This case is so similar to mine that a chill ran up my back. I hope the best for this man in getting back with his kids.

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Japanese people are talking about joint custody.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyUR-sKgvzg

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Michaelgtodd and Bobbafet, I wish you the best of luck. I have a question though. Why does it have to be 'all up to the wives?' You support them financially, you show good gesture of wanting to know your children and involve in raising them, yet you still have to make all the sacrifice just to be involved in your children life. Or just to see them. Some people don't deserve to become a parent, and probably the children are better off without them, but this is not the case. I can not imagine not knowing my own father when I grew up. Especially since I know how much my father loves me. Probably women/men who thinks that it is OK to deny their children from having their father/mother (who loves them) in their life for their own selfish reason, don't deserve to become a parent. And the children are better of without these women/men. They need to stop treating their children as a possession, and start treating them as a human being.

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My Japanese husband told me last night that in fact many Japanese are pressuring for the government to sign the Hague Convention as well, because they have problems with their own kids being abducted by foreign spouses back to their home countries and out of Japan.

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It's not clear that the Japanese Civil Code doesn't allow joint custody, and 90% of divorces are non-judicial anyway. I wonder if there is more room for crafting enforceable contractual divorces with property settlements and parenting plans than people think. I also think that Japanese culture is changing rapidly and the younger generation is more open to post-divorce co-parenting. A consensual divorce by contract might be more effective and easier on the kids than dragging a mother and kids living in Japan to a foreign court for a parenting plan and property settlement.

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MoBass4U

Now there is an angle I have not seen. Knowing about this gap in the system, OF COURSE people in Japan will encourage others to break US laws. I have to say that if Noriko thought this up by herself out of desperation to help her kids, then that is one thing, but to imagine bureaucrats and lawyers and "wise respectable" people encouraging her to commit a felony, then ... hey... YIKES.

Himajin. Please do not put my attempts at humor in a sandwich with serious comments. I was remarking that some people have noted that he had some relationship going before the divorce, and that he was trading in Noriko for someone who might be better for his future.

The rest of this is just a rant... He gets his model white family in his hometown, with a house and his company and two passports. She gets a crummy basement apartment with her two kids, with a choice of leaving her kids or her country behind. Why? Because she is the foreigner and he had enough money and knowledge of the system to pay for his lawyers to get everything ready before he dumped her in January and married his girlfriend. If it had been Japan, he would have known that she would get custody. He would then have to make a choice between his new wife and his own kids. But in America you can have it all, see? How convenient for him. Noriko even carried the kids in her body for nine months each and then birthed and fed them. What does she get for that?

He should have grown a pair, been a real man, left the girlfriend, and cared for his wife and kids. But what courage he showed coming to Japan to get his kids, right? Wrong. A real man would never have let it get this far.

That is it. That is my last rant on this subject. This whole thing just makes me want to be a better husband and father. Let everyone else screw up the world. Not me.

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

"The differences between one divorce jurisdiction and another are far more than the difference between a soccer team playing at home or playing away. It is instead a difference between playing one game at home and a totally different game with totally different rules away.

"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?"

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Klein2 - Nice comment!!

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DwightVanWinkle, thank you for that extra information, it should embarrass people who were so fast to condemn the mother.

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"They need to stop treating their children as a possession, and start treating them as a human being."

So well said. Being a parent and a spouse is a heavy heavy responsibility. Anyone who thinks that divorce is as easy as making and breaking a contract, especially with children involved, has no business marrying in the first place. The world used to be like that. One thing I like about the Japanese system is that the outcomes are pretty clear from the beginning, making decisions so much easier. A hard rule is better than no rules. Sometimes that hard rule shows more caring for human beings.

Sure, in Japan, women wind up with the kids, but we all know that it is a crushing burden to bear alone. A man who subjects their family to that should be allowed contact with that family only at the behest of the mother, who must bear that burden because her man can't. Seems fair to me.

If a man can be divorced and work something else, then all right. Bobba is one such example. Good on him. But someone has to be the adult. American systems pit the parents against each other. The parents then descend to kindergarten level in their bickering. Frequently, the kids can game their parents using the courts. I know a guy in the US who divorced 15 years ago and they are STILL doing custody hearings for this and that reason. Wild allegations. Dueling lawyers. Everything is arbitrary. Everything is negotiable. Please someone tell me how that is a system that cares about people.

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Regardless of the "rights" and "wrongs" of this particular case, for what reason does the law of Japan make a decision to recognize a one-parent custody only - for the child? This does not just apply to foreigners. I personally know of several foreigners and a few Japanese ex-husbands, who are completely shut out of their children's lives because of this J-Court ruling. The wives from what I understand, ran away with the children and were taught to use a tool of power. The tool/term is: "DV, or Domestic Violence," and those TWO words alone - will prompt the authorities to take action against the husband.

Evidence, or NO EVIDENCE, lying or not, full protection for the woman will take precedence. Then there's the process of a long court battle. Meanwhile, on the sidelines, the child gets pushed into a whole different environment, completely removed from the left-behind-parent, forced to cope in a different world, and trying to adapt to a new life-style.

In many cases, the hurt feelings the child endures from being forced away from the other parent, affects him/her in several ways. (Read about the numerous monthly cases in Japan, about sons or daughters retaliating against mothers in some way or another.) It's all relative. It is NOT good for the children to be cut off from the other "loving parent."

Child Abduction/Kidnapping is running rampant in Japan. Something must be done to protect the Children and the Left-Behind-Parents.

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what can we expect from a justice system that doesn't do much of justice?

who want to loose custody of their children by divorce?

this kind of injustice and unfair system will only make problem rather than help to prevent or stop the problem.

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Thank you for your responses. However, I still want to know: My wife is a Japanese citizen and I am an American citizen. We were married at City Hall in a city in Nevada. Is our marriage contract enforceable in Japan or can I marry another Japanese woman in Japan? In my opinion the answer is yes because any contract from marriage to child custody made in any other country than Japan is not legitimate and enforceable. Therefore,the conclusion is: Any American married to a Japanese citizen can escape child support, etc. by fleeing to the US, and if the woman comes to the US to find her children, she has no rights to support or visitation.

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****So far there has been almost a complete news blackout on the Christopher Savoie case in Japan, and I am hoping that the events on Saturday will change that. (A quote from a reliable source.)

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Himajin. Please do not put my attempts at humor in a sandwich with serious comments.

My question was 'Where do you guys get this stuff?' I was wondering where you got the idea that his new wife (or his ex, I was not sure to whom you were referring) is a trophy wife. Not that it matters, but sometimes I wonder what people (in general, not just you) base their comments on. Just curiosity, not a jab at you :-)

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hollywood1:

Is our marriage contract enforceable in Japan or can I marry another Japanese woman in Japan? In my opinion the answer is yes

Yes, your marriage contract is enforceable in Japan. No, you cannot legally marry another Japanese woman.

Why do people keep assuming that marriage is only binding in a single country?

Can you marry a woman in the U.S., go across to Canada and marry another? No.

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It is the result of a typical cultural issue in Japan. Japanese women are good wives untill they become mothers. They they are not good wives anymore because they want to be good mothers! They cant hold on two roles; that is too complex! So often the husband realizes he needs another woman for love/sex and his wife has turned into the mother of his children. For many husbands, this is enough to go through life to teh end. If there is a divorce, the mother has no identity if she loses the kids! Also the husband is so little familiar with a parent role as it was mostly played by the mother. Other issues result from here ...

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Such a crock! The kids should see their father; he wan't abusive, yet the Japanese gov't hides behind the excuse they need to protect Japanese women and children from abusive husbands and fathers. What about abusive Japanese husbands and fathers?! I hope Christopher's case makes a crack in this archaic Japanese policy.

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So many good comments. Psychology is a Western discipline, but if you were to make a psychological assessment of Japan, you would so often conclude that dysfunctionality is the norm. Routinely awarding sole custody to one spouse and denying a willing parent access can only be described as entirely dysfunctional and devoid of any concept of the needs of the child. Lovely people, though.

I have always told my boys that the secret of successfully living in Japan is to avoid the three vices: Drugs, Gambling, and Girls. If Mr Savoie had been of the same thinking, he would not be in this predicament today. The simple truth is, this is Japan - not the US/EU. Let Japan work through it's problems at it's own pace. They only become YOUR problems when YOU choose to unzip your fly. At that point, you just have to suck it up.

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Klein2 at 10:53 AM

awesome post.

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@asianyetgaijin Arigato.Naru yo ni naru (What will be will be)I will not giving my beautiful daughter the chance to have a father in her life.I will keep trying to negotiate with her mother.I actually gave up my career to co parent her for 5 years.Week on week off.Now her mother even taunts me with the fact that the two of them come to my town sometimes but do not visit me. I am crying here and this case has brought up many emotions. @LFRagain There seems to be a crucial difference in your view of the facts.You say Christopher was denied access to children in Japan but another poster says this is not the case.Yes he was denied access on that phone call but he was clearly angry then. I still see or read anything to sway me from believing that he should go to prison for several years as we simply cannot have children treated like this (grabbed on their way to school).I wonder if the Judge in Tennessee still believes that full custody for him is appropriate after he did that! He showed no consideration for his children`s welfare whatsoever

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but the other way round,she refused to suck up us laws.

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Fairly simple really, they divorced because they couldn't stay married any longer, She wanted to return to Japan with her children as any mother would, He wanted to live in the USA and have his kids live there too as any father would. It was always going to end up with one of them happy and the other unhappy, he has just made a bad situation worse, He being an executive would have had means at his disposal and should have appealed to his Japanese wife's more pragmatic side for an amicable resolution rather than the American Courts.

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OK, so he loves his children very much. I wonder what kind of a husband he was. I wonder if he knew of the Japanese law. He wanted his kids but minus the wife. Yeah, he's worth our rallied support. Everybody stand up for this guy.

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Wow this is some weird news.

If you have an international marriage then it seems you should at least discuss what would happen in this situation. Both these people are in the wrong and I hope the courts wherever work out a solution that protects these kids from their fXcked up parents.

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Auntplum, great post. Indeed, we're all on the outside of this looking in. Cultural paradigms aside, Christopher's case isn't really about him or Noriko. This really raises the question about what is best for the kids. Both parents made bad choices and compounded an otherwise containable problem. Again, cultural bias aside, most cultures maintain a model that espouses a father and mother raising their children. Of course Japan and the US are far apart, but a more reciprocal judicial system (yes the Hague) facilitates a way that both parents can be a part of the childrens' lives.

Yes, Noriko should raise them primarily, but the system should allow Christopher to remain a presence, financially and fatherly.

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I am married to a japanese wife and we have a prenuptial ( only verbal so I hope she keeps her side ) She retains 100% of everything as long as she takes full custody of our children.

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I am married to a japanese wife and we have a prenuptial ( only verbal so I hope she keeps her side ) She retains 100% of everything as long as she takes full custody of our children.

Congratulations, your prize is in the post! When the shit hits the fan, you can either behave like an adult or throw a fit. While these two people seem to love their children, it is obvious they love themselves a whole lot more.

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Well this has all been extremely insightful but here is my two cents worth, whatever that's worth. The fact of the matter is that she broke US Federal Law! Kidnapping is an extremely serious offence in the US. I understand that the fact she is Japanese and all her uniqueness is important but it don't mean diddly squat in US justice system. The fact that she basically dismissed the court as irrelevant is almost laughable. I guess she felt she had a sort of diplomatic immunity and need not apply lol. Now if a foreigner had done this in reverse the Japanese government would be demanding his extradition. Double standards to the extreme indeed. If this was among a Japanese Husband and Wife it would have barely been a blip on the radar. How does Japan ever expect to have normalized relations with the International Community, US if it doesn't respect it's laws and treaties among it's member states.

Over 125 Japanese Americans have been abducted and not one has ever been returned. How utterly shameful this is even for the Japanese. You would think we were dealing with a third world country here as would expect how they would act. It one thing to be Xenophobic but it is quite another when that is used to hurt or cause pain to others even beyond it's borders. The fact that this women stated that she was afraid her kids were becoming to "American" and loosing their "Japanese Heritage." If this is why she got divorced she is a smaller human being then I first gave her credit for. Japan knows absolutely nothing about the US period!! If anything we honor cultural diversity and heritage more then they do. Family is just as important if not more so then in Japan. This is obviously clear from the Japanese warped since of responsibility even after a divorce. Never use your kids for a personal vendetta or hatred.

It's not their fault and the kinds welfare should always be a top priority. So stop feeding lies and propaganda about US which is untrue. How can Japan expect the US to support North Korean abductions when Japan itself hasn't addressed it's own abduction cases. I think Japan-US can find common ground on these issues but not without changes. If transparency is to be achieved as Mr. Hatoyama has stated. Then both countries need to end it's decades of bureaucratic nonsense which has done neither country any good. In closing if you really have to have a J-girl though. Just stick with the ones from your own country. At least less chance of being lost in translation.

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If this was among a Japanese Husband and Wife it would have barely been a blip on the radar.

They are both Japanese nationals.

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michaelqtodd

I wonder if the Judge in Tennessee still believes that full custody for him is appropriate after he did that!

Huh? After he did what? All he did was take his kids to the American consulate because he has been given full custody of them in an American court. He did not need the woman's permission. She is the one that violated court orders.

He showed no consideration for his children`s welfare whatsoever.

It is so easy to criticize like this, but if he did nothing, or if he relied on the Japanese system (same as doing nothing), then we could more truly say "He showed no consideration for his children's welfare".

I think the man has done nothing wrong at all. Sure I agree with all those saying that both of them are fools. But that is why the civil courts are there to arbitrate -- when people are too stupid and too selfish to work things out together.

Now, if these two are reading this thread, I hope they realize the general consensus is that they are both extremely self-centered and both have already caused harm to their own children. If they have any brains and half a heart, they would now get together by themselves and sort things out fairly and rationally. Maybe they could get some more good advice from JT readers along the way. lol.

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ReikiZen says -

Over 125 Japanese Americans have been abducted and not one has ever been returned.

American parent says the kids are American, but Japanese parent says the kids are Japanese. Technically, they're both right as those kids have dual citizenship. I wonder what the kids primary language was.. and since they lived in Japan and went to school in Japan for a long time before moving to the U.S. in 2008, their habitual country should be Japan??? If only the father could stay in Japan to be near the kids, that would have been better.. but then, he has a new wife and her kids.. ugh!!!!!

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Truth is coming out now. As I suspected all along the guy Christopher is a shocker "In a hostile e-mail from Christopher Savoie that was entered into the court record, he called her an "idiot" and accused her of "poisoning the children against me." http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20091002p2g00m0dm004000c.html Nice guy!! When she is looking after his kids 12 days out of 14 in a place she does not want to be in. Where is the love y`all? Japanese women may be all fun and games at the start but part of the difference that makes them fun also has a down side. I have counselled several that had a very difficult time living overseas.And that was without even being trapped or single. Noriko was not like an American living in America. Guys please be careful and if you do decide to marry and have kids and take your Japanese wife back home you HAVE to treat her different.You have to be there for her in a very different way than you have to be there for a western wife or this kind of shit will keep hitting the fan.

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For Chris S. to drag his wife to the US and divorce her so soon and then to remarry so quickly and then to isolate her and have a nice family of his own with the new wife and to have her children playing with his new family`s children, as a family, without her is a bit much for anyone, especially in a foreign culture. That is not nice to do to someone you have loved. I feel for her.

this

even when i first read this story, and was inclined to feel sorry for another story of a parent who loses the right to see their children in Japan, i felt sympathy for Noriko.

and the more i read about this tale, the more i feel for her.

she got a crappy deal, was lonely and frustrated in a foreign country with the person she was married to for so many years having a great time with a new wife & family- while she had nothing.

it seems like her ex tried to manipulate things to be comfortable for himself, without caring what it did to her.

another thing- the new American wife was on tv, crying about her children and the new step-siblings being separated. it really rubbed me the wrong way. she has no right to those children, and needs to back off. worry about your hubby & kids, dear. those other kids already have a mother.

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corinnajune. she got a crappy deal?? she got 800,000$... according to the court transcript she knew that he was going to divorce her before she went to the states. i wonder why she went then

the reality is he wouldnt have had any access rights to the kids if hed stayed in japan so save your sympathy

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I'm moving to the side of the ex wife too. It's amazing that I and (probably) others were willing to jump to the conclusion that the ex-wife was in the wrong. But really, why should a mother be forced to live in a foreign country just to keep her own kids? Who the hell do those US courts think they are? Do they really think they rule the world?

Unfortunately, when a multicultural marriage splits up there will always be problems with access to the kids (or in some cases, to the pets.) But who does this man think he is to expect his ex-wife to live within a convenient distance of him so that he can see his kids without having the responsibility? And does anyone here really think his kids weren't disturbed when daddy suddenly got new children to love? When he couldn't be bothered to stay with his own kids and their mum? For anyone who hasn't experienced it, it's most unpleasant to have a bunch of other kids calling your dad their own, (and because they live with him they act as though they have more right to him than you.)

The set-up in the US may have looked good on paper, and may have been nice for the man, but for the kids it wasn't so good. It wasn't good for the ex either, being forced to live in America like a good doormat. Would an American woman tolerate being forced to move to Japan just so her kids could have visits from their father?

These kids were and are Japanese. I don't know how good their English is, but they've lived in Japan almost all their lives, probably both were born here, and being uprooted because daddy refused to part with a penny until his kids were on his soil was totally unfair to them. He seems to be a completely selfish man, wants to have his cake and eat everyone else's.

But couldn't she have divorced him here? I suppose if they weren't married here they'd have to be divorced in the country they got married in, but couldn't she have done it from here? (It might have saved all this trouble if she had.)

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dammit

I'm moving to the side of the ex wife too. It's amazing that I and (probably) others were willing to jump to the conclusion that the ex-wife was in the wrong.

Why take sides when both of them are selfish fools? You now have written up some points for us to feel sorry for the woman, but she did get an $800,000 (with additional monthly payments) divorce settlement. If she gladly takes that money awarded to her by courts, then she also needs to abide by other court instructions. She could have made adjustments in other ways, with frequent trips to Japan or whatever.

Yet I'll agree the man seems to be a selfish manipulative creep. He seems to think that he has a right to control the woman's life even after the divorce, because of his financial contribution.

Neither of them deserve too much sympathy in my opinion. How embarrassing to show the whole world how stupid and selfish you are, and then expect people to sympathize. I'm glad I don't know these people and if I were friends with them, I would give them both the butt-kicking they deserve.

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@flyingfish and @dammit I think it is clear that she went to the States to get money (which is not unreasonable when you have devoted 10 years to bringing up kids and have another 14 or so to go).If they divorced in Japan Christopher would presumably have been able to escape paying her anything. So things were complicated. I for one would be in favour of giving him internet access in his cell so he can have his say on here as most of us have been giving him a fairly hard time. He deserves some right of reply. If the Japanese court does let him off with say only a year or so jail time they would be opening the floodgates for moreof this shocking behaviour.Its a difficult balancing act for sure. Move over Kramer v Kramer

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Oh, please. Japanese domestic law is ineffective in shielding Japanese women and their children from abusive Japanese husbands. This argument is a red herring.

I.e., if anyone's going to be abuse our Japanese women, it should be us Japanese.

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While the U.S. State Dept. official stance on dual citizenship is that it's unacceptable, it doesn't actively enforce the rule.

Not quite true, LFRA.

From the state dept page

The U.S. Government recognizes that dual nationality exists but does not encourage it as a matter of policy because of the problems it may cause.

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Classic Nigelboy post. Bile: It's what's for dinner!

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Everyone seems to have missed the point. In Japan you have absolutely no rights to see your kids or receive support from the authorities. Especially if youre a NJ. Bringing children back to Japan after a divorce would be more acceptable if the Japanese parent actually kept their side of the deal. These actions are done with the intent to hide the kids from the foreign parent. Its very obvious. Just look at the laws in Japan and the countless cases that are ongoing regarding Japanese abduction. Nothing is ever settled. Some fathers have been fighting for over a decade. Kids wouldn`t even know who he is. Ridiculous! I hope there are mass protests to get these lazy foreign bureaucrats off their butts and fix this problem once and for all. Enough!!!

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tetsukon Now he expects his ex-wife to live as a single mother in small town in a foreign country where she knows no one except her ex-husband. Her job prospects probably top out at shelf stacking at Wallmart. I guess his new wife wouldn't be prepared to move to a foreign country so he could be with his kids.

According to the Associated Press, Miss Noriko received $800,000 tax free from Savoie in their divorce settlement. If she was married to him for 8 years as you claim, then she was also entitled to alimony (in addition to the child support she was already receiving). We can only assume what that amount might have been based on his prominent position as Chief Executive Officer of a company that holds a major contract with Blackberry.

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I should also mention that she stood to gain much more by divorcing in the US than she would have ever hoped to receive in Japan.

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Calling your ex wife an idiot i thought was the natural therapeutic path after a divorce. However, if she is in fact poisoning the kids' mind against him then that is not such an unreasonable course under the circumstances. After all, what does this guy expect? He wants all the fun and games but is not willing to pay a price.

This guy probably got tired of that Japanese "honey" and wanted something with more life and abandonment. The path to a Japanese wife is littered with miscalculations and fantasies about the ever after, only to find that she is patently predictable and boring.

Picking a compatible Japanese wife is a more complicated process than most western men think. It is only after a minimum of two years of strong dating, that includes countless walks along the gauntlet of physical and emotional interaction before one should decide.

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He's Japanese and therefore should follow the rules of his country. American law has nothing to do with this case. All 4 are Japanese.

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This case gets screwier by the minute. I wondered why the woman went to the US in the first place but it seems she just went so she could lots money from their divorce. Then she figured she could take the kids back to Japan with her. In other words, she wanted to have her cake and eat it too. The man doesn't exactly sound like an angel either; coming to Japan and trying to nab his kids back. They were both manipulative and only thinking of themselves. If compromises had been made earlier, this situation wouldn't be the mess it is now.

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michaelqtodd,

You apparently don’t understand the reason for my frustration with your position. You seem to be holding each parent to different standards, and I'm trying to understand why.

Let me ask you this: What if -- and this is obviously a hypothetical question -- what if the mother had failed to get her children out of the United States and was apprehended by U.S. authorities? Do you then believe she would also deserve a 10-year prison sentence for her actions?

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Wolfpack,

The largest concentration of Japanese nationals living in a single city outside of Japan is ranked as such, according to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

1) New York with 47,549

Followed by . . . 2) Shangai 3) Los Angeles 4) Hong Kong 5) Bangkok

Cities in Tennessee don’t even crack the Top 50.

http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaJ/toko/tokei/hojin/05/pdfs/2.pdf Very last page of the document

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1)Jusrisdiction of the divorce goes to Japan, divorce is agreed to by both parties and signed at the ward office. 2)Japanese Court accepts Tennessee Courts ruling on joint custody and parenting plan, but with some changes 3)Children habitual residence is Japan 4)Noriko agrees to put a bond on each of the children to ensure Chris' visitation rights, whereas Noriko's visitation rights to Japan now become Chris' visitation rights to the US. Noriko will also agree to give Chris and his family unlimited access to his children whenever he visits Japan 5)Chris' alimony is reduced to $200,000.00 6) Tennessee courts agree to accept the new arrangement under the condition Japanese Courts agree to never alter the parenting plan without their approval and vice-versa 7) Noriko agrees to counseling to help her accept and understand the role of Chris' new family 8)The children return to the US with Chris to say goodbye to their family and friends 9)Chris gets a get out of jail free card

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igotchu

it would be nice fairy story. you forget he is japanese japan not signatory to hague convention

tennessee courts ruling seen as irrelevant here if they accept it then this would set a precedent they dont want to set

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igotchu-- seems fair. Shame both these people are too self-centered to agree. I say they get one kid each and agree to never contact each other ever again.

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This has nothing to do with the Hague. Japanese courts will simply consult with Tennessee courts on the parenting plan. They have in the past looked at laws from other states and referred to them in their rulings. I'm advocating both courts talk with each other to settle this. I believe the two courts can make an agreement to respect both courts ruling.

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Here's a group on this topic: http://metropolis.co.jp/community/groups/child-abduction-in-japan

Looks there will be some kind of support rally coming up soon as well.

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Reicheru, the $800,000 payout is new information which explains why she was prepared to travel to the US in the first place. The rest of my points stand, he was selfishly expecting to get divorced, move overseas (J->USA) and expect his ex-wife and children to follow him and live in a foreign country.

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"Selfish"

"Idiots"

"Self-centered"

"Cruel"

Posters here throw these words out with nary a thought, but it doesn't eleminate the basic truth that both parents are fighting for their children. There can be no stronger instinctual imperative than that beyond the one for self-preservation. Divorces involving children are always ugly because of this, and rarely, if ever, is any one parent on the side of angels.

Which brings us right back to square one.

Noriko violated court orders, divorce agreements, and a bond of trust as far as the children are concerned by abducting the children first.

Anything else is irrelevant.

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From other news article:

Savoie has since remarried. His wife, Amy, told CBS's "The Early Show," that Noriko was not letting the children talk to him on the telephone after she took them to Japan. Amy said she doesn't know if she and her husband would ever see the children again.

"We hope if she (Noriko) is granted custody over there, that they will come and find us when they are in their 20s. Maybe and come see that we still love them," she said.

Why is the new wife butting in like this? I read someplace else that Noriko was complaining that the new wife was coming along on Chris's visitations. Isn't that an extremely insensitive thing to do? Surely Noriko has no obligation to have a relationship with the new wife.

It appears that Chris was treating Noriko like some kind of used mistress-servant. But then again it was up to Noriko to assert herself, with the help of friends, counsellors or even the courts.

Neither of them seems to have made any effort at building communication and trust, so no wonder their marriage failed. And does Chris expect his new marriage to be much different? Hardly likely.

These people don't get any of my sympathy. They have made themselves a laughing stock, parading their selfishness out in the open like this. Yet of course tragically they are hurting their children, right before the eyes of the world. Divorce does not get much more pathetic than this.

Still, look on the bright side. Many JT readers have offered good insights and the case does raise interesting issues.

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Many questions remain that this article fails to cover. First, I heard he was arrested outside the United States Consulate. Just what was the official function of the officials that apprehended him in front of the consulate? Also, was it upon his attempted entry? His surrender after making contact? Don’t even tell me that the Japanese officials that replaced the MAR-DET to guard the officials representing the United States of America intervened and prevented him entry after receiving external orders? Do you hope? More details are truly needed…judgment for sure my sell out cake eating rich socialist clout pretending Siberian oil eaters beezzzzzzzzz.......Ha-ha-ha!!!!

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For interesting insights go here! 179 comments mostly made before Christopher came to Japan including some from his new wife Amy.Some of the most fascinating Japan bashing and ignorance you are ever likely to behold http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/story.asp?S=11171461

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Court reports(testimony).Show an almost total lack of empathy by Christopher for Noriko. http://wtvf.images.worldnow.com/images/incoming/Investigates/savoie2.pdf

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the basic truth that both parents are fighting for their children

No, they are fighting over their children.

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Why not, Nigelboy? What makes you think Noriko Savoie and her family members will be any better at raising those children? Is it simply because they're Japanese? If so, why? If that's your only reason for taking the mother's side (Noriko and her family's ethic background), and if you don't know the two parties personally, then you have no case.

@Masswipe

And you think being raised by a two timing dad and his partner in crime along with her three children is? How do you think the kids are going to feel knowing that they live under the same roof of a woman that caused all the grief to their mother? Let by gones be by gones? Water under the bridge?

The problem I find most of the U.S. courts is that they automatically assume having both parents are for the "best interest of a child" without taking consideration of such scenario. Granted the court did not have the alternative solution after Noriko broke the court order but binding a foreign spouse nearby just so that the other home town spouse can have access to the kids is a receipe for disaster.

And if you're going to expose your own ignorance and bigotry by referring to a place in Tennessee that you probably know NOTHING about as "Hicktown", then (as Whitehawk nicely showed) a lot of people have nothing to discuss with you, either.

Whitehawk showed jack. The only point he made was that possibly Tennessee was better than Mississippi, Alabama, or Arkansas.

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michaelqtodd:

Very good links, thanks!

http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/story.asp?S=11171461

Reading that stuff, including the new wife (old flame) Amy who talks about Noriko's children as if they are hers... ugh!!!

And Chris tells his 8 year old son in Japan "get to an embassy". No wonder they did not want him on the phone after that.

I am beginning to think Noriko is lucky to have gotten rid of this creepy guy. But, hey, she married him. Was it worth $800,000?

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There is no easy solution to this. Both parents want the kids to live in the parents' own respective countries. Both parents can't seem to live together or share the kids. Why should one be more entitled to have the kids than the other? So, it turns into this nightmare for all involved. If you are considering an international marriage, make sure you think hard about where you want to live 10, 20, 50 years later. It may not seem so important when everything is rosy and you spend all day in each other's arms. It's difficult for many people to say that they'd like to live forever in a country other than the one they were born in. Forever is a long time.

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Nigelboy, don't prattle on about places you don't know. If you're taking Noriko Savoie's side here because she is Japanese and nothing else (which I suspect), just admit it. You're basically no different from Japanophobes siding with the father because his ex-wife IS Japanese.

Some posters have gotten it right: taking sides in this case is foolish.

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I wonder if most people posting here even have kids ?

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I'm sorry, but I'm not going to automatically side with Noriko here just because some people have inferred that she was the victim of a "two-timing" husband. Has anyone paid attention to the email Christopher presented to the judge?

“It’s very difficult to watch kids becoming American and losing Japanese identity,” she wrote. “I am at the edge of the cliff. I cannot hold it anymore if you keep bothering me.”

That does not sound to me like the words of a woman who only wants to be a loving mother to her children and see them in a loving home. That sounds to me like a Japanese woman who wants to make her Japanese/American children into Japanese clones of herself, and the best way to do that is to raise them in Japan. I'm sorry, but that doesn't fly with me. Her words and subsequent actions smack of the infamous Japanese xenophobic isolationism that has haunted the archipelago for centuries.

The children deserve to grow up understanding and displaying BOTH sides of their cultural identity -- the American and the Japanese -- without one being made to feel inferior to the other. If Noriko didn't want them to lose their Japanese identity, then she should reinforce that identity at home. The courts had already shown a willingness to allow the children to continue to experience their Japanese heritage by permitting Noriko to take them on vacation there despite the flight risk that exists because of Japan's lack of international custody regulations. It's not like anyone slapped a restraining order on her right to teach her children the pride of their lineage.

What I see here is a woman who was unhappy having to live in the United States, didn't want to stay, and didn't want to shuttle back and forth to see her kids. So instead of doing what a good parent would do -- which is abide by the court's ruling, suck it up and deal with it on behalf of her children -- she selfishly chose to flee the country and return to her own home with her children illegally in tow. Sorry, no. Being a parent isn't easy, and sometimes you have to make painful or difficult sacrifices for your children. In this case, Noriko's sacrifice was living in the United States instead of her native Japan, at least until the children were adults. If you're not prepared to make those kinds of sacrifices, then you aren't prepared to be a parent.

Look, I don't think Mr. Savoie walks on water, and I think these children are going to get a raw deal regardless of where they live because divorce sucks, period. But by taking the children and absconding from the country like some thief in the night, Noriko has done nothing but make herself look like a selfish, narcissistic harpy and put her children's welfare through a cheese grater. If she had a genuine, legitimate reason for taking the children -- if she feared for their safety, for instance -- then I might have some sympathy for her. As it stands right now, I have none.

Why is the new wife butting in like this? I read someplace else that Noriko was complaining that the new wife was coming along on Chris's visitations. Isn't that an extremely insensitive thing to do? Surely Noriko has no obligation to have a relationship with the new wife.

What's wrong with Mr. Savoie's new wife taking an interest in his children? You'd prefer she was a wicked stepmother who tried to feed them poison apples? Mr. Savoie's interactions with his children after the divorce were just that -- his interactions WITH HIS CHILDREN. We aren't talking about some kind of monitored visitation that requires the primary custodial parent to remain with the children when the other parent is visiting, as would be the case in a situation where there was a risk to the children's health, safety or well-being, or a flight risk on the part of the visiting parent (talk about irony in this case). Noriko's only role during Mr. Savoie's time with his children would have been to shepherd the children into his care and then pick them up again when it was her turn to take them back. No one said she has to try and make small talk with the new wife. No one said she even has to acknowledge the other woman's presence if she doesn't want to. But the new Mrs. Savoie has every right to meet her husband's children, and they have every right to spend time with her. Does that mean they're going to become as close as blood relatives and love each other like biological parent and child? No. But that doesn't mean they WON'T, either.

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Lot of posters with a lot of free time heh....

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Masswipe

Just answer the question I provided at 11:01 PM JST - 2nd October

If you're taking Noriko Savoie's side here because she is Japanese and nothing else

Read my post at 12:39 AM JST - 2nd October

And it has also come to light that Noriko agreed to reside in Tennessee on the grounds that they would try to patch things out which is completely opposite from what the court had interpreted.

"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."

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

"Court records and conversations with a friend, Miiko Crafton, make it clear that Noriko Savoie was hurt and angry from the divorce and chafing at the cultural differences."

"Crafton, a native of Japan who befriended Noriko Savoie during her short time in Tennessee, said her friend tried to get a divorce while the couple still lived in Japan, but her husband had refused and later persuaded her to move to the U.S. with the children."

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

Yep. The day after Noriko and her two kids arrive, she's served with the divorce paper. Wow. No minimum residency period required for jurisdiction? Oh. I forgot. This is Franklin, TN court, the most advanced region in the U.S. Did I also mention the fact that he was already shacking up with his mistress? Wow. No mention in the CNN press nor their hometown news coverage because face it, they already decided the "he's a hero" angle. And the courts? Adultry is irrelevant according to them. Yep. Him flying off to TN to be with his mistress and leaving his current wife and kids has nothing to do with his devotion and love to the children. That's Franklin court for ya. Did I mention the fact that the two kids have never lived outside Japan when they arrived in TN? Imagine how the kids felt when their mother started to cry after she was served with those papers while they were still unpacking. And according to court docs, Noriko was in TN under permanent residency. In order for that to happen, it's Christopher that has to petition Noriko(I-130)under CR1 (spousal) in order for the residency to be approved. Yep. It turns out that Christopher petition for the SPOUSAL visa so Noriko could come to TN so that he could serve her the DIVORCE paper.

And you still think I'm taking Noriko Savoie's side here because she is Japanese.

@mnemosyne23

What's wrong with Mr. Savoie's new wife taking an interest in his children?

You mean,

"What's wrong with the former mistress who happens to be the cause of Mommy's saddness/anger/despaire taking an interest in his children?"

Why don't you ask the children after the truth has been revealed if it's not revealed already? Better yet, just pull their teeth out without using any sedative. The pain is less.

Please. You make "Desparate Housewives" households seem normal.

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Part of "taking an interest in" the new husband's children should surely include showing some sensitivity to their freshly uprooted and tossed aside mother, with whom they were living most of the time. At least for the first couple of years.

"...I cannot hold it anymore if you keep bothering me.”

I wonder what that was referring to. Amy's coming around or Chris's taking all these emails to court, having their passports confiscated, trying to change the terms of the original agreement stating that the kids could travel to Japan for vacations, or something more.

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I also wonder what is going to happen with Chris's Japanese citizenship. While he has that, he can't simply be deported, but neither can he claim support of the US state department. AFAIK, to have gotten the J-nationality, he had to swear that he had given up all other nationalities. If he's claiming he is an American and it turns out he never did give that up, can his Japanese nationality be stripped from him? That would make it easy for him to be deported without any charges. (And I'm not sure what they could charge him with. Was there some pushing and shoving as he grabbed the kids from Noriko?)

In court proceedings regarding from Chris's attempt to prevent the pre-agreed vacation in Japan, the judge clarifies that Noriko realizes that if she absconds, she will not have access to the $800,000 which is being paid into the court. Anyone know how that works? Is it supposed to beslowly doled out to her over time?

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It appears her assets are not liquid, and its all in US Banks in the form of CD's, Time Deposits, Retirement Plans like (401k), bonds, etc. If she refuses to return to the US with the kids the judge freezes those accounts. She might have been able to liquidate everything when she came back from vacation, then took the cash and ran. She was coached and knew what she was doing. These Japanese attorneys are heartless in these cases.

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@Taj Reports in Japanese media and forums say that he drugged the kids when he grabbed them.Would that be enough for charges? The $800,000 is HER money.It is HER share of the businesses that the 2 of them built up over a 14 year partnership! Because of the need for working capital to stay in the business that by law SHE co-owned I guess it was being drip fed to her out of annual profits. Wow this incident has brought out some interesting attitudes and comments.Seems like some of us want a return to the dark ages where men control money,women and children and have multiple wives. As for some of the comments about Japan on the Tennessee newspaper website!Absolutely incrdible.

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michaelqtodd,

You still never answered my question:

What if the mother was apprehended by U.S. authorities before she could get the children out of the United States? Would you also demand a 10-year prision sentence for her illegal actions as well?

If you can't answer this simple question, then all of your supposed disgust and disdain for Christopher for trying to take the kids is highly suspect and biased.

Also, could you be so kind as to post the link to Japanese media reports of Christopher drugging the kids when he grabbed them? I'd like to see some evidence of another one of your more creative musings before you attempt to peddle it off as fact. And just for the record, no, blogs from Channel 2 do not constitute a reliable "media source."

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@LFRAgain Heard about the drugging reports in the media from a friend and also read comments about it on one of many threads and guess it will come out soon enough.As for the mother I think she was perfectly justified in her actions given the way she was being treated (and more and more of this is coming out-read the court testimony!). She did not forcefully grab the kids while they were on their way to school.That is my main complaint about his actions.There needs to be a deterrent to prevent others from doing this.In any case the maximum is 5 years.I hope he does this

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Tetsukon the $800,000 payout is new information which explains why she was prepared to travel to the US in the first place. The rest of my points stand, he was selfishly expecting to get divorced, move overseas (J->USA) and expect his ex-wife and children to follow him and live in a foreign country.

If the $800,000 settlement "explains why she was prepared to travel to the US," then this must mean that you are of the assumption that Noriko traveled to the US expecting for Savoie to file for divorce. If that was the case, then there was mutual knowledge of the divorce during this relocation. There was mutual benefit as well, so how was the arrangement "selfish" purely on Savoie's part?

[Noriko] tried to get a divorce while the couple still lived in Japan, but her husband had refused and later persuaded her to move to the U.S. with the children. -- Associated Press

It was Noriko who initially asked for a divorce and not Savoie.

There is a very real possibility that the couple's relocation to the US was done for the purpose of divorce. Noriko stood to gain far more financially if this divorce was filed in the US. Savoie stood to lose all rights to his children if the divorce was filed in Japan. The divorce agreement was beneficial to both parties and Noriko obtained more than enough money to live independently.

Also, nobody said that she could not move back to Japan. If she had made the proper custody/visitation arrangements she could have moved back to Japan if she wanted. But apparently $800,000, alimony, child support, and joint custody wasn't enough for her...

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This case is a sad tale, and the Children will bear most of the trauma and ill-effects. Christopher is kinda' low for playing around on his wife, and Noriko is narrow-minded and somewhat bigoted for taking her children to Japan on the fear that they were losing their Japanese cultural identity. Again, the children are the ones who are the losers. On top of that, because their father is American, it is likely they will never be truly accepted by Japanese society shoujld they stay here....unless, like Becky, Thelma Aoyama, and others, they become rich and famnous and totally give up their American/foreign identity...

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Reichuru, you make a good argument. We have no way of knowing what was going through the mother's mind. But even if what you say is true, it just shows why U.S. law doesn't let parents bargain on jurisdiction for child custody decisions.

I think the money is a separate issue. Whether $80 or $80 million was a fair split after 14 years of marriage, that split could have been made in Japan or the U.S. The money also benefits the children and is partly a reflection of her efforts anyway, so I think the idea of her getting some kind of windfall is misplaced.

Child custody issues must be decided in the children's home state, which in this case was Japan.

Maybe if they had waited six months for Tennessee to become the home state, like they should have, the mother could have settled in without dealing with the divorce proceedings, and this tragedy wouldn't have happened. We'll never know.

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michaelqtodd,

First, this speculation that the father “drugged” his children when he abducted them is just that: unsubstantiated speculation. So, how about we all stick to just the facts, rather than rumor mongering in order to make our position look stronger than it actually is?

As to your response, I read the court testimony, and while Christopher may indeed have been a selfish a-hole, something of which I have no doubt, there is nothing in Noriko's testimony that justifies the illegal -- and you can try to justify it in your mind any way you'd like, but yes, illegal -- abduction of the children. Your insistence that breaking a law in one country is justifiable, while breaking the same law in another is not is completely biased and irrational.

Your argument essentially posits that because Chris was a bastard to his ex-wife, she was within her right to take the kids and flee; in effect using the children as the most potent weapon possible in her efforts to exact justice for harsh treatment. In fact, Chris' fear of the children being taken from him was a point revisited time and time again during the court hearing to determine her sincerity in not trying to steal the children away to Japan. Time and time again, she swore she would not do any such thing.

So I'm forced, again, to question your sincerity when you initially claimed you were only worried about the welfare of the children, a position that has since shifted to making every effort to convince everyone that because he was a bad husband -- *not a bad father, mind you -- but a bad husband, he therefore had this coming. So I ask you this: What relationship whatsoever does the situation Chris and Noriko had as husband and wife have to do with either of their ability as parents?

If the welfare of children is the most important thing here, then Noriko could very well have traveled to Japan alone for an emotional regrouping, then returned to deal with the situation. Or she could have persevered in the U.S. legal system that DOES allow for divorced parents to reach an amicable solution to the problem, something that, according to news reports and court documents, had been reached.

Noriko received primary custody of the children. She received $800,000 in alimony.

And she promised the court multiple times under oath that she wouldn’t take the children.

But instead, through deception, she took the children and fled the country. Yes, this woman who before a judge, extolled the personal virtues and value of honesty, lied to the stepmother with the express purpose of spiriting the children out of the country. And she did so knowing full well that she would be taking them a nation that DOES NOT recognize the rights of both parents in a divorce situation.

The stickler for you seems to be that he grabbed his kids and forced them into the car. And I can imagine force would have been necessary. After all, with the mother having stole the children in secrecy to country that Chris would possess no legal rights whatsoever, what other choice did he have?

But let’s take a moment to clear up the waters you’ve muddied with your rhetoric: The force he exerted wasn’t against the children, and we all know that perfectly well. The forced that was used was against a person who had stolen his children.

Here’s another question: If Chris’s children had been abducted by, say, an unknown woman who wanted to raise the children as her own, and Chris had every expectation of never seeing those children again, would you take equal exception with his efforts to recover those children, even if exerting force was called for? Can I assume you’d be as outraged if he pulled the children violently from the would-be abductor’s arms?

It seems that for all your concern for the welfare of children, you are strikingly short in a basic understanding of what lengths a parent will go to in order to protect their child.

Meanwhile, you try very hard to present your argument as fair and reasoned, but at the very heart it all, all you have been saying for the past few days is that because Chris Savoie was a bastard of a husband, he deserves to be punished as a father. That -- and that alone -- is the crux of your argument.

Which means the children you profess such concern for are relegated to having to go along for the ride, while mom works out her issues with dad. They’ve effectively been robbed of any voice whatsoever in this. And they’ve been robbed of any rights THEY have to continue what up until now has been a wonderful relationship with their father. And this, in the vernacular, is utter bullshit.

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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.

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michaelgtodd, perhaps you've mistaken my stance above. Several people have been implying the mother went to the US purely for money and once she got it she took the kids and ran. I posted information from the courts as they appear to dispel that. It would appear she gave up the money (which was presumably well-earned) for the sake of her own mental health.

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DVW and IGotchu have some very intelligent posts here on this subject; http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/american-arrested-in-fukuoka-for-kidnapping-own-kids-from-ex-wife#comments Very good reading.

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it's crap this like that makes me never want to marry a japanese women.

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ganjaa, that is one of the reasons I didn't....

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mnemosyne23: Thanks for your response to my wondering about the new wife's (Amy's) role in this. Frankly, I was shocked to know that Chris would bring her along on the visitations even though Noriko objected. And then reading Amy's posts in which she blabbered about how much she "loved" the children (whom she had only known for 1 year during such visitations), well, I thought she must be out of her mind. And yet I did hesitate because maybe this is some kind of American custom in divorce? But I cannot see why on earth Noriko should be forced to endure a relationship with the new wife, that includes the new wife considering Noriko's children as her own. So please you or anyone straigten me out on this.

What's wrong with Mr. Savoie's new wife taking an interest in his children? You'd prefer she was a wicked stepmother who tried to feed them poison apples?

No, I would prefer that she had nothing to do with them. Chris is the one who has visitation priveleges. If he had any sense, he would know that he should not involve his new wife in the interactions with Noriko's children.

Mr. Savoie's interactions with his children after the divorce were just that -- his interactions WITH HIS CHILDREN. We aren't talking about some kind of monitored visitation that requires the primary custodial parent to remain with the children when the other parent is visiting...

I thought it would be common sense that the purpose of visitations is for Chris to be with his children -- NOT for him to attempt to make the children part of his new family. Only in the rare case where a divorced wife actually is friends with the new wife would this be appropriate.

Otherwise it is outrageous behavior, and extremely abusive. Looking at the local news Forum, I see that Chris began stirring up stuff even before Noriko left for Japan, with his new wife Amy contributing her public posts, going on and on about how she "loved" the children , etc. That disgusted me. Normally, such a person would have "respect" for those children -- it is clear that she and Chris were plotting all along to gain custody. Initially the court gave custody to Noriko, and after that they hatched their plots, and made life miserable for Noriko.

Noriko's mistake was to write in an email that she could not take it any longer, and wanted to return to Japan. That was used by Chris and Amy as evidence for them to gain custody of the children.

My main question is whether or not Noriko was then justified in complaining about Amy's role in the visitations, or if this is normal in American divorces.

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Let this guy go! It is not fair that they hold him. She violated the rules, not him. The Japanese government only sees her has the parent. What BULL! She is not the Virgin Mary. He is the father. They do not arrest parents for abducting their children here. So why should he be arrested? They are legally still married here. that is what the Japanese government said. But because he is a flight risk with his kids they arrest him. Read this carefully! Parents are not arrested for taking their kids here unless the court has said that one person should take full responsibility. Since they are not seen as divorced by Japanese law than he did not did not do anything at wrong at all It is just protecting Japanese people. It does not matter if it is wrong or right. It is just to protect Japanese people. Now, you can all call foul, but most of you do not know what a divorce is like for the man here. I do. I went through it. The woman was violent and it was well documented and she still got the child. He grow to be a very bad guy. I read the transcripts of the divorce. Here is what I read.

One. He had asked for a divorce for quite a long time before going back to Tennesse. Two. Did not want to do it here because he would have no rights. Three. She had scared him many times that she would go back to Japan and leave him screwed if he did not do what she wanted, EXACTLY. Four. When questioned by his lawyer about her settling down in the states she said that she was waiting for the housing market to get better. BULL! It does not get any better than it is now. She had so much time to find a house and the market for buying a house was excellent beyond belief. She could not even provide the full name of a realtor. Therefore she was not even thinking about staying. She was lying. She actually said that if they were to divorce in Japan that the Hague treaty would not apply to him and he would have benefits because he is Japanese. the judge actually paused and said that he felt that that was not the right statement to make if she was actually planning to keep her children near their father and why was she even bringing that up?. He was actually suspicious but she seemed to have charmed him enough. Read the transcripts. He is wrong, aggressive and a control freak, but she was devious. She had a motive. Get the 800,000 dollars and other assets, then skip out and leave town. I feel so sorry for this guy, I lost a child to an insensitive mother as well. No matter how hard I tried the Japanese court screwed me over. This woman was violent and they still let her have my son. He grow up to be someone who arrested more than ten times before he became an adult. This is the time that people in this country need to state that just because you are Japanese, does not give you the right to take our children. Because you are just as foulable as we are. Stop protecting your people so much. It is so funny. Noripi, her father was on the Yakuza. Her brother was too. But the Japanese media was such wussy that they never ever put this out in the media. When you become famous here, just like in any other country the things that you have done or who your family easy is easily accessed by the media. But if you are someone that everyone loves than, the media stays away from that. they do not report it. Think about it, Her father and brother were in the Yakuza and we never heard about it. That is such bull. they knew about it but did not tell anyone. They did not want to be looked as iconoclastic. When Noripi got busted they wrote things about her that they knew had been going on for a long time. Here is the thing. This story about the American father who RIGHTFULLY tried to take his kids back has recieved so little media attention. WHY? The Japanese police arrested him for what?????????? News agency were alerted to this story and they said that they would not report it because it was not a story. hahahahaha What if he had been successful? It would be MAJOR NEWS. Big time. In big screaming letters. All across the news, day after day. newscast after newscast. The poor Japanese who was victimized. But how much airplay does one get when they have been victimized by the Japanese? ONE MINUTE. Can you believe that he did not do anything wrong by anyone and he is the one in jail? She was told by a judge NOT TO TAKE THE CHILDREN OUT OF THE COUTRY. She ignored that. Collecting her money was her original intention and fled. Why else would she agree to getting a divorce in another country that would give her 50 percent of the assests? DUH? 800,000 dollars. In Japan She would not get that.,And the Japanese government said it is okay to violate another country's well educated judge who thought that it would not be in the best interest of the children to not be taken away from their father. . Ohhhhhh, but let us violate your laws and it is not news but when we do the same thing then we have a big story of how unfair other countries are. Your laws are not what everyone goes by. It is not that everything that you think is the correct way. You are not the only ones to be victims and guess what? You often make yourselves the victims but in reality you are also the criminals. You often commit many crimes. When Japanese commit crimes your news services hardly ever covers it but when a foreigner commits a crime against you? It is front page news, The largest producer of child sex tapes comes from where? Not the U.S. Not, Canada. Right here, JAPAN. Listen here, Japanese people, you can not have your cake and eat it too. It is not fair that you have not signed the Hague treaty. It only works in YOUR BEHALF.

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Reicheru, your points were refuted before you even made them, if you had bothered to read them. Noriko was tricked into moving to America thinking they were going to try to patch up the marriage, she then discovers her husband is living with another woman and is served with divorce papers.

Also, nobody said that she could not move back to Japan

The Savoie was aware she wanted to go back and tried to stop her taking the children. Do you seriously think he wanted sole custody?

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LFRAgain

Meanwhile, you try very hard to present your argument as fair and reasoned, but at the very heart it all, all you have been saying for the past few days is that because Chris Savoie was a bastard of a husband, he deserves to be punished as a father. That -- and that alone -- is the crux of your argument.

You are ignoring the fact that Noriko and the two children have had no relationship with America, the children possibly could have been dual citizens. These three people are being expected to live in a foreign country simply because Savioe wanted to start a new life with a new wife.

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Noriko was not tricked into moving there, She knew there were problems before she even got there. She knew that he wanted a divorce. She knew that if she was in a Tennesse court that she would get so much more that a Tokyo court would give her. Where did you (tetsukon) get the info that she did not know? She went there for THE MONEY. She got it. Lied for it. And then ran off with it. Come on. Give me a break. Stop with this "Japanese are pure" mentality. You are just siding with her because you are Japanese and or a woman, therefore he is a bastard.

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And enough about this talk about "Amy". If Noriko had found a husband then I doubt so many of you would be bickering or screaming foul. But just because he is a guy and happened to be in love with someone else before his ex-wife was, then everyone calls "Foul". Give me a break. They were separated for a very long time. You can not stop love. He was not in love with her. He was in love with someone else. How can you blame him? They had been separated for a long time and he wanted a divorce for a long time. There is nothing wrong with that. Although his timing might not have been the best, but it is just reality. He had not been in love for a long time. She knew it for a long time. Enough. He is not the animal that you all want to make him. He just fell out of love. And she knew it.

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tetsukon Noriko was tricked into moving to America thinking they were going to try to patch up the marriage,

Where has it been claimed, outside of unsubstantiated user comments and conjecture, that Noriko moved to the US on the basis of trying to "patch up the marriage"? Noriko asked for a divorce while they were living in Japan, but Savoie refused to place his stamp on the papers. It is equally possible that they relocated to the US on the basis of having the divorce filed there, because Savoie would not agree to one otherwise.

If you were so dissatisfied with your marriage that you wanted a divorce, would you attempt to "patch it up" by making an unnecessary move to your spouse's home country? Would you add to the existing problems in your marriage by uprooting your children from all they new, isolating yourself from all the family and friends you know, with all the stresses that entails? There was definitely something else going on here.

tetsukon she then discovers her husband is living with another woman and is served with divorce papers.

Once again, where is your source for this information? The Associated Press merely stated that Savoie was living with another woman before the divorce was finalized. This is not unusual. Divorces take time, especially when there are custody, alimony, and community property issues this complex involved.

Could it be that Noriko asked for a divorce because Savoie was having an affair? Yes. Do we know if that was the reason? No. There has been no timeline provided to us as to when they agreed on a divorce, or why either of them decided that a divorce was necessary. We do not know when Savoie initiated the relationship with his present wife.

There is no fault divorce in the US, so all of this is irrelevant, and in no way justifies Noriko's final decision to flee the country with the children.

tetsukon Savoie was aware she wanted to go back and tried to stop her taking the children. Do you seriously think he wanted sole custody?

Do I think that he wanted sole custody? Well, Savoie did hop a plane to Japan in order to take back his kids. But what he wanted does not matter. What matters is that he abided by the custody agreement. His ex-wife broke it.

To my understanding, Noriko was awarded primary physical custody of the children. If Noriko wanted to move back to Japan with the children, no court would have stopped her. They would have simply made revisions to the custody and visitation arrangements of both parents before giving her permission.

What Savoie wanted to stop was Noriko absconding with the children and violating the custody agreement, cutting off all contact/association with their father. We now know that he wasn't unjustified in those concerns.

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tetsukon rubbish

she clearly states in the court testimony that she knew her husband was going to divorce her before she went to america

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She was coached and knew what she was doing. These Japanese attorneys are heartless in these cases.

Attorneys are not usually paid to have heart.

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tetsukon,

As other posters here and court documents have made clear, at no point was Noriko tricked into coming to the United States for the divorce. The divorce was something that both parties had agreed upon while in Japan, but Chris refused to do in Japan due to the realities involved in doing so in a nation that does not recognize dual parental rights. She knew perfectly well why she was coming to the U.S., and the divorce papers were in no way "sprung" upon her.

You are ignoring the fact that Noriko and the two children have had no relationship with America, the children possibly could have been dual citizens. These three people are being expected to live in a foreign country simply because Savioe wanted to start a new life with a new wife.

No, I'm not ignoring that. I'm not ignoring it any more than Noriko ignored the fact that she was marrying an American, something that would open up a world of possibilities, both good and bad, as a result of being in an international marriage.

The children, in the meantime, already possessed dual citizenship by virtue of having been born in Japan to a Japanese mother, and by having been born to an American father. U.S. immigration law (INA Section 301(g)) states that U.S. citizenship is automatically conferred to a child born to a married U.S. citizen anywhere in the world.

That these people, or more specifically, Noriko was expected to live in the United States, while certainly a difficult prospect, bears no more relevance here than me stating, “Chris Savoie was expected to simply give up any and all rights forever to children by allowing his wife to stay in Japan with them.

By having Noriko come to the U.S., Chris created the possibility that both parents would have an opportunity to be involved in the children’s lives. Noriko’s actions, on the other hand, effectively guaranteed that only she would enjoy that right.

Which brings us right back to the root of this problem, which is (with respect to Klein2’s argument) Japanese political and cultural resistance to being part of The Hague Convention, a step that would go a long way towards preventing just this sort of impossible situation.

As I've maintained all along, I truly believe that resistance to this Convention is rooted in not-so-subtle racism and a preconceived notion that regardless of dubious ability, intention, or sincerity of a Japanese parent (exclusive of Noriko specifically), he or she will always by virtue of simply being Japanese be perceived as the preferable parent over any foreign-born parent, e.g., a Japanese parent who beats his or her child is still vastly superior and preferable to a foreigner who showers a child with love.

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It is refreshing to see that so many on this forum can see beyond the skyscrapers, manicured nails and smart suits to understand that Japan is country with a quite a way to go before it truly shakes off the shackles of a pre-modern era that ended comparatively recently.

Many of the steps towards modernity that were taken by the Japanese government in the late 19th century and early 20th century were motivated by the avoidance of embarrassment in the eyes of European powers - a club of which Japan aspired and continues to aspire to be member. This is certainly the case for the regulation of pornography and prostitution, and many other unsavory industries which flourished in the Tokugawa era and continue to flourish beneath the surface in Japan today.

Understanding that the appearance of modernity in Japan is largely a veneer on what is essentially still a culturally feudal society perhaps allows us to understand why the less than subtle racism that has been commented on is apparent in numerous laws on the statue books today. Each would need to be challenged individually, and raised into the diplomatic spotlight firmly enough to cause national embarrassment before a change would be made. There is no desire for progressive legislation from within the Japanese political elite. And why should there be? Japan is without doubt a nation of superb engineers. However, it is not a western country, so perhaps it is inappropriate for us to expect it to function like one.

My heart goes out to Christopher. He obviously believes in marriage as a union of two loving partners. Very many Japanese women have little or no interest in current affairs, world politics and other subjects that educated western men like to discuss. Many prefer to sleep in separate beds or even separate rooms from their husbands. We don't know why their marriage broke down, but we do know that they were no longer in love and that Christopher did not want to simply take a mistress and continue a farcical marriage - which is the norm in this locality in this situation, I believe. For this he is to be commended. He is also a father determined to ensure that his children have a healthy and inclusive relationship with both of their parents – even if the exercise costs him a million dollars, or indeed his liberty. The same cannot be said of Noriko Savoie.

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Cicada,

I stopped by to see what additional news/information I could get on this case with no intention of commenting, but your post so disturbed me I felt compelled to respond, although not in as much detail as you might like. Although it is undeniable that the new wife would have created a somewhat uncomfortable situation with the ex-wife in the same room, she is part of the father's life and, consequently, the childrens'. I don't understand your line of thinking at all - it is as if you seem to believe that the husband has to somehow live two discreet lives or, worse, that his 'old' life bears no relation to the 'new' one. The new wife has every legal and emotional right to accept the children into her life as well. They are, after all, her step-children. Why would it be strange in any way for the new wife to love his kids?

No, I would prefer that she had nothing to do with them. Chris is the one who has visitation priveleges. If he had any sense, he would know that he should not involve his new wife in the interactions with Noriko's children.

They are not 'Noriko's children. They are Chis and Noriko's children. Where are you coming from, intellectually, not geographically, when you say that if he had any sense he wouldn't involve his new wife in the interactions with his children?? I would say precisely the opposite. He is their father and clearly wants to maintain a relationship with them and have them as part of his life. The only real concern would be if he wanted to deprive Noriko of contact with the kids. However, you seem to believe that these are Noriko's 'property' to which she has to forgo some rights?

The divorced wife should have no say in whether or not the children become part of the father's 'new' family or not unless she believes they are at risk of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Whether she is friendly with the new spouse or not is immaterial. Again, you seem to be looking upon children generally as property with certain ownership rights. I find this extremely disturbing.

Since you are speaking of 'Americans' as not part of your own identity, all I can ascertain is that you are not from the US. I am curious as to which geographical region you do identify with since it is common in Europe, including England, Australia, and New Zealand at least for children of divorcees to be part of the divorcees 'new' families. I don't know how this applies to other places. I can't say that I was ever very familiar with divorce customs in Japan to really know if your way of thinking is common or not. I do know Japanese men who won't divorce for fear of losing their children, however.

My thoughts are with Chris and other fathers caught in this insipid trap in Japan. I hope that their cases can start to set a new precedent in visitation rights for fathers in Japan, especially for non-Japanese fathers. For all the Chris' out there who brave leaving their wives only to find themselves in a struggle over basic rights to access to their children, there are many more of us more cowardly ones who would rather be with an intolerable spouse than to never see our children again.

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@Yojitani I believe you have (perhaps unwittingly) hit it on the head.This is exactly the reason that the Japanese family law is the way it is.They want to create a situation that discourages divorce and extra marital affairs and keeps families together. @kersey23 You accuse Noriko of chasing money.Surely it was her money as part of the divorce settlement? They did after all create at least 2 highly successful businesses together. As a father trying to even speak to my daughter in Japan I am shocked that people are supporting Chris after how he has behaved. He is a one man wrecking ball for any credibility gaijin fathers might have had with the Japanese public. Surely the clever and humane thing to do would have been to have supported Noriko as much as possible in America.Instead he decided to send regular vicious emails deriding her parenting (see court transcripts).He tells his son (and this his wifes Amys words on CNN video) "Daddies do not see their children in Japan" Somehow managing to both lambast both his sons mother and his sons country and culture in one short sentence LOL. He then grabs his kids on their way to school.This is not the way to win friends in Japan. May go down as normal behaviour in America but when in Rome.....and he had been in Rome around 13 years.Japanese do not want their country turned into a zoo and who can blame them. 5 years in prison for him please as an example to any other idiots who may want to pull this stunt and hurt even further my chances of seeing my daughter

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@Michael: The government has no business 'keeping families together' when all that equates is misery on both sides (or worse). It certainly doesn't have any business limiting human contact between parents and children unless there is a risk.

I do understand the lack of sympathy with this guy since he doesn't exactly do anyone a favor, especially his history having an affair. I don't know about any emails etc. It does seem that he should have done a much better job of trying to accommodate his ex-wife in the US. I currently live in a fairly small midwestern town and my (Japanese) wife is miserable here. I don't blame her. There is an extremely small Japanese community and the population is otherwise about 98% white. I can't imagine her life in TN could have been much better. I don't know why he's there. Still, I understand this act as an act of desperation and fear. The risks of divorcing a Japanese spouse when children are involved is an open secret among most of us married to Japanese (male or female). I can't say I wouldn't try the same thing if I were in his position. Waiting for the legal process is a farce in Japan - even when visitation is granted, it's not enforced. Now, none of what I say is meant to pit one legal system or country over another. Problems exist everywhere when it comes to this issue - among countries that I know, I'd rank England as just below Japan.

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Yojitani:

However, you seem to believe that these are Noriko's 'property' to which she has to forgo some rights?

No, but I agree with michaelqtodd, who posted above:

I am shocked that people are supporting Chris after how he has behaved...Surely the clever and humane thing to do would have been to have supported Noriko as much as possible in America.Instead he decided to send regular vicious emails deriding her parenting (see court transcripts).He tells his son (and this his wifes Amys words on CNN video) "Daddies do not see their children in Japan"... He then grabs his kids on their way to school.This is not the way to win friends in Japan. May go down as normal behaviour in America but when in Rome...

In your response to Michaelqtodd you indicated that you did not know about the emails, so I will assume you have not read the links Michaelqtodd provided, yet these are the basis for my views and the questions I asked.

It is clear from that information that Chris was deliberately making Noriko miserable, and that he used that misery as a means to obtain the custody which was initially given to Noriko, when she threatened to leave America.

No, the children are not her property, but initially she had custody and Chris was permitted visitation. When Noriko complained about him bringing the new wife (Amy) around, the simple, decent and sensitive thing would have been for Chris to come and pick up the kids by himself. What activities he did with the kids was his business, but he should not be allowing his new wife around Noriko's residence. Noriko has no obligation to form a relationship with that woman.

Moreover, the new wife began to post on public Forums criticizing Noriko (before she left for Japan), and it is plain that she (with Chris) was going public with some kind of crusade to obtain custody of the children. In a small town, that is guaranteed to make Noriko even more miserable.

Your point is that the children do become part of a new family, but that new family should not be coming around to the residence of the ex-wife, unless there is a cordial relationship. I thought this was common sense, but maybe I'm old-fashioned.

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well as when they were still in japan, noriko told him that she hadnt loved him for many yrs and said he would never see the kids again unless he gave her a substantial payment then you can understand that he was slightly upset. the point here is , men in particular foreigners have no rights in divorces in japan with japanese

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interesting that she also has dual citizenship.. i wonder what theyll do?? if they strip her of her japanese citizenship then she will be a us citizen where she is a fugitive from justice

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How can either of them (legally) have dual citizenship? Japanese who take foreign citizenship are supposed to renounce their J citizenship and foreigners who take J citizenship are supposed to renounce their previous citizenships.

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What is most revolting about many of the comments here is the apparent willingness of posters to side with one or other of the parties based on nothing more than their nationality and/or gender. So just a typical day on JT, I guess.

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i dont agree unagidon. most posters say both of them are at fault. a lot were saying it was all his fault early on,but thats obviously not the case now.

as for you asking about d cit.. exactly the point.it isnt legal.she has forfeited her j cit by taking us cit and he didnt renounce his us cit so forfeits his us cit legally. what will the authorities do?prob they dont even know-they cant really remove her j citizenship can they???

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Thinks it pretty-much a waste of space to see al of these posts on who was worse, Noriko or Chris....and those who say that Chris somehow deserved this are really blind to the facts that he had already paid through the nose in alimony to Noriko, who agreed not to take the children out of the country, then broke her word. If she was so desperate to get back to Japan, why didn't she leave, come back here, and agree -- after all, she was awarded nearly a million US Dollars -- to give custody to Chris, with the proviso that she be allowed regular visits? She certainly could have afforded the tickets. I'm not so sure, too, that Chris was all that out-of-bounds by asking for a divorce in the USA, where, in Japan, he'd have nop rights, and wouldn't have been given custody, or even visitation rights, had the divorce taken place here in Japan. It was rather shrewd for him to ask for a divorcei n the States, though.

But, again, all this aside, it is the children who are suffering the most between two knuckleheads for parents. Yes, Christ shoulnd't have slept around on his wife (but then again, we have no idea why that was happening, either, do we? Could Noriko have been holding out on him, driving him into the arms of another woman?), but Noriko shoujldn7t have broken her word. Who's worse? Who cares? It is their children that are taking the brunt of the punishment. Children never win in a divorce...especially an ugly one like this....

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@BlueTiger.No it was her money from the share of her business interests that he started with her."holding out on him"?? What does this mean? This guy completely disregarded his children`s happiness and interests by making life hell for their mother and custodian.When she naturally rebelled against this he watched a couple of Rambo movies and decided to snatch them.Are you from somewhere in Saudi Arabia where they can have 5 wives and women cannot drives cars yet? Anyone who supports what he has done in any way at all is scary to me sorry

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Thinks it pretty-much a waste of space to see al of these posts on who was worse, Noriko or Chris

And then you promptly do just that...

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flyingfish;

i dont agree unagidon. most posters say both of them are at fault.

Yes, I think so and I would put myself in that camp, but there are many who are sticking to their views based on nationality and gender, esp. those who seem to have some personal issues with Japanese women.

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If Japan had a concept of joint custody and visitation rights, I wonder whether Dr.Savoie would have chosen to divorce in Japan? If he did though, was he able to move his current wife and her kids to Japan? Probably not.

This case is complicated, since he remarried an American citizen, who was also divorced and had children. Amy Savoie is apparently stuck in Franklin TN, because she has either full or joint custody with her former husband. (?) That's why Dr.Savoie moved from Japan to TN.

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One thing about this fixation so many here seem to have on the divorce itself:

That's the thing about divorce -- Know one can really know what led to it except the two that are divorcing. They were together 16 years. A lot can happen in that time. A lot can change. Divorce happens. Doesn't matter where you're from or what your nationality is, it happens.

Every time someone here tries to argue that "Chris was a such-and-such of a husband" or "Noriko was a such-and-such of a wife," they're essentially saying it's acceptable the kids be used as a weapon in seeking vengeance for perceived wrongs in a 16-year relationship. And that's profoundly wrong and unfair to the children who are caught in middle of this mess.

The point is, it's senseless to try and look for a way to shift blame here based on the divorce itself. What this comes down to is parentlal rights. Not divorcee rights, but parental rights. And the cause of this mess is not the details of the divorce itself, but outdated and prejudicial Japanese family law that leaves no room for an equitable solution in an emotionally charged situation.

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LFRAgain is right, to try and affix blame is ludicrous, given the subjective nature of experience, and the salient point is Japans atavistic and jingoistic approach to parental rights.

But if you absolutely have to have a barroom opinion, going on what was reported, they both sound like numbnuts.

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@paloduro You have made an excellent point. Amys ex husbands visitation rights complicate the issue. Thus Chris was really wanting to have his cake and eat it too. Live with Amy and her kids and have his two round the corner being cared for by his ex. As with many in history who have taken that route he has foundered. Now is hopefully going to do a few years in a place where cake is rare. A Fukuoka prison.Cockroaches are big and plenty there in the summer there I hear. To fully fill in the jigsaw puzzle of the whole human drama it will be interesting to learn when Amy and her ex hit the rocks and Chris and Noriko also went pear shaped.Me suspects it was round about the same time

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Blue Tiger

and those who say that Chris somehow deserved this are really blind to the facts that he had already paid through the nose in alimony to Noriko, who agreed not to take the children out of the country, then broke her word.

I'm not blind to that because I've looked at the documents. The judge warned Noriko that she would lose alimony and education payments if she went back to Japan, and she acknowledged this.

So by returning to Japan, she has decided it was worth it to forfeit that money.

I find myself virtually in total agreement with michaelqtodd on this issue. Many are saying that we should not judge who is at fault in a divorce, but what I am looking at primarily is the behavior of Chris and Amy after the divorce.

That reprehensible behavior was insensitive and abusive, and clearly designed to create misery and distress for Noriko, in hopes of winning full custody from her.Note that Chris and Amy took this divorce public on Internet forums before Noriko returned to Japan.

One would have expected the opposite: that they bend over backwards to make life comfortable in America for Noriko, so that she could care for the children there.

But instead they managed a situation where she was essentially trapped in a place where Amy and Chris enjoyed all the advantages, and where she could look forward to nothing but abuse heaped upon her by them.

Under those circumstances, it is not surprising that she made a decision to forfeit alimony by returning to Japan to lead a life free from the disgraceful and treacherous machinations of Chris and Amy.

But, yes, as for circumstances leading up to the divorce, we need not judge.

As for Chris and Amy, any bets on how long that marriage will last? Statistically, second marriages do not do well, and when they are consummated after illicit affairs, the failure rate is well above 90%. Good luck to them, because after a few more divorces, if their attitude remains unchanged, the future custody issues may involve dozens of ex-spouses.

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after his ex-wife expressed concern about the two children losing their Japanese identity.

Mother has clearly testified that she intends to remain in Franklin, Tennessee, with the children

Looks like she's completely freaked out and yet to know how to deal with this internal contradiction. BTW, was there any other determining factor that led to the divorce, let's say, child abuse or an aggravated battery?

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I've been in Japan ten years now, and very very very happy that this has made international news. It's not a new story in terms of child kidnapping from other countries, but at least this particular case gives much needed air-time to a very difficult problem. Japan refuses to acknowledge arrest warrants by the FBI, Interpol and other organizations, where the Japanese parent has abducted kids from the country of their spouse. It is high time Japan stopped protecting these parents and respected the laws of the country from where they were taken. Just like those countries are expected to respect Japanese laws. In ten years, I have heard of numerous cases of such kidnappings, and not once has Japan lifted a finger or ear to the plight of the foreign parent. Shame on you Japan.

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@cicada Guessing that the reason we agree on this and regard it as pretty clearcut is that we actually bothered to read all the necessary info before commenting.I really hope they do not just let this guy skulk home to the US in 6 days time.He must be made an example of or there will be a free for all of these kind of Rambo attacks on innocent children and their (not so innocent)mothers on there way to school

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Michaelgtodd - Sounds like he divorced you.

Japan should sign the Hague convention and implement the rights of children to see their parents and parents rights to see their children. Sorry marriage and their product, children is a lifetime experience.

The Hague convention would help many Japanese citizens overseas who cannot bring their children to Japan.

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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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This case is a very bad one to rally around for the Hague Convention.

The Hague Convention would not even apply in this case.

The "habitual residence" of the children (8 and 6) was not America. They spent their whole life in Japan and only half a year in America. In fact, the only reason they were taken to America was so that Chris could have them live near him (and he chose the place so that he could be living with his then-mistress now wife who has 3 kids by another marriage).

Meanwhile, he began plotting to obtain full custody after the primary custody (to his chagrin) was given to Noriko. He tried to get the judge recused, but that was rejected. He used the lack of Hague Convention in Japan as an excuse to obtain custody, but that was rejected. Next he started accusing Noriko of ignoring parent coordinators, etc to which she successfully answered the court in May.

And all along, Chris and his new wife Amy waged a public campaign (including posting to a local Internet Forum) deriding Noriko and they used the media to attack her as well.

You can even hear Amy bad-mouthing Noriko on CNN news, reporting Noriko's words in a phone call to Chris that Amy was listening in on. Chris abused his visitation rights by bringing along new wife Amy to Noriko's residence, allowing Amy to show her contempt and hostility in front of the kids.

Chris's outrageous abusiveness after the divorce knows no bounds. How many of you would tolerate such a situation?

It is no wonder that Noriko decided to forfeit alimony, monthly payments and education money (as had been explained to her by the judge) by returning to Japan, protecting the children from a pair of monsters.

The Hague Convention will now be seen by Japanese as dangerous if it would mean that people like Noriko would be trapped like that, eventually losing custody of the children in a foreign country where they had never been before (as was Chris and Amy's plan).

Wake up, people, and go find a more appropriate case to rally around and tout the benefits of Hague Convention.

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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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@OneForAll I do not think that anyone disagrees that Japan should sign the Hague Convention. Christopher has though I believe set this potential process back,not that I really think it is being considered. Signing that convention would mean the Japanese courts being bound to follow the determinations of other countries` rulings. Realistically this is unlikely to happen in our lifetimes without a massive education program. So we have to work around things in a different way than just attacking things head on. Pick some cases that are worthy (including as you rightly point out Japanese women stuck with children overseas)of support.Make documentaries about these and get them on TV and the stories in newspapers etc.

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I am glad that my country decided not to sign the damn thing.

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The Savoie case clearly brings to light the ongoing and deepening problem of Japan's absolute inabilty to join the worlds major industrialized civilized societies as a world power. A G-7 nation that cant recognize previously established jurisdiction and superior court custody orders. ??!! For international children no less!! These children are the best bridges between our 2 nations. The fact that Japan defiantly refuses to establish a family law system with enforcement ability, and serious consequences for failure to comply with previously established court orders. Japan wants to give its citizens a ticket to not have to obey any foreign laws or jurisdiction. Because of that kind of attitude, Japan will always be a 3rd world nation, even though they desperately want the world to see them a 1st world nation....it just cant match up. I believe the people of Japan have evolved on social justice and human rights in their attitudes, but their government has just remained mired in bureaucracy and defiant 19th century attitudes. Too bad for the people of Japan , and especially the children of these international families.

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He used the lack of Hague Convention in Japan as an excuse to obtain custody, but that was rejected.

Really!? I'm not even sure if he's familiar with Hague Convention.

It is no wonder that Noriko decided to forfeit alimony, monthly payments and education money (as had been explained to her by the judge) by returning to Japan, protecting the children from a pair of monsters.

While it is her choice to stay in the US for child support or give up most of her rights in child custody, you shouldn't forget that this woman made a serious problem. She testified at the court that she would intend to stay in the US as the condition of divorce settlement. Tennessee state court allowed her to go to Japan with her kids during summer, but it's NOT the same as she can stay in her home country indefinitely. It is not only a violation of court order, but it could be charged as a perjury. That's why the state court has recently issued an arrest warrant against her.

And all along, Chris and his new wife Amy waged a public campaign (including posting to a local Internet Forum) deriding Noriko and they used the media to attack her as well.

I agree, it's disturbing, and pretty nasty. But he(I don't know about his wife Amy) has a legitimate reason for continuous battle. I mean, not what he did in Fukuoka city, Japan.

and he chose the place so that he could be living with his then-mistress now wife who has 3 kids by another marriage

I don't have any problem with your criticizing this man for his action, but I don't see any justification on your characterization of him that does go beyond an ad hominem attack.

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I don't have any problem with your criticizing this man for his action, but I don't see any justification on your characterization of him that does go beyond an ad hominem attack.

does/ doesn't.

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amerijap:

She testified at the court that she would intend to stay in the US...It is not only a violation of court order, but it could be charged as a perjury.

Hard to prove perjury when she merely expressed her "intention". Her intention at that time was to stay in America.

Tennessee state court allowed her to go to Japan with her kids during summer, but it's NOT the same as she can stay in her home country indefinitely.

Yes, but her actual decision not to go back to America was made in Japan. Therefore, her violation of the American court order occurred while she was in Japan.

as the condition of divorce settlement.

The only divorce condition tied to her remaining in America is monthly payments, alimony, and education money. The judge explained this to her. Yes, she did forfeit that money by not going back to America. Other than that, there is no reason why she can not live in her own country, for goodness sake.

That's why the state court has recently issued an arrest warrant against her.

And that is why this case supports an argument against signing the Hague Convention. The divorce jurisdiction never should have been Tennessee in the first place. But that is not Noriko's fault.

Actually, the American court had no business turning over custody to Chris just because Noriko wants to live in her own country where the children have been since birth. It would have been wiser for the American court to allow her to retain the initial custody, in hopes that Chris could negotiate visitation on his trips to Japan.

However, Chris and Amy had been aiming to obtain full custody from the start, and they wrongly thought it is a good thing that the American court gave them custody after Noriko did not come back. They can yell and scream to the media about custody. But those court decisions make it harder for Noriko to allow Chris visitation. (And of course after his violent abduction of the children, it would be near impossible for her to do so).

It's not possible to sympathize with Chris at all. The only sympathy he has gotten is based on inaccurate portrayals of what happened -- provided to the media by him and his loud mouth lover. That will backfire for them too, as has everything else, because the bigger the attention garnered by the story, the more reporters will look into the facts for themselves and see that Noriko was deeply wronged throughout.

Chris and Amy already do not get that much sympathy even in the American news forums. The limited sympathy they are getting will evaporate when the true circumstances are told.

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Hard to prove perjury when she merely expressed her "intention". Her intention at that time was to stay in America.

It doesn't matter. Since she testified at the court, her speech was recorded, and will be kept in the legal record of state. And as long as she is to testify at the court, she must speak under oath. This is also true when you testify at the Japanese court. You can't have a second thought on that once you speak under oath. The Japanese strategic rhetoric of 'honne-and tatemae' does not work at US the court. Period.

Other than that, there is no reason why she can not live in her own country, for goodness sake.

With the exception that she wrongly testified at the court that she would stay in the United States without knowing its legal constraint.

the American court had no business turning over custody to Chris just because Noriko wants to live in her own country where the children have been since birth.

Unless they set out to work on the divorce case in the US. If they were in the US, speaking of Tennessee(!), it's quite unlikely to get a Japanese lawyer or an American attorney who takes care of divorce case for the internationals. If they were in Japan, she could hire a Japanese attorney and proceed the case based on the Japanese legal system. Anyway, she had to engage in a legal battle in his country instead of her own.

But those court decisions make it harder for Noriko to allow Chris visitation.

I don't know how his visitation right look like and how it differs from the US and Japan. But, the fact that he filed a complaint on his visitation right suggests that there is a difference between Japanese law and US law in interpreting the visitation rights and his restrictions. I'm not sure what his case would be like but I highly doubt that she understands the meaning of his visitation rights based on the US legal system. I don't see any reason why he was denied the right to see his kids unless he had a very serious problem that may result in danger of their lives--such as drug abuses, domestic violence, alcoholic, sex-offenders, etc.

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The Father was trying to and failed to take the kids in the US. They were raised in Japan for most of their lives. Why should they stay in the US? The mother was very kind to take them to be near their father.

But then the Father tries to take them. If anyone were in the mothers position I think they would rather take them to Japan rather than lose them in America.

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They were raised in Japan for most of their lives. Why should they stay in the US? The mother was very kind to take them to be near their father.

I can totally understand the situation. That's the sort of grievance strategy this woman is using to build the solidarity from her sympathizers. I agree that's quite justifiable and rational tactic. No doubt about it. However, educational and cultural concerns are determining and predictable factors-- they should have discussed and settled while they were still in Japan. The woman should have known better that filing for the divorce in the US is a risky business for her--you just can't fight a court battle without knowing the legal system that differs from Japan.

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If they allow a mother to take the children without consent, why would they prosecute a father for committing the exact act? Not to mention, a mother who who can't enter America again without being arrested on kidnapping charges. Savoie's lawyer in Tennessee should extradite the mother to face those charges. I'm pretty sure Japan does extradite wanted criminals on interpol.

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amerijap:

That's the sort of grievance strategy this woman is using to build the solidarity from her sympathizers. I agree that's quite justifiable and rational tactic. No doubt about it.

Indeed, I agree it is quite a "strategy" for Noriko to show kindness, dignity, patience and graciousness as opposed to the attitudes of arrogance, hostility, contempt and disrespect shown by Chris and Amy.

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However, educational and cultural concerns are determining and predictable factors

If these are the only factors to talk about then the women wins hands down. American education is by far so back woods that the children would be better suited learning in Japan. But are those the only factors?

you just can't fight a court battle without knowing the legal system that differs from Japan.

So her husband, hoodwinks her into coming to his home ground, then divorces her. Then tries to make her fight in his home ground. But in this case it did not work out, he made a mistake and she took off......

they should have discussed and settled while they were still in Japan

Very good point, but....hmmmm....but.... why did he take his family to Tenn and then after she arrives, he files for divorce???

Kind of an odd move for a loving husband.....Oh but wait, months after he files, he gets remarried! Sniff sniff, this smells like a setup........LOL

you just can't fight a court battle without knowing the legal system that differs from Japan.

Correct, why fight a battle in someone else's court? Hell, she did the right thing, she made him try to fight in her court......guess he lost!!!

Now instead of being a good Dad he is soon to be a convict.....

This just goes to show you, you mess around on your wife/husband and that snake will bite you real bad....LOL

This sap is paying for his bs in spades......LOL

Hope he gets more and more and more for his attempt.......Make him pay for trying to play with his kids....A man would have owned up and thought of his kids rather of himself.

If he really loved his kids he would have moved his mistress to Japan and been a there for them. But no, he wanted to play and not pay....

He is a sad father.....

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She knew she was going to the States to negotiate a divorce settlement, There was no deception there. She negotiated an 800,000USD settlement on condition she did not take the children out of the U.S., then she renegs on the settlement. She got permisiion to take the kids to Japan on vacation and got their passports which were being held by the court. When she returned from "vacation" she did not return the passports as required and fled with the children..abduction. There is a felony warrant out for her arrest in the state of Tennessee and because she left Tennessee the FBI would arrest her if she was caught anywhere in the U.S or it's territories. I hope she tries to take them to Guam or Saipan on the next vacation (a al Miura) and see what happens to her then.

@JoeBigs:

American education is by far so back woods that the children would be better suited learning in Japan.

I am not going to say there is nothing wrong with the U.S. school system but there are many more Nobel laurets from the U.S. education system pre capita than the Japan. Many of the top 25 universities in the world are in the U.S. and Todai ranked 64th last time I checked. Most of the scholars in MIT, Michigan State, Stanford, Yale, Harvard etc. came out of U.S. schools. If the kids are diligent students they can learn in the U.S. as well as in Japan.

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techall:

She negotiated an 800,000USD settlement on condition she did not take the children out of the U.S.

Why do you like to repeat the homewrecker's tall tales? Read the documents instead. The "condition" for remaining in Tennessee was alimony, monthly payments, and education money. All of which Noriko chose to forfeit.

You misguided Chris Savoie supporters cannot even get this straight.

There was no deception there.

Yeah, sure. She uproots the kids from Japan to live in a foreign country because she wants to live near her husband's lover, so that they can conspire to gain custody of her children. Perfectly easy for anyone to understand!

JoeBigs:

If he really loved his kids he would have moved his mistress to Japan and been there for them.

That's right. Chris Savoie shows no signs whatsoever of loving his kids. He does show signs of wanting to own them, wanting them to love him, and wanting the world to think he is a super-dad. And how funny that some people believe that.

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OK, it's check-out time.

JoeBigs:

Very good point, but....hmmmm....but.... why did he take his family to Tenn and then after she arrives, he files for divorce???

Actually, it was she(Noriko) who filed for divorce, because she found it extremely difficult to live her life with the kids in the US. She and her-ex husband should have talked it through before they made an important life decision.

Hell, she did the right thing, she made him try to fight in her court......guess he lost!!!

With the exception that she failed to abide by the court order. Besides, I don't know what you mean by "he lost". It's not a mere win-lose game over the child custody.

Cicada:

Therefore, her violation of the American court order occurred while she was in Japan.

Ha. You're making a straw-man argument. Are you trying to say it's not a violation because it occurred in Japan?? Absolutely ridiculous! As long as you call it a "violation", you are admitting that what she did--choose not to go back to the US against the court order-- was WRONG. Yes, exactly! It's totally unlikely to make her innocent. It's a serious breach of legal contract. The state court made an order that clearly reflected on both Chris and Noriko's concerns and the legal constraints the Japanese law would inflict on Chris' visitation rights.

JoeBigs & Cicada:

I don't care how much you antagonize Chris and his new wife Amy and enjoy your ad-hominem arguments by creating the biased stories in your postings. You can do whatever you want because I don't see your points persuasive at all. They just don't go anywhere but distracting from the issue. No matter how much demeaning comments you make, it won't make his ex-wife 'innocent' in the first place.

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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:

If anyone is still reading, I think I was wrong to say Japan was the home state of the kids for determining child custody.

Well, if you are right this time, that's too bad, because it (Japan not considered home state in this case) is an indication of serious flaws with the Hague Convention.

I'd say the bigger this story becomes, the more resistance there will be to signing the Hague Convention. People like Chris could freely abuse the system by trapping spouses in foreign divorces.

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 agree, and yet the bigger the story becomes, and the louder Chris and Amy wail, the more the case will be seen as representative. What a shame.

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Holy molly Lucy, if you have an affair it is okay! Because your an American! Holly molly, amerijap says it is okay so it must be!!!!!LOL

amerijap at 05:33 AM JST - 9th October JoeBigs & Cicada: I don't care how much you antagonize Chris and his new wife Amy

Translation "Amy", the other woman with 3 kids, You know, the home wrecker..LOL

amerijap at 05:33 AM JST - 9th October No matter how much demeaning comments you make, it won't make his ex-wife 'innocent' in the first place.

Translation,"It does not matter if the husband lied steeled and cheated, he was right because he was an American!" Quick play "I'm proud to be an American" Before they can think!.......LOL

Please, the guy tried and failed to pull a fast one. You have to be a child not to see through his ploy. He failed to be a man and live up to his responsibilities as a husband and a father and now he is paying for this.

That is what is wrong with America these day, lots of big talkers but no real men. You can talk a big game,"Rush Limbough". But can not back it up,"put anyone who uses drugs in jail".

So before you leap, be a man, this putz should pay with time in prison! I hope he dances the dance and learns to be a man.

Sounds like he is a far right winger to me. All talk and no responsibility for his actions......Rush oh mighty.....LOL

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JoeBigs:

You're totally out of control. No wonder you and your folks are simply wasting your time, making slandering and ridiculous comments rather than engaging in critical/rational discussion on the issue. Because, you simply don't like it. I don't care who the hell Chris and his new wife look like. And I'm not tolerating Chris of his attempt to grab his kids in Japan, either. I agree what happened to Chris and Noriko is NONE OF of Amy's damn business.

I know you're trying to make a point by bringing up his problem--how he treated his ex-wife while they were still in Japan. Yeah, I agree he should have been much more considerate of her needs while they were spending their lives in Japan. Because that's the reason why they ended up in divorce in the first place. But, that's quite another story from what the article says. You're just mixing them up, and making ridiculous comments about Chris and Amy in order to defend Noriko's innocence. And what does this have to do with "Rush Limbough", anyway?? You're are totally helpless.

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DwightWanWinkle:

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 totally agree with you. What we would like to know, apart from this issue, is how Chris' power and control play out in their family decisions and how they psychologically and physically(to some extent- but not sure how much) have affected Noriko in their marriage life. I suspect there ought to be the philosophical difference in child parenting and education between Noriko and Chris, which might possibly be the key factor that led to marital break-up. They lived in Japan for almost 15 years, so their marriage life out there should be the key, I think.

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Cicada said:

"Well, if you are right this time, that's too bad, because it (Japan not considered home state in this case) is an indication of serious flaws with the Hague Convention."

No, it's not. "Home state" is just one way to have jurisdiction - it means the state the children lived in for 6 consecutive months when the divorce was filed. Even two days later, the children were now in Tennessee because the mother brought them there.

There was now no "home state" under this law, because they had not been in Tennessee for 6 months. So the next test, "significant connections," applied. Both parents lived there and said they planned to keep living there, so I think a judge could say this test was met.

In hindsight, seeing what happened, it's easy to question whether this was a good decision. In the same way, it's easy to say the mother was lying in March because what she did in August. That's not fair and accurate though.

I still think the Tennessee divorce was unfair and a mistake, but if it had worked we would not be having this discussion and saying that the divorce should have been filed in Japan.

You're wrong that this case is an argument against the Hague Convention. If Japan had been part of it, this might not have happened. The bigger problem in this case is Japan's lack of enforcement of father's visitation rights. That's the problem in the Toland case also - his child is in Japan and always has been, so I don't even consider that an international abduction case.

The Hillman case is a good example of why Japan needs to join Hague. Sean Hillman was born in the U.S. and taken back to Japan. Hague would have provided a quick and sure process for getting him back to his country of habitual residence.

There are many parts of the Hague Convention that allow a country's courts a lot of flexibility, but it gives a presumption that the children will be returned quickly to limit the harm to them of removal from their habitual residence.

I think this Savoie case caused the children the harm that the Hague Convention is designed to prevent, by bringing them from Japan in an unstable situation. And then just as Tennessee was starting to become their habitual residence, they were taken back to Japan. In retrospect, the only way to do it was with the mother's cooperation, slowly. It couldn't be forced.

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DwightVanWinkle:

There was now no "home state" under this law

That is one of the flaws. Doh.

You're wrong that this case is an argument against the Hague Convention. If Japan had been part of it, this might not have happened.

I'm wrong because this "might not have happened"? lol. You cannot give any concrete reason why it would not have happened. And if it did, it would have been even worse for Noriko.

the Toland case...The Hillman case

Why are you citing a couple of more cases, when you have claimed that the Savoie case is not typical? You need to present the entire data of all cases, to show that the Savoie case is not typical, and to show whatever else it is you are trying to show.

I think this Savoie case caused the children the harm that the Hague Convention is designed to prevent, by bringing them from Japan in an unstable situation.

You are making a valiant effort to constructively connect the Savoie case to an argument about the Hague Convention. But you really have no reason to believe that the Hague Convention would have helped the Savoie children; quite possibly it would have meant much deeper harm.

As it is, the Japanese are right not to sign the Hague Convention. When people manage to figure out how it should be modified to avoid grotesque incidents of abuse, maybe Japan would sign.

Meanwhile, you and anyone else trying to advance the Hague Convention issue based on the Savoie case are making a giant mistake.

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Politically, the Savoie case may or may not hurt the Hague Convention issue. I think it would have helped because the father would have had less reason for fear of his wife's going back to Japan, and thus oppressive measures such as seizure of children's passports would not have occurred. But the bigger problem in the Savoie case was that Japan's family law does not ensure fathers' visitation. I don't think that justified a Tennessee divorce, but it was the justification. I think such reforms to Japanese family law would be good for Japanese fathers as well, and Prime Minister Hatoyama agrees.

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Lack of "home state" is not a flaw. It's a design feature to account for as many situations as possible. Google UCCJEA.

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DwightVanWinkle:

But the bigger problem in the Savoie case was that Japan's family law does not ensure fathers' visitation. I don't think that justified a Tennessee divorce, but it was the justification.

I agree with you that a Tennesse divorce was not justified. And yet, as you say, "it was the justification". The problem here is not that Japan didn't sign the Hague convention, but rather that American courts unilaterally are making decisions that penalize the citizens of countries that did not sign, or countries that do not have domestic laws/enforcement similar to America.

Since when can one country alter its judiciary decisions regarding foreigners, based on whether or not the foreigners' country has signed a particular treaty, or based on what laws/enforcement are like in the foreign country?

You've touched on the real issue here: the Tennessee court should have made all its decisions based on American law, not based on international politics.

Still, the American judge did give primary custody to Noriko, choosing to use alimony and monthly payments as a means of "persuading" her to remain in America. In some ways, the judge's decision can be seen as very fair, although I wonder why Chris Savoie should not pay alimony now, if Noriko agrees to let him have visitation 2 weekends per month in Japan.

Unfortunately, the behavior of Chris and Amy was so abusive that Noriko decided to forfeit the alimony and go back home to Japan.

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