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Specialty movers orchestrate successful 'fly by night' escapes from abusive spouses

6 Comments

Yonigeya, (fly-by-nighters) originated as specialty moving services that assist customers fleeing their creditors, and for other reasons. They are said to have enjoyed a major boom around 2008-2009, during the "Lehman Shock."

"Yo-nige used to be closely associated with debts, but about 80% of our customers these days are running from emotional abuse or other family problems," Ms S, operator of such a service named TSC, tells Friday (Dec 3). "Nearly all of the people who work for us have had a need for similar services themselves."

While fleeing by night is considered difficult, perhaps thanks to its sympathetic employees, TSC claims a getaway success rate of 100%.

"There are cases where we've pulled off an evacuation in as little as 15 minutes," S boasts to Friday.

When in her 30s, Ms. S herself was the victim of an abusive relationship. The sense of relief she felt after a successful escape was enough to motivate her into getting into the game, and she founded TSC. According to its home page (http://soudan24.info), basic charges typically run from 50,000 to 300,000 yen.

Among the 100 or so moves her crew performs in the course of each year are cases of abusive treatment, domestic violence, stalking and others, and S prides herself as a benefactor who liberates her clients from a "nightmarish existence."

Essentially, three basic rules apply to enable a successful quick escape. First, the person must be firmly committed in their desire to flee; second, the intention to escape needs to be conveyed to the local police beforehand; and three, a letter should be left behind stating the reasons for making the move. The latter two are considered obligatory to prevent the filing of a missing person’s report to the police.

Friday shows a photo of an actual sayonara note, with names and date redacted.

"I'm leaving you," it begins. "I'm terrified of your daily outbursts, and can't stand it any longer. I will bring up XXXX (presumably the name of their child) by myself, so don't worry. Please address all future communications through my attorney. I suppose he will receive my message by tomorrow. I have also discussed matters with the police, so please don't look for me or attempt to contact me directly.

"This is my request."

One recent client was a woman in her 40s. Her son, since he was small, has been regularly mistreated by her husband, and while she herself was never struck, the sight of the boy being abused was difficult to bear.

From high school, her son began learning martial arts, as if he were preparing for revenge someday.

"As he approaches adulthood, I'm worried that he'll make the decision to strike back against his father," she frets.

One day while her husband was at work, the movers filled a truck with their possessions and they departed.

Another client was a young woman, who came to S sobbing, "I want to liberate my 75-year-old mother from my father."

One day, the daughter realized something was wrong when she saw her mother looking in a mirror and saying, "Who is this person?" She didn't even have time to look in the mirror because of her housework, and she couldn't wear makeup because she would be suspected of infidelity, so she had forgotten what she looked like. At home, she was only called "Oi! Hey, you" by her husband and couldn't even remember her own name.

Even on the day of the move, the mother kept saying things like, "I have to make his dinner." So S took the initiative, embracing daughter and mother as she took them into the new house.

"In past times, people could count on sympathy and a kind word from nearby neighbors," S explains about how she sees her mission. "But now, with the internet and an increasingly disparate society, many people are alienated and suffer from emotional trauma.

"We need to be able to function as their 'last lifeline' that will help them to cope with such difficulties."

© Japan Today

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

6 Comments
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A priceless service for people who need this.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I work with children in orphanages (through JOEE.jp) who have been rescued from abusive situations. I am glad to see that this service exists. It could save the lives of people who need this quick exit from a dangerous domestic situation.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

One day, the daughter realized something was wrong when she saw her mother looking in a mirror and saying, "Who is this person?" She didn't even have time to look in the mirror because of her housework, and she couldn't wear makeup because she would be suspected of infidelity, so she had forgotten what she looked like. At home, she was only called "Oi! Hey, you" by her husband and couldn't even remember her own name.

That's insane

2 ( +3 / -1 )

That’s surely the luxury version. I wouldn’t even have the necessary 50,000 at hand and I guess, also most of the affected victims don’t have that always quickly available in their purses or received it by their abusers beforehand. The majority is and remains trapped, even if thousands of such services at every corner would offer to help.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Do they do pro bono work because that price tag is pretty steep, especially for those in these kinds of sticky situations. It's good that such services exist but writing a letter stating their intent to flee kind of defeats the point, no? I doubt the abuser is not going to honor such requests to stay away or file a missing persons report so why bother with the letter?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

One of the reasons I like to read JapanToday is that it covers so many important topics that are seldom covered in the mews sources over here in the States. The case of people fleeing their partner is one such example. It is treated in movies, as fiction, but it is a real problem.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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