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American man accused of grabbing own kids released

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they had to release him because Japanese parents cannot be charged with kidnapping their own kids. they had nothing to charge him with. He is a Japanese citizen after all.

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It's About time....Godspeed Christopher Savoie and all the other parents wanting to see and be part of their children's lives. Fukuokafamily.webs.com

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I do wonder why they think he isnt a flight risk... afterall, he has his 'wife' waiting back in American...

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So based on the article, would it be safe to assume that Japan recognizes his dual nationality (now that would be a first). While being out on bail (released), the whole legal mess created by this case is in no way finished.

Finally, given the seriousness and diversity of the crimes that have been potentially committed in this case, letting this chap go seems somewhat odd. Indeed, there is somewhat of a stench of diplomatic interference.

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he promised not to take his children back to the U.S. “in this manner,”

About time indeed, but the "in this manner" clause means we haven't seen the last of the Savoie family.

And yet, this would not be an issue at all if Japan agreed to the Hague convention, so long ago.

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Throw the book at him - kidnapping and forcible confinement. Crossing international boundaries for the purpose of committing a felony. He should serve hard time, no excuses.

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I don't know what they are thinking but it sounds like he is some type of risk. The kids should not be stuck in the middle of this but I expect that Mr. Savoie is going to end up pressing the issue. And yeah, he's got a wife back in the US. Why would he want to stay?

On the other hand the ex made a bunch of agreements to stay in the US with the kids so the kids could see both parents.

Plenty of issues to go around. This can only end badly.

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Just to set the record straight, parental kidnapping is a crime in both the United States and Japan, the litmus test being whether the accused party meets the criteria of being a caregiver under the terms of the law.

At the same time, however, whether or not Mr. Savoie is guilty of such actions is something quite different from Japan's refusal to sign the Hague Convention. That being said, however, if Japan were a signatory to the convention, Mr. Savoie would have never committed these acts, because the actions of his wife in returning the children to Japan would have been in breach of a settlement reached by a court of good standing (in the US). As such, the wife would now be the one in trouble.

What a mess this whole case has become.....

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If the mother can legally take the kids out of America and into Japan "In this manner", it is more than a little ironic that the Japanese government states that Mr Savoie cannot do the same. Presumably they consider it legal for the mother to do it? Double standard. I can't even begin to imagine the frustration for Mr. Savoie. I hope he keeps his cool, gets some support, and eventually things work out for him and his kids.

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jt how about tracking this guy down & do an interview!

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Glad that he has been released although I don't quite get the process. He promises not to take his kids back to the US (in this manner) and then they consider him not to be a flight risk? I still don't get why he was arrested in the first place if kidnapping your own kids isn't a crime in Japan.

Well, I guess, the real question is what happens next. I can only hope that they can reach a peaceful resolution soon..one that is in the best interests of the children.

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According to Wikipedia, "Japanese nationality law", Article 5 of the Nationality Act states that an applicant for Japanese citizenship must be "stateless or willing to renounce foreign citizenship." JT's own article states that the man is a naturalized Japanese citizen.

Editors: Can we please stop seeing headlines like the one above, "American man accused of grabbing own kids released"? He is not American (unless there is more information about his citizenship that JT is not providing.) He is Japanese. News articles should not identify a person by ethnicity or origin; it is citizenship that matters.

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Throw the book at him - kidnapping and forcible confinement. Crossing international boundaries for the purpose of committing a felony. He should serve hard time, no excuses.

You can substiture "her" and "she" for "him" and "he", and the statement is no less valid. And her extralegal actions occurred first.

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Good post Newsman. Just out of interest, as a Japanese national who has renounced his US citizenship (I would assume that the US State Department would concur with this opinion seeing as the taking out of foreign citizenship would meet the terms of a "conscious act" under US Law), I wonder how Mr. Savoie intends to return to the US. On a tourist visa perhaps? Moreover, the US might in fact deny him entry, him not having divulged his loss of US citizenship to US authorities (a felony perhaps?).

Indeed, "not a flight risk" might actually mean that Japan has withdrawn Mr. Savoie's Japanese passport as well.

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So, then dual nationality is ok now? Meaning I can get my JP Passport and not have to worry about suddenly laying out 20% off the top to the IRS on my US investments? IRS will still hound you no matter even if you tear up the passport and mail it back.

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Newsman at 09:02 PM JST - 15th October

According to Wikipedia, "Japanese nationality law", Article 5 of the Nationality Act states that an applicant for Japanese citizenship must be "stateless or willing to renounce foreign citizenship." JT's own article states that the man is a naturalized Japanese citizen.

Wiki is wrong.Willing might be the term used but it is not enforced nor is there a law to support it. I know lots of people holding both passports as both countries do not question the coming and going of its citizens. Too much of a hassle.

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Willing might be the term used but it is not enforced nor is there a law to support it. I know lots of people holding both passports as both countries do not question the coming and going of its citizens. Too much of a hassle.

Absolutely I said here about 2 weeks ago Japan wouldn't want to open that can of worms, quite a number of famous and prominent Japanese have dual nationality. If he got busted on this matter his lawyers could wreck more than a few careers.

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Newsman your wrong on this matter. As long as he holds a US passport(a citizen) Jt is correct. Why would the US embassy be involved otherwise?

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I know spudman. exactly. people holding both just have to make sure they update them before they expire.

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As long as he holds a US passport(a citizen) Jt is correct.

But the question is whether or Mr. Savoie retained a US passport in good faith. The US recognizes dual nationality in instances where nationality of another country is granted, not as a result of a conscious act by a party, but rather by the arbitrary actions of the country in question (if you marry nationals of certain countries you might obtain citizenship as an added bonus). On the other hand, I believe that a conscious act on the part of a person to obtain the nationality of another country might in fact void a person's US citizenship in instances where the other country specificially states that all previous nationalities must be renounced.

If this is the case, then this chap has some immigration issues on both sides of the Pacific.

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They decided to release him on grounds that he was not a flight risk

Yeah, right. He was attempting to flee when they caught him.

Basically, the Japanese government is hoping he will do a runner and say "naughty, naughty" and then refuse him entry on ANY sort of passport at any and all ports.

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Folks, you are all wrong about USA citizenship. Unless you formally renounce your USA citizenship at an American embassy AND the renunciation is accepted, you are still an American citizen. America's policy on dual-citizenship has changed substantially since the 70s and it is now very difficult to lose your citizenship, even if you naturalize in another country and even if that country does not recognize dual citizenship and requires some other form of renunciation.

Hence, Savoie is still an American citizen, whether or not he still has a passport in his possession.

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But the question is whether or Mr. Savoie retained a US passport in good faith

Timor your (if) is a moot point. It wasn't the case here or they US wouldn7t touch this case. They know the law better than us JT pundits.

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There are other cases of the Japanese wife "kidnapping" kids from the American husband.

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Two points: First, the Wikipedia entry only says "WILLING (emphasis mine) to renounce foreign citizenship." If, for example, he was willing to renounce his American citizenship, but did not, that would be information that I would think would be very important in forming a judgment regarding this story. So far as I know, however, no such information has been provided in any JT stories. That, I think, is negligent reporting.

Second, this story has been edited since my first post; the reference to Savoie being a naturalized Japanese citizen has been cut and the story rewritten. My beef is not about Japan's citizenship laws; my beef was that the story featured a headline which, if you read the story itself very closely, was unjustified. I think the editing on some stories needs to be a little tighter.

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U.S. Consulate spokeswoman Tracy Taylor declined to comment on details of his release, but added that her understanding was that he would not be indicted.

Why is the US Consulate getting involved in the case of a naturalized Japanese citizen. You cannot have it both ways. Either he is a Japanese national who committed fraud in no relinquishing his US citizenship, or he is a US national without Japanese citizenship.

I also like the reference to "her understanding"..... Of course she knows the backscratching that has occurred between the countries. She is just saying this to further pin Japan down.

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Good. But lots of twists and turns... Am on both sides but it boils down to cultural beliefs... I feel for both of them but my priority is with the kids.... work it out and live life.

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Just another quick point. If this chap does in fact have dual nationality, his US citizenship should not be able to protect him from prosecution in Japan if he possesses Japanese citizenship. As somebody previously pointed out, you cannot commit a crime in a country and then jump over the embassy wall, seeking diplomatic protection (admittedly some diplomats do this and get PNGed as a result). As such, if he does have Japanese citizenship any debates of him being "An American" are irrelevant, because Japan has the legal right to prosecute its own citizens under Japanese law.

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It really doesn't matter because the Consulate or Embassy really can't do jack. It is not like what people think like in the movies, unless you are some celebrity or Senator's kid, they aren't going to send the marines or Clinton to get you out.

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timorborder. Good point. Feel the same....

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timorborder:

Indeed, there is somewhat of a stench of diplomatic interference.

There was a steaming diplomatic turd right in the middle of the article:

U.S. Consulate spokeswoman Tracy Taylor declined to comment on details of his release, but added that her understanding was that he would not be indicted.

Chris Savoie does have a lot of money. Maybe he put some of it to use. Not just his money, either.

One really has to wonder why the accomplices were never identified, let alone detained. Savoie's company has 2 officers (one who was temporarily CEO while Savoie was jailed) living right in Fukuoka. If they were the ones with Shannon Higgins, that could have meant arresting all 4 executives of the company.

So the incentive to get Savoie out of jail and avoid indictment was probably not just Savoie's alone.

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asdfgh123 at 09:58 PM JST - 15th October

Folks, you are all wrong about USA citizenship. Unless you formally renounce your USA citizenship at an American embassy AND the renunciation is accepted, you are still an American citizen. America's policy on dual-citizenship has changed substantially since the 70s and it is now very difficult to lose your citizenship, even if you naturalize in another country and even if that country does not recognize dual citizenship and requires some other form of renunciation.

Hence, Savoie is still an American citizen, whether or not he still has a passport in his possession.

The above is all due to the IRS. They try to make it impossible for anyone to lose their American citizenship so they can be charged with tax evasion or other matters related to laundering money. It all has to do with money and since IRS people are not rich, their bitterness sends them on the hunt. I am going to apply to be a JP citizen next month.

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"Tokyo has argued that signing the convention may not protect Japanese women and their children from abusive foreign husbands"

How backward can it get ? Surely this hasn't come from a government official ?

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One of the American news sources I've read says that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of the wife, presumably since she violated an agreement with the court there not to take the kids to live in Japan. I wonder what the local police will do when that warrant arrives. Will they follow the law, arrest her, and send her to the U.S.? Although Japan hasn't signed the treaty on international child abduction, I think there is a general extradition treaty between the two countries.

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Tokyo has argued that signing the convention may not protect Japanese women and their children from abusive foreign husbands, but Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada recently said officials were reviewing the matter.

when J-women divorced the foreign husband it means only because he's abusive? If otherwise (as in case of infidelity etc), they would tolerate the husbands?

and when Foreign Minister said officials were reviewing the matter...will it take another 20 years for Japan to sign the Convention?

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@henro Japan never extradites her own citizens anywhere, under any circumstances.

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Fukuoka's RKB TV station just showed this story as their top local news story...

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Chris and Noriko had been separated for a few years before he left for the US and got together with Amy. We have no idea why the marriage initially broke up several years ago, only that it broke down well before Chris' marriage to Amy, and I commend both spouses for not dragging that kind of thing into public view.

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Guys and gals, the American Embassy is involved because the children are American citizens by birth. The children are ALIENS in Japan until they get "naturalized". The only Japanese national involved with this situation is the mother.

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ThonTaddeo - Thank you for clearing that up :)

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The children are ALIENS in Japan until they get "naturalized". The only Japanese national involved with this situation is the mother.

Under Japanese law a child has Japanese nationality from birth if either one of the parents is a Japanese national. There is no need for the Savoie children to be 'naturalised'. They are not 'aliens'. Their father also took out Japanese nationality, which means that parents and children are all Japanese nationals.

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Chris and Noriko Savoie lived together in Japan from 2001 to 2008. Since the children are now aged 8 and 6, they spent the whole of their lives in Japan until their parents' divorce. It was surely not the right thing to do to uproot them from their home so that Chris could have his cake and eat it.

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If the children were born on American soil, they are American citizens no matter what nationality the parents were/are.

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Fadamor at 11:43 PM JST - 15th October Guys and gals, the American Embassy is involved because the children are American citizens by birth. The children are ALIENS in Japan until they get "naturalized". The only Japanese national involved with this situation is the mother.

I see you do not like to read much......Cleo is correct, the children were born and raised in Japan. They are Japanese because where they were born and because their parents were both Japanese citizens. Their passports of Japanese also.

But they are American because their Father did not renounce his American citizenship.

You really should read up a bit before making such odd comments....

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I see this happening with a former co-worker of mine. He transferred back to San Diego on a USN ship and his JN wife refused to go back with him. So he had to leave his wife and daughter here in Japan while he goes to San Diego, and be forced to live on a ship since he will be a Geo-bachelor and can't afford to pay rent there and send money back here (wife does not work). He is miserable, and she is happy (still has her military spouse ID card and can go to the Exchange and Commissary and all other benifits) while he's stuck on a ship.

Why this is similar to this case in my opinion is that leading up to his leaving, he was having the same issues (not the cheating) with his wife. She pretty much knew that she would come out ahead with the child custody side and there was pretty much little he could do as long as she was here in Japan. I have seen this senario happen many times to USN guys married to JN wives. All the while the guy is forced to support thier children, and are not able in some cases to see them or move them closer to them.

This is too sad for all parties, and I can imagine the guilt trip that the mother will dump on these kids about their father. I have seen it happen too many times.

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Slight correction - Chris And Noriko lived together in Japan 2001 to 2005, then separately (still in Japan) till 2008. Isaac may have been born in California, Rebecca was born in Japan.

None of that changes the nationality question; the children have Japanese nationality, regardless of whether or not they are also entitled to American nationality. The children were raised in Japan, and to claim that Tennessee is their 'habitual residence' is nothing but a legal nicety.

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Cleo, I had thought that as well, but there's a post on Debito.org suggesting that Isaac, the first child, may have been born in the US.

http://www.debito.org/?p=4751

Noriko is also "having her cake and eating it"; she went to the US for the divorce and received massive amounts of money while promising not to abduct the kids to Japan, and then did just that. You can't pick and choose which parts of court orders apply to you.

Debito's post also reports the 2005 date of the Chris-Noriko separation as being "confirmed", so I can't really blame him for finding a new lover three years later; you just can't ask a person to be celibate that long.

That being said, he (and his wife) need to put their kids' interests first, and with them being bicultural (and both parents being dual citizens), that means that either parent should be willing to live in the "other" country to raise them. Noriko should have stayed in the US, but she violated the court order and now can't ever go back to the US.

Perhaps the best solution now is for Chris to stay in Fukuoka for a few years (without Amy, if she's not willing to go) to raise the kids, with them then going to the US for high school and/or college.

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I side with Noriko and her children on this one. The children are Japanese citizens and spent most of their lives in Japan. They should definitely be in Japan, not America. To hell with the twisted entanglements imposed by te American judiciary.

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Cleo, I see that you got your correction in as I was posting; ignore my first paragraph if you like!

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I side with Noriko and her children on this one.

Aerocaster, what's with the sneaky wording? They're not "her" children; they're "their" children. What's more, the children are not necessarily on the same "side".

Maybe they should be in Japan (I think they probably should, too), but what "should" be is not for us to decide. The court decided otherwise, and Noriko defied the court.

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Noriko and Christopher are both criminals, there's no law justifying what either of them did. But they did it for the kids (and to screw their ex, but they won't face up to that part). If she really wanted the kids, she would never have agreed to give them up as part of the divorce settlement in the US. That's what $800K will do to a "loyal mother". His mistake was thinking she wouldn't take both the money and the kids. This is what marital war looks like.

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"Tokyo has argued that signing the convention may not protect Japanese women and their children from abusive foreign husbands, but Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada recently said officials were reviewing the matter."

The great majority of international marriages in recent years in Japan involve a Japanese man and a foreign wife, more often than not from another Asian country.

Is it out of the realm of possibility that a foreign mother living in Japan could escape an abusive relationship and illegally take their children back to her home country? Is there no need to be concerned for their welfare because they generally come from "inferior" Asian nations?

We've seen the huge upsurge in domestic violence cases(I know it can go both ways) since Japan actually started paying attention to this issue.

Japan should be more concerned about these issues all the way around.

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By the way, after reading some of Cleo's comments, I'm more inclined to be sympathetic to the mother's side in this whole fiasco.

It sure does sound like Mr. Savoie wants to "have his cake and eat it, too."

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I only wish he wasn't released from custody until at least 3months not 3weeks. Spending the holidays in jail would have been perfect for him. Both children deserve to be with their natural birth mother without question. If wanted to visit them he should have sought that right but not full custody. Noriko was never deemed an unfit parent. So raising her japanese born children in japan is her right first and foremost. As a man he should understand that divorcing her and leaving the marriage gives up certain rights like the right to full custody. Men like this sicken me.

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Actually cleo, while the kids are both Japanese in this case you do not automatically get Japanese citizenship for having a Japanese parent. This only happens if you file, which practically 100% of parents happen to do. This is even true if both parents are Japanese! Until you file and add them to your Koseki, they are not Japanese. This is the very same as divorce - Japan will not recognize your divorce until you file. There was a grandfather law passed that gave exception to displaced descendants of Japanese, but that would not apply here.

You can verify this at any Japanese consulate or with the Japanese government services. Even news articles mention the divorce requirements. And this is why Zainichi in Japan are not legally Japanese.

Again, in this case the kids were added to the Koseki, which is the only reason why they are Japanese. It's the only reason anyone is Japanese in Japan.

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This only happens if you file, which practically 100% of parents happen to do. This is even true if both parents are Japanese! Until you file and add them to your Koseki, they are not Japanese

why would you nit file? It is a damn site easier than getting immigration papers for the little one not to mention health benefits etc

I am sure if they were living in Japan and they were born in Japan with both parents Japanese (OK dad by natualisation) then they would have filed. (yesI know there are a few ifs there...)

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This is great news. She just wants the kids to herself and all of the money Mr. Savoie paid her. Mrs. Savoie is obviously a liar and very selfish. She cannot be a good mother. The children would be much happier growing up in America. Being a bi-cultural child is nothing to be ashamed of in America.

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"Cleo, I had thought that as well, but there's a post on Debito.org suggesting that Isaac, the first child, may have been born in the US.

http://www.debito.org/?p=4751

Noriko is also "having her cake and eating it"; she went to the US for the divorce and received massive amounts of money while promising not to abduct the kids to Japan, and then did just that. You can't pick and choose which parts of court orders apply to you.

Debito's post also reports the 2005 date of the Chris-Noriko separation as being "confirmed", so I can't really blame him for finding a new lover three years later; you just can't ask a person to be celibate that long."

The timeline is highly unlikely on the account that in order for Noriko to maintain her "permanent residency", she had to return to U.S. on a regular basis during their marriage. I sincerely doubt this happened. Hence, the most logical scenario was that she got her permanent residency during 2008. If that's the case, Chris had to petition her as a "spouse" so if they were "separated" without any chance of reconciliation, Chris flat out lied on his petition application (I-130).

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Mrs. Savoie is obviously a liar and very selfish. She cannot be a good mother. The children would be much happier growing up in America.

And Mr. Savoie has told the whole truth and nothing but the truth...right?? Hmm...I see that you must know what kind of mother she is in order to make such a sweeping statement on what kind of mother she is. Yes America is wonderful. Life would be so much better if we could all be American! That's my great sadness. I wish I were an American. Life would be great.

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The kids should get to live wherever they want, whether in Japan or America.

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Where you are born has absolutely nothing to do with Japanese citizenship. It does play a part in determining US citizenship, but is irrelevant for Japan and dozens of other countries.

One of the children is a dual US-Japanese citizen, whether they like it or not. Japan recognizes dual citizenship for children under 20 - they simply require you to give one up after reaching adulthood. The more you know..

Finally, the irony is since Christopher and Noriko are still married under Japanese law he hasn't kidnapped his own children which would be the case in a divorce. People have successfully reverse-kidnapped their own children away from Japan, but it's pretty rare because you need the other passport.

To illustrate, I have a different date of registration for my marriage in the US and Japan. While Japan would recognize my US marriage for ordinary situations, it would not recognize my US marriage alone for the purpose of child custody, tax purposes, and other koseki-related issues. It is actually possible to exploit this loophole!

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I side with the father as he can teach them the English, the world's most useful language.

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The kids are better off in Japan than in Tennessee.

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I wonder if Noriko has yet again done the decent thing and asked the prosecutors to not charge Chris for the assault, for the sake of their children. (Though he's still being investigated - perhaps for false declaration on the naturalization thing and perhaps even bigamy).

If he's "not a flight risk", can we assume that they've confiscated both of his passports? And distributed his photo to all international sea and airports?

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Oh, I see that this has been added since I last read the article: **Wes Yoder, who is a publicist for Amy Savoie, said Christopher Savoie is being allowed to leave Japan."

Christ on a bicycle. The Savoie Bunch has retained a publicist. (Well I suppose someone needed to handle Amy's bookings.)

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“He is a grieving father, first and foremost,” she wrote. “He has to get home and contend with the fact that he had to essentially ‘bury’ his children yesterday.”

This has to be the creepiest statement to date.

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Hehehohohaha, couldn't agree more.

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that might be creepy but for all intents and purposes it is probably true in everything but a literal sense.He will lose his kids until they are old enough to decide for themselves and I doubt this Noriko lawbreaker will even foster communication between the dad and his kids.He will miss his kids growing up,lose what closeness they have had and she gets the kids and a big fat payout.He may not have been the perfect dad but I think some people might feel less acrimonious if they were in his shoes.

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Having been 8 yrs old when my own parents divorced, there is no win-win situation here. But I know that the children want to spend time with both mom and dad, and they should get that time. Today, it is nice to see both my parents happy in life, but still I sometimes wish that they had been able to overcome their marriage difficulties for the sake of me and my brother. So I can't help but feel that some, and I repeat some, parents need to think about what is best for their children before they get divorced.

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I feel for the kids being caught in the tug-o-war.

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I wish people would just stop siding with Chris and blaming Noriko, OR siding with Noriko and blaming Chris, and focus more on forcing Japan to change the law about visitation right/joint custody/sign the Hague Convention. Every mother/father has every right to be involved in their children's right and every child has every right to have their mother/father in their life (with the exception for unfit mother/father, of course. If the kids are happy to live in Japan so let them live in Japan with their mother but Japan must guarantee Chris's right to visit them so Noriko can never ban him from seeing his own kids. It wasn't right for Chris to force Noriko to stay in the US so he can 'eat his cake'/ 'kidnap' his kids, etc, but it wasn't right for Noriko to flee to Japan without notifying anyone, broke the court order, etc. Japan might see Chris as a criminal, for 'kidnapping' his kids, but they should see that Noriko isn't an angel either...

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There is often talk of walking in Chris's shoes. As an American in Japan with a Japanese wife and kids, I walk in their shoes. In an alternative universe where my marriage went south, here is how it would play out:

What is best for the kids? What is best for their mother? What is best for me?

The kids are the center of my universe. Their mother is the center of their universe. Well, at their age they are in the center along with their mother. My needs would come last. If, for example, providing for the kids meant moving the US, then that would have to be carefully examined. The move would be because it was in the best interest for everybody. I could not just up and move to the US solely because I wanted to. And believe me, sometimes that is exactly what I want to do.

A few posts here have claimed that Noriko moved to the US specifically to get money and with the full intention of returning to Japan. While we are free to speculate, I can't connect those dots. I've been looking for clues to Noriko's character, but of all the players here we know she is the silent one.

Anyway, when I put myself in Christopher's shoes, I walk a completely different mile.

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This is a sad example of the sad state of social support in Japan. Hopefully the spotlight shined on this case will spill over and make the government do something about this human rights disaster!

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All you human vultures are still circling around this "news" I see. Enjoy the speculation guys.

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A few posts here have claimed that Noriko moved to the US specifically to get money and with the full intention of returning to Japan. While we are free to speculate, I can't connect those dots.

I agree. Apparently Chris Savoie tried to convince the courts to prevent her from returning to Japan with her kids on holiday, but was unsuccessful. So she took her kids to Japan and returned to America a couple of weeks later as promised. If Noriko was plotting to do a runner right from the onset why did she return to America?

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When you have children PLEASE do not divorce. The hurt and damage is unbearable for the child(ren).

Take control of your life. Do not rely on the external systems, laws and regulations to control your life.

A publicist? what a joke. The only reason I can accept that is if Wes Yoder was doing to overcome his economic hardship.

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nigel wrote:

"Noriko is also "having her cake and eating it"; she went to the US for the divorce and received massive amounts of money while promising not to abduct the kids to Japan, and then did just that. You can't pick and choose which parts of court orders apply to you."

This certainly complicates things. It will definitely be interesting to see how this case is resolved, and what impact it will have on the many others just like it.

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He just hit the airport. He lost his kids forever.

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Savoie also told prosecutors that he planned to resolve the custody dispute with his ex-wife through dialogue

I think Obama and Hatoyama need to hold a beer summit for these guys.

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You bring up an interesting point Altria. With Circus Obama planning to make a whirlwind trip to Japan next month, both sides probably don't want this issue to be left unresolved (or at least have this chap left festering in prison) because while the Japanese press might be kept at bay regarding this case, you can bet your bottom dollar that some US correspondent would probably raise this issue. Considering the love-fest that usually occurs when Japanese/US leaders meet, asking difficult question would be the equivalent of dropping a steamer in the coffee pot.

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I've read a wide variety of news stories about this, both U.S. and Japan based. One oft-repeated detail is that apparently, "according to Japanese law," the parents are still married. What, then, is the basis for the police arresting him in the first place?

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Henro we have been through this before. The chap was arrested on suspicion of parental kidnapping, for which the litmus test (proof of guilt or innocence) is whether or not the accused party can be considered to represent a care giver under the auspices of the law.

To put it simply, parental kidnapping would be proved if one party was absent from a child's life from a certain period of time, and then proceeded to forcibly remove the child from the care of another (usually the other parent or in some cases a foster parent/court-appointed guardian). Such charges can be proved irrespective of marital status. Furthermore, the major issue here is what time frame is used in Japanese law as the litmus test for parental kidnapping.

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womanforwomen,

I have to disagree with you. Sometimes divorce is better than maintaining a rotten relationship. Even Noriko and Chris can be an example for this. Do you think it is good for their children to see their parents fighting all the time? I remember I read somewhere how Chris called Noriko 'stupid' etc. I don't think it is good for their children to witness that. Imagine if they live at the same house and the children have to witness that everyday. There were time in my life when I wished my parents were never divorced, but in the end, I am happy that they did. My father has always been a good father, but to my mother, he was a bad husband, they just didn't get along. I am glad I didn't have to witness all the fights (and worse, the silence) all through my childhood. My mum was so much happier when they finally split up. And in a way, it made my relationship with my mum better. And when I grew up, I realize how hard it must be for her to deal with a husband she could not get along with, AND take care of us. After the divorce, I guess she was happier, and her relationship with us was gradually better. I realized, she was not a superwoman, but no one is.

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Because she knows she is a coward who is in the wrong. The idea that the government reenforces the thought that she may have been justified is disgusting, and one of the reasons Japan is the exact same as North Korean in protecting abductors and human rights violations.

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So, seeing that there is a warrant for Noriko's arrest in the US... What of that warrant? will it be enforced? what happens now? Immune by reason of 'Japaneseness'? I have never been in the 'legal' know since moving here, everything regarding law is weird here.

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my question here is.. are they STILL married in Japan? if there are (legally), then the kids and the mother are Chris' dependants (their health care, Noriko's pention and etc).. if they are to continue to live in Japan, they need to take care of all the paperwork here not just the U.S. Japan recognzizes U.S. divorce once they do paperwork. Japan doesn't automatically recognize the U.S. divorce otherwise.

I was friends with this American-Japanese couple and they got divorced. The child lives with his mom but goes to the U.S in the summer and winter for a couple of weeks to spend time with the U.S. side of families there. The father spends one or two days with the child every month, too. they do not have any court ourder or anything, but they (parents) maintain communication and talk about the child's education and all that.

Since from the beginning, both of the parents wanted the child to learn Japanese language, they decided that it is best for the child to go to Japanese elementary and junior high school, then perhaps American high schhol in order to prepare for university in the states. It is simply wonderful that the parents can cooperate and think what's best for the child even after divorce.

Sure it is a shame that the Japanese court gives more power to the Japanese mothers most of the time, but what I think comes down to is the parents maturity to keep their communication and THEY decide what's best not the court like my friends. My friends decided that the money that could have been spent for the custody trial should be saved for the child's education. The mother has full custody on the paper and the child lives with the mom, but she is willing to let the father live with the child when/if the child goes to high school / college in the U.S in the future.

I think it is a shame that the names/photos of Christopher & Noriko's kids are all over the internet. Kids' identities should have been protected, is just my opinion.

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the kids and the mother are Chris' dependants (their health care, Noriko's pention and etc)

Only if he claims them as such. Since his legal domicile is now in the US, it's hard to see how or why he would claim them as dependents in Japan. And since it appears he was never a sarariman in Japan anyway, Noriko isn't covered by his pension arrangements; she should be paying her own pension dues, like all other single women/working wives of sararimen/working and non-working wives of non-sararimen.

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Fishy -- Both Children have Japanese names too. So I think they will be protected. ( I hope so anyway ).

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If he's leaving Japan now, he is almost certainly going to lose the kids, even though he is still married in Japan. She can divorce him in Japan on the grounds of abandonment/desertion, ironically, because he is living in another country. Then she would automatically get sole custody of the kids in Japan. Her only problem is getting arrested if she leaves the country.

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I have a court order for week on week off custody in New Zealand with registered mirror orders in the Japanese court.6 years those orders have been in place. These however are totally unenforceable as neither Police nor court staff will do anything.I know where my daughter goes to school. She is nearly 10. So I rock up to the school gates and snatch her and run off to the airport (I still hold her passport). LOL. You gotta know that there is no way I am going to do that.Firstly she (like Christopher and Norikos kids) are happy at schoool. It now seems however that I can with total impunity however do that.Remember that Chris had no such order in the Japanese court (presumably his lawyers were not clever enough to think of it). Now he has got away scot free with this you gotta know that there are a few thousand fathers out there tempted to pull the same stunt. Imagine if we all got together and made a Facebook event or something and did it on the same day.Now THAT would be a protest.But the thing is we won`t. Because we care about the kids welfare.It is not about us. It is about what is best for the kids.Sure it would be great to see them every weekend but we are probably all working slowly towards that point.As pointed out above by Hahehoheha and Taj Amy says it is like "burying the children".For Amy and Chris it is all about them. The kids may as well be pets! A very scary precedent has been set I believe

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Well I have my own opinions on this but if there is one lesson to be learned by all of this. If you plain on marrying someone outside your own race, specifically country. Be sure each couple has a clear understand of each others role. Talk it over at length and what each expects of each other as a parent. I personally would never even consider having kids until I knew for sure what my wife expected and what her feelings were on the matter. If more couples did this i feel would avoid major problems later on. Although that is easier said then done. No one expects they are going to get divorced. You just don't know how one or the other is going to react, which makes planning ahead a bit more difficult. First and foremost if you plan to have kids or even remotely thinking about it. This needs to be the absolute most important thing you discuss with each other. If neither one can agree then don't have kids. I hate to see this as a means for breaking up a relationship but it's better then the latter. If either couple truly respects each other then an option which both can agree upon is possible. Otherwise it's better just to part ways as neither one is really meant for each other. Just my two cents worth.

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michaelqtodd:

Excellent post. You may be one of the few affected fathers who understand the real significance of the Savoie travesty.

And possibly you are one of the few who can benefit. Your child is now 10, not 4. Even when parents are with the children, the children change! So your idea of your child and the now reality is divergent. You cannot have the past back. As I said, this is true for everyone. But perhaps, separated, it is harder to fathom.

What I am telling you is that you do not want to have custody of your former child, but you do want to meet and get to know your child now. The relationship need not be father/child but more as friends. And I think you can forge a new relationship with the former spouse as well.

Maybe now is the time for you to go for it. Accomplish with inner strength what others try to accomplish with the external forces of court orders.

I've been reading your posts for quite a while. If anyone can do it, you can.

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asianyetgaijin, thanks for sharing. It has a lot to do with the personalities too. My mother is just one great person who sacrificed everything so that me and my siblings could have both parents when growing up.Both my parents are wonderful people but they are from two different planets. No I cannot imagine not having either of my parents while growing up.

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asianyetgaijin....

I have seen it all. I have felt strongly both ways. My mother and father divorced over what seems now to be a pretty trivial set of circumstances, with no fighting and mutual respect. Each went on to have a happy life, eventually, but my mother got involved with some... hmm... less than perfect people with problems that got worse over time.

My bias now is to think that nobody is going to care for kids as much as their parents will, and parents have a responsibility to their kids. People have to live with their decisions and row their own boat, so to speak. "Keeping it together until the kids turn 18" has gotten a really bad rap from the ME generation, but how is it different from other sacrifices that people make for the welfare of loved ones? Children deserve to have PARENTS (not just parent) and children deserve that sacrifice from both parents, if that is what it takes.

People marry unstable people, have unrealistic expectations, lack humility, and cannot pay attention. Then they wonder why a court cannot solve their problems. To paraphrase REIKIZEN--"Buy in haste, repent at liesure." And kids always pay a price.

This whole Savoie family is messed up permanently. It sounds like others who are posting have reached much more mature solutions given this environment. Congratulations. I doubt a "better" legal environment would have helped most of you because you are mature enough, and circumspect enough, that you did not need it.

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Tokyo has argued that signing the convention may not protect Japanese women and their children from abusive foreign husbands

This well explains the reason why even foreign husbands living in Japan will lose the right for child custody when they lose their Japanese wives. This gives us nothing but the idea of demonizing tactic that suggests foreign husbands are dangerous than Japanese even some males, because they are highly vulnerable to temper tantrum. It's simply begging the question. It's not just the lack of Japanese family law's flexibility or compatibility with international law. The gap between the Japanese family law and the Hague Convention is deeply rooted in cultural understanding on family and child-rearing.

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Japanese even some males

I meant Japanese males(even in comparison to some "abusive" males).

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Tokyo has argued that signing the convention may not protect Japanese women and their children from abusive foreign husbands

The above statement has been used repeatedly by western media but the actual position I witnessed on the Japanese sites are that of basic polilcy of "民事不介入” which is "non-intervention of courts".

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as i posted initially on this,its clear that there was no legal reason to arrest him.if hed been ethnic japanese then they never would have stopped him taking his own children. only bit of good news is it seems clear that j gov will not do anything against dual nationals..

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Of ALL the individuals involved in this scenario, Mr. Savoie is the only one who should not be charged with a crime. ALL the others should be charged with at complicity to abduct children, at the minimum.

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The Japanese authorities should send Ms. Noriko to Tennessee to face the charges of abduction. She is still a wanted fujitive living in Japan until she clears the matter with the U.S. court.

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"民事不介入” which is "non-intervention of courts".

Probably better or more clearly translated as 'non-intervention of criminal courts and the police in civil affairs. It was basically set up to prevent the police from invading people's privacy although their have been problems in the past with this being used as a reason the police could not to get involved in things such as domestic violence cases etc.

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@Cicada Thanks. I do not dwell on the past or feel any bitterness.I have unconditional love for my daughters mother and as you say my best path is to forge a relationship with her. After some contemplation of this I believe that the J cops have done well. Christopher is released but still under investigation.Japan thus avoids a confrontational situation without having to agree that what he did was OK. Basically they have just swept the whole thing under the table and will be hoping that he never tries to return.If he doesnt they can close their file.Kids however particlarly Isaac,8 will remember this each time they walk down that road to school

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I believe that not only foreign fathers, but also japanese fathers are waiting until the law changes to have a legal right to access to their lovely children. Mothers have to realize that children need both parents. How can mothers make children by themselves? Because of the bad economy in japan if the father cannot bring more than 50man per month, or if the mother found someone who can give everything she needs, or if the family members in japan don't like the foreign fathers still if mothers say that fathers abuse children, no matter how much children love the father. Eventhough if it is a lie japan courts believe the abusive mothers and give the children rights only to mothers. Mothers start to receive Govt. support as a single mom and to overcome the stress without a guy mothers keep on taking children to pachinko and sacrifice Govt money to pachinko. When nothing works well finally mothers kill their own children. Before thinking about japanese abusive mothers Japanese Govt please think about children who face the future of japan. If Single abusive mothers abuse these fatherless children you japan will have no enough rooms in prison to put these future criminals.

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Japan should be ashamed of this situation. The laws here are backwards and outdated and Japan should stop hiding behind idiotic claims and sign the agreement.

Until then any foreign parent is in danger of having their own flesh and blood snatched away from them by selfish Japanese parents who seem to care nothing for the well being of their children and instead make decisions for their own egocentric idiocy.

Japan should fix this without delay.

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They state that the law is in place to stop kids being kept by 'abusive husbands' (should be 'fathers'). But what the law fails to do in protecting these kids, is realise that some mothers are abusive too!! But no, Japan believes that that is not important, only foreign parents are 'abusive', therefore the abducting Japanese parent has a safe haven when they return to Japan.

Japan needs to change this ruling and give up these fugitives to the respective countries.

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Obviously the law isn't there trying to stop abuse by husbands. That's because the law applies to all husbands. If the mother is abusive, she will still get custody the vast majority of the time. And it's moot anyways considering we're talking about visitation rights, not abuse.

What's sad is most of this is really about beaurocracy because most Japanese feel this is a problem too.

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Mr. Savoie is back in the states and there is an interview with CNN on their homepage he did after he returned...

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Japan needs to sign the Hague agreement, why won't they? The abusive father excuse is insane. My husband is Japanese we live in the US. I want to divorce him badly but am convinced he would take my children to Japan. He and his parents are extremely bonded to my children (we used to live there). I just visited Japan and was terrified the entire time that I would not be able to leave with my kids. I had him sign an agreement before we left ( not that a notorized US document means anything abroad). I told him that I needed it in case he had an accident while we were visiting, so the kids and I could leave without him. I also made sure I was listed as mother on the kohon seki (official Japanese registry) and that I had a copy of it. But basicially I am trapped in the marriage until they sign it. His parents live in the countryside and are related to half the prefecture, it would be very easy to hide a child. I cannot even find most of the homes I have been to (streets are winding and have no names).

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