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Scottish author's book details efforts to locate sons taken by Japanese wife

69 Comments
By Julian Ryall for BCCJ ACUMEN

Douglas Galbraith knows he is not alone in being alone, but that is little consolation.

The last time the Scottish author saw his two sons was in 2003 — when Satomi was six and Makoto was just four. His latest book tells of the minutes leading up to the realisation that his Japanese wife, Tomoko, had abducted them and fled their home in rural Fife for a suburb of Osaka.

"My Son, My Son" details Galbraith’s efforts to locate his sons, to make contact with his former wife and reach some sort of agreement so that he might be able to see Satomi and Makoto again. After selling his home and sending nearly half the proceeds to Tomoko — earning him a few long distance phone calls until the money reached Japan — the contact was severed.

Now he accepts he is another foreign national who is at the mercy of the Japanese legal system when it comes to his children. Moreover, he knows that evidence suggests he will not see them again. And that would remain the case even were Japan finally to sign The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Galbraith, 46, said that all he can hope is that in the future — when they are old enough to wonder and inquisitive enough to seek out their father — Satomi and Makoto will find him. And the book is partly designed to help them do that.

“To an extent it was therapeutic, although I’m sceptical about the possibility of repairing the damage that has been done, let alone the shallow psychobabble of ‘closure’ or ‘moving on’, he said. “Writing the book was all I could do in a situation where I was powerless in all other respects.

“It is also a possible path of communication with my children — more likely in the future than any time soon. All other routes are deliberately blocked”.

Galbraith — whose previous books include "A Winter in China" and "The Rising Sun" — said that, as a writer, there was “a sense of obligation to make a statement, not to be silent”, and that now the book has been completed, he has a sense of freedom and “of having paid a debt”.

The book has been widely picked up — translated into Spanish and with an excerpt appearing in South Africa — and Galbraith believes there is an increasing understanding that such abductions do not solely involve Japan, but also are a side effect of globalisation and a result of people being brought together in relationships that cross cultural barriers.

“The economic and technological drivers of globalisation are pushing people together, but the drag of culture pulls them apart and this reactionary and divisive force often proves the stronger”, he told BCCJ ACUMEN.

And, while the tales of parental abduction carried out by Japanese mothers are legendary, Galbraith’s former wife displayed breathtaking audacity as she plotted her departure from Scotland. She tried to secretly sell their home and placed adverts in the local paper to sell the contents — presumably hoping to keep the proceeds. She also got new passports for the children from the Japanese consulate in Edinburgh in a ploy that suggests the diplomats were probably aware of what was happening.

In one passage, Tomoko tells a court hearing that she “removed our children from the country by deception and without consent. She candidly explained that she did this because (a) she felt like it, and (b) because of the poor quality of the sushi available from the local Tesco”.

Galbraith welcomes Japan’s gradual move towards signing The Hague convention, although with a degree of caution.

“There could be a lot more tatemae in this than honne”, he said. “Given that there is no real cost to a government for signing up to the Hague convention—before it treats the values and procedures with contempt, it is always reasonable to wait before assessing a government’s—and a judiciary’s—sincerity in approving and applying it.

“The moment of truth is when the first legally ordered return of a parentally abducted child takes place”.

He said he is very doubtful that a single judicially ordered return will take place in the five years after approval. “These things are really more cultural than legal and culture changes very slowly”, he said. “The law is just words and, where there is no genuine sympathy with its values, it remains just words”.

Galbraith said he clings to the hope that his children retain some vague memory of what he told them was the central value in life — to always think for themselves.

“If they can still think for themselves and have not wholly submitted to their mother and her world view then they might contact me — as they can easily — through the Internet”, he said. “The book, and the publicity surrounding it, is largely intended to make that easier — to leave a larger, more easily followed trail.

“If that doesn’t happen and we never meet again, then the book will still be there, even if I’m not”.

"My Son, My Son: How One Generation Hurts the Next" By Douglas Galbraith Harvill £16.99

© Japan Today

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69 Comments
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This is one of Japan's greatest shames. The complicity with which the Japanese governement and its people abduct foreign children to their shores and then obfuscate their recovery.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

I am very disappointed with Japan's unwillingness to cooperate. This isn't the first time this kind of thing happened. There a case in America too. Something has to be done.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Have a good buddy who may fall into this if he does not get more weapons and legal tools in the toolbox asap. Sadly, the mothers brainwash the kids to think Dad is an evil neglecting monster that did not care (and lazy), and the family eggs them on. Loss 1 off the bat is gaikokujin.. Right above... this is one of Japan's greatest shames. I myself could fall into it but I only have one 5yr old lad and I spend every second I can with him since he was born. I know a few guys that do too much of the afterwork giri and booze thing and lose the battle with bond time. Put your love 'kids' time in Dads and that is the greatest weapon here (and teach them English when you can).

9 ( +11 / -2 )

You have to feel really sorry for this guy and others like him. I've lived in Japan for a long time and like it, but stuff like this and it makes me very glad I don't have kids in Japan.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

This is one of the unspoken evils regarding the underbelly of human nature. Often times, the only thing keeping people acting civil is the fear of reprisal.

Since Japanese women living abroad have no fear of reprisal from kidnapping their kids, one might be very weary of entering into such a relationship without proper safeguards.

While that's contrary to most people's romantic notions of love and marriage, sometimes a little pre-screening goes a long way.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The documentary "From the Shadows" on the issue of child abduction to Japan has just been screened for the first time at the Philadelphia film festival. The film looks at many more heart-wrenching experiences similar to that of Mr. Galbraith. Here is a link to the trailer: <www.fromtheshadowsmovie.com>

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This story made my stomach turn, I couldn't imagine how I'd react if I were separated from my children and government procedure kept us apart. This is a shame for all people involved.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Hope one day his boys get to read / hear the author`s side of the story and do indeed contact their father.

Agree with other posters above - this is a shameful situation that stains Japan and should be rectified.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

She candidly explained that she did this because (a) she felt like it, and (b) because of the poor quality of the sushi available from the local Tesco”.

And I'm threatening to leave Japan because of the quality of bread in the supermarkets here.

The fact that these people are allowed to get away with kidnapping with the blessing of the Japanese government is disgusting. If Japan wants to be considered as a typical G7 or industrialized nation (ie part of the rich white gang), then it has to change its way. Frankly I don't see anything coming out of this Hague convention. I wish the author and all other left-behind parents (as well as Japanese parents who have been cut out of their children's lives) all the best.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The wife sounds like a monster..... I just wonder if there were any warning signs at all.. hard for me to imagine a normal person behaving in such a way (not saying its impossible though of course). Power to you Douglas, in not giving up what must have seemed like a hopeless battle.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Cases like this are incredibly common. In my limited sphere, I know two men in the exact same situation.

These cases unfortunately point up two of the most revolting aspects of Japan and the Japanese: 1) their incredibly backwards views and customs regarding child raising, child custody and the wellbeing of children, and 2) their instinctive and bone-deep racism.

First, even when both partners are Japanese, joint custody is very rare in Japan. Most Japanese parents seek sole custody and the legal system supports this. This demonstrates a complete failure to understand the importance of two parents in a child's life, not to mention the abhorrent level of selfishness displayed by people who are supposed to be parents, but are acting like children. From what I've seen in Japan, all too often, once the marriage falls apart, then one partner or the other is willing to use the children as a way to get revenge on their ex-spouse, and they don't care what damage this does to the children.

Second, the fact that the Japanese legal system will always and inevitably back the Japanese parent over the foreign parent in a custody battle is evidence of the clear and deep racism and xenophobia of the Japanese. Any honest observer of Japan knows that they have no intention of acting on the Hague Treaty. If you have any doubts about this and you really know Japan, just try this little thought experiment: Try to imagine a local Japanese court ordering the police to go to the Japanese parent's house and removing the child and bringing the child to his or her foreign parent. Frankly, I find it much easier to imagine pigs with wings.

My advice to any person considering having children with a Japanese national: think carefully. My advice to foreign parents of abducted children: don't rely on the Japanese government to help you - they won't. Try to abduct your children back. If you can get them to your nation's embassy, you might have a chance of getting them out of Japan.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

There is two sides to every story. It could be that the mother may have been a "monster" or perhaps the father instead. I always look at articles like this with suspicion. Simply because we actually never get any sort of explanation from the other half. And always concluding with some sort of propaganda of strengthening international govt.

I also find it fishy that the mothers reasons in this specifics case for leaving is because "(a) she felt like it and (b) bad sushi.". Another thing I find odd is that every time an article like this is published it's always a Japanese mother and a foreign husband. What the man in this article sees as damage, might be healing to the mother. And if it were the other way around then the view points would be reversed.

In all I don't favor any sort of Govt interventionism in such family matters unless a clear case can be made that a life is even under some sort of physical threat.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

AiserX - In Japan there is only one side to the story and that is the mother's. You obviously have had no experience with the Japanese custody laws. I am divorced with two kids and my darling ex-wife told me (through the mediation court) if I wanted to see my kids I had to pay her 3,000yen per hour, per child, which was fully supported by the mediators. She then went on to tell me I had to schedule my visits and pay a month in advance and, I was only allowed a maximum of two days a month. Of course, I told her to go and jump in the lake and after a lot of 'to and fro' I got a much better agreement. The Japanese joint custody laws do not exist and any Japanese trout with a beef can make up any BS she wants and have it fully supported by the mediation court. I know so many Japanese guys that pay over a hundred-thousand yen per month to their ex and are only allowed to see their kids two or three times a year, if they are lucky. As for this situation, it also happens a lot, too much! Japan has said they are willing to join the Haigue agreement and discuss terms of international joint custody, but it means nothing until they introduce domestic laws in regards to joint custody and child support in Japan.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

That really sucks Disillusioned. I cant imagine your pain. I hope things get better for you and your kids in the future. Be strong!!!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'd only like to add one thing (and this is aimed at Mr. Galbraith): If I were you, I'd hire a private detective to find my children and/or keep occasional tabs on them. When they get a bit older, find a way to meet and talk to them. Set up a failsafe way for them to contact you (cell phone number, personal contact, website they can search you by, anything their young minds will remember). Make it very easy for them to contact you any time they want. Your wife abducted them when they (at least the older one) were old enough to have memories of you. Sure, your wife will try to convince them that you are a devil, but just by being kind to them when you meet them will offset her brainwashing. And, at some point, your children will most likely reach out to you.

Sadly, the problem with children abducted like this is that they usually become monolingual and culturally Japanese, meaning that it can be difficult to communicate with them and their thinking will essentially start to resemble the racist and xenophobic people they are surrounded by. You can only hope that their desire to know their father will be enough to overcome this sad state of affairs.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I truely feel sorry for this man and anyone else who has to go through this. I know sometimes that the relationship between the parents may have not been the best, but it is no reason to completely sever the ties to the children and one parent. Sometimes, if the mother or children are really at risk of abuse, I can somewhat understanding not wanting to have contact but that is a different story with different complications. I hope that his book gets picked up by influential people as well as having it translated into Japanese.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

AiserX "two sides to every story"

How true. An interview with Mr Galbraith was published in the Scotsman newspaper some months ago. It describes that their marriage had been unhappy for a while, that his wife had wanted the family to spend more time in Japan but he thought this was "risky", and that he had hidden the childrens' passports in anticipation of what eventually happened.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

An interview with Mr Galbraith was published in the Scotsman newspaper some months ago. It describes that their marriage had been unhappy for a while, that his wife had wanted the family to spend more time in Japan but he thought this was "risky", and that he had hidden the childrens' passports in anticipation of what eventually happened.

You see... that makes it less straight forward. He could easily have subliminally made his suspicions known to his wife who then went on her revenge kick.

Stories like this are terrible... and makes you wonder why Japanese women aborad seem almost compelled to run home to Japan, taking the kids with them... Does this only happen where the couple have kids?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

douglas, apart from the 9 years your ex-wife has already had to brainwash the boys, there's the 7 or so more before they reach adulthood she has in which to plan her strategy to keep you out of their lives forever. they're going to find life very difficult here if, for example they want to get married and have only a non-resident scot who was absent for most of their lives to present to the prospective father-in-law. you can't give up hope, but you are up against a family, neighbourhood and law enforcement system that will never recognise you as a legitimate parent, and will work actively and in cahoots to keep it that way. japanese women like this want to shit on you, blame you for smelling bad, then spread rumours that you're into scat. so your chances of having any relationship with your kids are, to be realistic about it, pretty thin.

as for the hague convention, anyone who thinks japan signing it will make any difference is living in lala land. i'd bet money that any discussions at government level are mostly spent on finding ways around it. expect to hear lots of "too much time has passed and the child's residence can now be considered japan" type of judgements if it actually does go ahead.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I am another here that is glad the mrs & I dont have kids, I wud hate to have this possibility hanging above day in day out

Japan is just so damned primitive at times

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This sucks and the j gov attitude toward the foreign fathers really makes me grit my teeth.

However, it must be remembered, similar experiences are had by j dads in the same country, even in the same city. They are prevented from seeing their kids, the wife takes them and that is that. They pay huge settlements and get very infrequent or non-existant visitation. I know several guys, j guys, in that situation.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@ albaleo

That is a very good add on to this article. It's my experience that often in marriages like these the foreign husband just so happens to be the domineering types. Which IMO partly explains why so often the child is "abducted" (oxymoron) away. Just looking at this mans intense gaze on that picture above makes me uneasy.

Then there is this high and mighty tolerant quote by him.

The economic and technological drivers of globalisation are pushing people together, but the drag of culture pulls them apart and this reactionary and divisive force often proves the stronger”

Hmmm so his view is that culture is divisive and that people must be "pushed" together. But that is also a cultural view on his part, which is where the divisiveness comes from as people do not like to be pushed in no direction, but instead where they individually want to go.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

@AiserX and albaleo

Let me see if I understand you correctly: the marriage was rocky and the guy was partially responsible for this, therefore, he should never be allowed to see his kids again and the kids should never be allowed to see their father again?

That's awfully enlightened of you.

By the way, AiserX, you might want to Google the meaning of the word "oxymoron." An oxymoron is a self-contradictory term, like a "clever fool"; it does not mean an incorrect or unsuitable term, which is the way I believe you meant it. You might have tried using the word "sic" in parentheses. That would have indicated, with proper sarcasm, that you feel that the use of the word "abducted" was not correct in this context. I'll leave double negatives for next lesson.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I hate reading articles like this... whatever the real back story is, I can't imagine not being able to see my kids. I've got 2 little ones btw, mommy is japanese and thankfully for me, her parents actually like me!!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Frank Rizzo

No, you don't understand me correctly. I made no comment about whether or not he should be allowed to see his kids. I was simply commenting that there may be another side to the story. There usually is. A lot of people here are quick to make judgements based on limited information.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

That is a very good add on to this article. It's my experience that often in marriages like these the foreign husband just so happens to be the domineering types. Which IMO partly explains why so often the child is "abducted" (oxymoron) away. Just looking at this mans intense gaze on that picture above makes me uneasy.

Is it okay for me to to uproot my young child - who knows no country other than Japan - and move him over to Europe? I take it you think that disappearing with your own child doesn't really count as abduction, provided the parent has a few bullshit excuses ready.

Really, honestly, do you believe that I legally and morally have a right to do a runner with my kid and make sure the kid's mother never sees her child again?

To me, that would be an abduction, plain and simple.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

AiserX and albaleo

Oxymorons aside, I agree that based on this article we all assume the wife is a bitch and the husband has done nothing wrong. I doubt it is that simple either. Maybe the idea of living in the boonies in Scotland sounded nice at first, but I imagine that could be very boring after a while. Was he willing to relocate back to Japan for his family? No by the sounds of it. It's an important thing to know. At the end of the day, people change because their living circumstances change. I'd like to hear her side of the story before judging either of them.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

How is this different than any other modernized country where the woman gets custody of the kids and the courts / govt back it up?

I know friends in the USA and Canada who are getting screwed by their ex-wives and are not allowed to see the children. And Im sure those single mom's are brainwashing the kids just like these Japanese women are doing

Does it suck? Yeah, but this is what the world is like, and its not going to change, seeing as the Mother is always given the benefit of the doubt in all situations regarding children

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Was he willing to relocate back to Japan for his family?

You mean for his wife. It's not to be assumed that his children were pining for Japan.

Nor does his unwillingness to move 5000 miles on her say-so justify her spiriting them away.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan is still a Developing Country when it comes to Human rights. I wonder why Civilised Countries do no take commercial measures.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

wipeout

That is one of the problems that may well lead to divorce and their current situation. Why should she have to move to Scotland? Why should he have to move to Japan? Who is right? Whose choice is it? We shouldn't assume anything based on the brief article above and that's why I'd like to hear her side of the story before judging.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@ Frank Rizzo

Oxymoron was used correctly. How does one "abduct" their own children? Especially when they are already living under the same house hold. If the mother was anything but such then yes it would have been an abduction. This guy is perhaps using the word to gain some kid of cheap leverage over the case using such extreme wording.

@wipeout

Non-sequitur. How do we know if in this case the children don't know any other place other then Scotland? Although if given the choice, I would pick Japan over Scotland for economic and opportunities reasons. But that's just my own bias given my tech back ground.

Really, honestly, do you believe that I legally and morally have a right to do a runner with my kid and make sure the kid's mother never sees her child again?

One has a moral reason to do so. I have seen several cases where the father is ultra abusive and the wife and children, suddenly and silently up and go. The legally depends on the given country I suppose. Although I don't take this into account either because I think such a law preventing such is itself immoral and wrong and a breach of private property rights and individual liberty. But putting my principal view on such a law aside as well, there are cases where such a law does actual harm that is overlooked. That is when a parent and children up-&-go silently to escape a dangerous environment, only to be forced back in there by the state. Although such cases more often then not happen when minor children alone runaway from both abusive parents only also to be forced back in there.

All I'm saying on the matter is that these are personal matters that don't need Govt interventionism involved as it usually leads to more angst.

Japan is still a Developing Country when it comes to Human rights. I wonder why Civilised Countries do no take commercial measures.

Western countries that champion Humans rights are under-developing on humans rights just to let you know.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

That is one of the problems that may well lead to divorce and their current situation. Why should she have to move to Scotland? Why should he have to move to Japan? Who is right?

You have outlined a problem that is common in international marriages. So what? This is not a justification for child abduction across international borders.

Just because I might not be able to handle my life (or my wife) in Japan doesn't give me a right to run off with my child. You think you need to hear my story to make a judgement on that? Bullshit.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Frank Rizzio

" There are plenty of cases of Japanese women running off with their kids to Japan ..."

And I'm sure there are plenty of cases of Scottish women in Fife running off to their mother's with their kids in tow. In these cases we tend not to concern ourselves whether it was merited or not. The problem can usually be sorted out. But when a Japanese woman does the same, does it really deserve the venom of the 'unco guid'* on this forum?

Given the Scottish nature of the story, some lines from Robert Burns seem appropriate:

O ye wha are sae guid yoursel Sae pious and sae holy Ye've naught to do but mark and tell Your neebours' fauts and folly!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Sorry, the poem didn't come over too well.

"O ye wha are sae guid yoursel

Sae pious and sae holy

Ye've naught to do but mark and tell

Your neebours' fauts and folly!"

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Those who are making statement above along the lines of: " There are 2 sides to this story and we don't a thing about the Man's character" are compeletly missing the point.

That every marital story has 2 sides is banal and meaningless in this case. Even if there were issues/allegations against the man, these need to tested in an appropriate forum. To simply make a statement against someone without evidence or allowing a testable right to respond has exactly zero merit. The fact that this woman planned and executed an abduction and now cannot be located should be nough evidence that she is a liar and of poor character.

Although justice is an illusion - I cannot but hope the universe has a nasty surprise for her.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Man, can't imagine what that must feel like, your wife just gets up and takes her kid's with her to a place on the other side of the planet...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"your wife just gets up and takes her kid's with her"

takes your* kid's

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Japan's policy is wrong. That is that.

That said, all the guys and gals out there gotta remember: you chose your spouse. You chose to marry them, to reproduce with them, and in the end, the lose them.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@AiserX

Okay, so you won't believe me about oxymoron, let's check the Oxford English dictionary:

oxymoron noun a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g. faith unfaithful kept him falsely true).

Note the plural "terms". So tell my how "abducted" can be an oxymoron. True, single individuals can contradict themselves, but single words cannot and do not. Frankly, I don't see why I'm arguing about the English language with someone who comes up with such gems as "Humans rights" or sentences like the following: "Western countries that champion Humans rights are under-developing on humans rights just to let you know." And you don't even know the difference between principles and principals.

Note: A principal is the person who never should have let you graduate from whatever school you went to. Principles are those elements of grammar, spelling and capitalization that you're currently ignoring. And a moron is a person who keeps arguing even after they've been soundly defeated.

By the way, moron was correctly used.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

AiserX

It's my experience that often in marriages like these the foreign husband just so happens to be the domineering types.

I have seen several cases where the father is ultra abusive and the wife and children, suddenly and silently up and go.

Yes, I'm sure you have a lot of experience about other cases, but that doesn't mean you can impose those prejudices on a case you know nothing about.

albaleo

And I'm sure there are plenty of cases of Scottish women in Fife running off to their mother's with their kids in tow. In these cases we tend not to concern ourselves whether it was merited or not. The problem can usually be sorted out. But when a Japanese woman does the same, does it really deserve the venom of the 'unco guid'* on this forum?

The reason is that in the Scottish case, the father can resort to the courts to be able to see his children. In the Japanese case he has no recourse whatsoever.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

AiserX

Oxymoron was used correctly.

You still don't understand the word, do you? No hope.

How does one "abduct" their own children? Especially when they are already living under the same house hold. If the mother was anything but such then yes it would have been an abduction.

Exactly. If she was the mother and the father was dead then she can't abduct her children. But he is alive and she is removing the children from him, so the word abduction is perfectly valid. She has abducted his kids.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yeah, don't know why two of you downrated my comment.

It is the way things work. Look at it this way: how well did you know your wife before marrying? Did you develop a relationship with her family? Did you learn to trust them? And they you?

If not, then, there you go.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

He is not the only one suffereing. There are so many unheard voices. I met my Japanese husband in Mongolia.We were deeply in love.He came all the way to India to marry me. He was a student and I just had joined my job. He asked me to leave the job and start a life in Japan with him. I was happy to do so. But the reality was when I reached Japan he told me that he wants to continue his studies and I must work. I did so ,paid for his school and after 12 years when he got job, he went to Mongolia, fathered a child with a Mongolian woman, brought her to Japan as a Researcher,using common peoples tax, to write his books. Two women from two different countries, ladder for his success.The children are neglected and ignored , wheather born legally in my case and illegally with the other woman's case. You better find your children so that they won't be brought up to hurt others. Japanese men and women never grow.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Japanese men and women never grow.

Oh please. You made your choices, and you married who you did.

But that gives you no right to insult my wife, and my in-laws, my friends and their families.

Got it?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

AiserX: "It's my experience that often in marriages like these the foreign husband just so happens to be the domineering types. Which IMO partly explains why so often the child is "abducted" (oxymoron) away. Just looking at this mans intense gaze on that picture above makes me uneasy."

That is the dumbest comment I have ever read on this issue and it belies the racism that lies at the heart of this problem. AiserX, not all foreign husbands are the "domineering types." In my case, my Japanese wife was verbally and physically abusive... one time causing neighbors to call the cops in Canada because of her screaming.

Did you know that 20 percent of the abduction cases involved Japanese fathers and foreign moms? (One case is featured in that excellent movie From the Shadows). So should we count these foreign moms as "domineering types" too?

The bottom line is that Japanese parents know that they can easily abduct their children and flee back to the safety and protection of the Japanese government.

It's an international shame and a crime against children.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

one simple rule: DO NOT HAVE KIDS WITH JAPANESE WOMEN!!! if all turned sour one day the guys are the fools. i always think about that when i see trolley pushing foreigners with japanese wifes around the world.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The Japanese police policy towards domestic issues is not to step in.

You need a civil court order and even then the Japanese police will be reluctant to intervene due to the foresaid policy.

The Japanese government's stance towards this issue is that they do not see it as a human rights issue but a family issue and governments do not have the right to intervene in those issues.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think every man should get a copy of the book "The Anatomy of Female Power" and ponder the contents before even considering marriage as an option.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

By the way, there are many more cases of Japanese child abdcution on this website. Some of the examples are heartbreaking...

http://crnjapan.net/The_Japan_Childrens_Rights_Network/art-thkoch06.html

1 ( +1 / -0 )

thkannerOct. 26, 2012 - 12:42PM JST

one simple rule: DO NOT HAVE KIDS WITH JAPANESE WOMEN!!! if all turned sour one day the guys are the fools. i always think about that when i see trolley pushing foreigners with japanese wifes around the world

Hardly a simple rule, I have been married for 20 years , My wife and I have three children , all bi-lingual and all carry the respective passports of our birth countries, We are still together , although I am sure at one stage the author Douglas thought he and his wife would be together forever as more than likely so did she, Its unfortunate that the children are in the middle when this happens, Regardless of whether he was a dominating husband or she was a little too fussy about the freshness of her sushi, One would hope that the children's best interests were the motives behind her reason for fleeing and again his reason for writing the book. Unlikely she will ever willingly let him find them or see him for fear of him doing the same to her. Hopefully when they are older they will get the chance to find out about their father for themselves. And I am quite sure that he could find them in Osaka with a little help if he really wanted to.

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I believe all western people working and leaving in Japan should simpatize with this issue and call for a day of stricke organizing a demonstration in Tokyo.

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We are still together , although I am sure at one stage the author Douglas thought he and his wife would be together forever as more than likely so did she, Its unfortunate that the children are in the middle when this happens.

While Galbraith deserves a lot of sympathy for his all-too-common problem, in one respect he ballsed things up royally: one of his published novels has Rape of Nanking as its background. I think just about anyone with a decent knowledge of Japan would know that this is murky territory to venture into. If you value your marriage to a Japanese, some topics need to be well and truly avoided.

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We've all had our say about Mr. Galbraith's case. Let's forget the specific details of his case for a bit and look at the bigger picture. For those interested, I strongly recommend visiting this site and reading about other cases of Japanese parents abducting children and how the Japanese government supports them in these crimes:

http://www.crnjapan.net/The_Japan_Childrens_Rights_Network/res-perstor.html

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You know that comments like DO NOT HAVE KIDS WITH JAPANESE WOMEN!!! is racism, don't you? It's also a sweeping generalisation.

Yes there are horror stories, but to suggest that every single Japanese woman will eventually grab the kids and scarper is pretty insulting. I know guys are angry... but a little perspective?

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I understand all the points about the cases of foreign fathers, but there is the bigger picture where Japan needs some kind of cultural revolution.

This idea that when people divorce, the kids go with one parent (almost always the mother) and then has no contact with the other parent just needs to stop.

It's so backward, immature, and a terrible thing to do to a child. But you'd be surprised at how many japanese ( including educated ones) think its atarimae that children wouldn't see the other parent.

And on that note, it'd help if grandparents didn't get in on the act of badmouthing the ex, and lying about the reasons why they don't visit.

And they wonder why there are so many screwed up people here.

Let's think about the kids. They're much more important than sushi....

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Poor guy. I hope he is reunited with his children soon...

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Not reported but we all know this happens is when foreign men takes their kids out of Japan secretly. Not too long ago a horrible case occurred where the mother was told the father was going to HK Disneyland with the two kids and he really took them back to England for good.

The cruelty door swings both ways unfortunately.

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Galbraith, 46, said that all he can hope is that in the future — when they are old enough to wonder and inquisitive enough to seek out their father — Satomi and Makoto will find him. And the book is partly designed to help them do that.

Well, the kids have probably already gotten an earful from their mother how their father is a monster and this will brainwash them.

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I kinda said it indirectly in my previous post,

It is more accurate to say j legal system puts kids i n a divorce w/ their mom, period. It makes little consideration for the father. W/ international marrigae, this is compounded by distance and cultural barriers, but it cannot said to be simple racism. It's more a male vs female thing in custody.

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If you want to understand more about this issue, and learn about the Japanese Government apathy and participation, I recommend this:

http://www.policymic.com/articles/15499/from-the-shadows-documentary-reflects-sad-reality-of-government-sponsored-child-abduction-in-japan

Japanese court effectively treat children as property. The possessor (usually the mother, or non-Japanese parent), has absolute control of the child. As a Washington State Appellate court recently ruled, “Japan did not meet our fundamental principles concerning due process and parental rights.”

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The cruelty door swings both ways unfortunately.

Yes, but in the case of abduction to England, you can pursue the case in the courts. In Japan, you can't.

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Galbraith's case is one of many many. What mustn't be overlooked is how the Japanese law on child custody affects allegedly over one million Japanese, mostly fathers, as well. Last year, I began documenting some of these cases for a photo project that culminated in an exhibition at the FCCJ in May this year. For more details visit http://cargocollective.com/ProjectPhotography/Left-Behind-by-Japan

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It`s not just foreign fathers who have found themselves in this terrible situation, I know a few foreign mummies too.

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my friend is a widower with 12yo he raised. Mother in law threatened to take the boy. checked with lawyer. Japanese national , regardless of how close or childs wishes, ALWAYS wins.Ludicrous.

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Noone seems to be bothered about this in the comments:

She tried to secretly sell their home and placed adverts in the local paper to sell the contents — presumably hoping to keep the proceeds.

What sort of person is this? Obviously one with no sense of morals!

And this:

After selling his home and sending nearly half the proceeds to Tomoko — earning him a few long distance phone calls until the money reached Japan — the contact was severed.

I am puzzled as to why he did this. I suppose he just wasn't thinking straight because if he had been, he's have seen that all she wanted was money and that he's just gambled away his biggest bargaining chip.

Galbraith, 46, said that all he can hope is that in the future — when they are old enough to wonder and inquisitive enough to seek out their father — Satomi and Makoto will find him.

Very unlikely now. At 4 and 6 they were still maliable and now they have had 9 years of Japanization and familial brainwashing so they won't be thinking like the free-thinkers their father wanted now. I'll bet they can't even speak English any more.

And the book is partly designed to help them do that.

I hope somehow he gets the contact he desires and that the book does work out. I started reading the Look Inside on Amazon and on the strength of it, I am going to buy the book. It looks well written. But by entering into all this publicity, isn't he also revealing his game-plan to his wife? That might backfire.

Is there some reason he can't go to Japan? I have to wonder why he didn't try and get them back straight away, by fair means or foul. They have UK passports and he had them with him. Am I being naive here, but couldn't he have tried to pull the same stunt somehow and get the kids back to the UK instead of just handing over half his money to his greedy wife?

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Got the book! About 1/3 way through. I am so glad I never succumbed to the false charms of these fake Japanese women and ended up married with all the baggage marked 'Japan' that goes with it.

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What a shame this thread has died. I have now read the entire book, and it's a pretty good read.

I recommend it!

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