I am bi-cultural lawyer, born of a Japanese mother and an Irish-American father, I got raised in Japan but have been living in East England ever since i was 21.
Let's stick to certain facts. Savoie became a naturalized citizen of Japan. This is not just due to the marriage agreements he had with Noriko but because of business ownership issues of his company in Japan. The couple was of course married in Japan. What is intriguing here is why the US courts even allowed the divorce to be heard in America when they were not even married there, and are not even recognized citizens on registry in the States. And subsequently issue a custody award to Savoie despite not having a marriage and citizenship prerequisite for either one of them? Note that Savoie is a CEO of an emerging technology firm. His lawyers were particularly sloppy at the handling of his case when they could have reinstated his American citizenship first, made a subsequent divorce papers settled both in the Japan and in the US, and then battled for custody. The American courts also failed Savoie in advising them of their jurisdiction. Despite the Hague protocols on international child abductions, it must be noted that country sovereignity still is a paramount consideration in its execution.
In the case of Japan, they (lock-stock-and-barrel) would argue that they have followed all the necessary rules in this case. Technically, they are correct. Such that it can even be argued legally that they can arrest Savoie on charges of kidnapping as a Japanese citizen regardless whether he is still legally married to Noriko in Japan or not.
Every one of course will have a tendency to take sides. However as a lawyer i am compelled to ask the following questions to both parties: What was the reason for the divorce in the first place? Why was the divorce papers filed in the US? Who triggered that request? Was it Savoie or Noriko? Was either party under duress when the divorce was heard in the US? Why weren't equivalent requests held in Japan? Were both parties fully aware of the repurcussions of child custody and jurisdiction? Why didn't their respective family lawyers advised them of the US courts jurisdiction versus the marriage / family law in Japan where they were married?
I enjoin all of you that before you paint anyone of them in a bad light, i would suggest that motives from Savoie and Noriko need to be brought up by using the above questions. We may be culturally different (Japanese and Americans) but there is also a possibility that Noriko was in duress during the divorce / custody hearing and it is possible that she could not understand anything. It is also possible that Savoie was misinformed by his lawyers on custody strategies and perhaps was greatly misadvised.
It also disheartens me to see that we can make broad brush strokes on certain cultures without fully understanding detailed intricacies of Savoie and Noriko's relationship.
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