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American Jailed in Japan, Part II

In a follow-up to my post, American Jailed in Japan, Charged with Parental Kidnapping, CNN’s Campbell Brown and Anderson Cooper report on the American, Christopher Savoie, who was recently arrested in Japan and charged with parental kidnapping. Campbell Brown also interviews US Navy Commander Paul Toland, about his uphill child custody battle with Japan. Toland’s ex-spouse, a Japanese National, died two-years ago. Expecting to have custody of his daughter, the Japanese courts awarded custody to his ex-wife’s mother instead of him.

Did you know?: The number of divorces among couples of Japanese and foreign nationality have almost doubled to nearly 19,000 cases in 2008 from just more than 10,000 in 1998, according to the Health and Welfare Ministry.

In Debito’s latest post on the Savoie story, he stated :

So Mr Savoie did something I consider very brave.  He came to Japan and tried to retrieve his children.  He put them in his car and did a runner for the Fukuoka US Consulate.  However, according to online and word-of-mouth sources familiar with this case, the American Consulate would not open the gate for him.

Although I do not speak for the Security Officer at the US Consulate – Fukuoka or the US State Department, I feel that the US Consulate followed correct procedures since Savoie was on Japanese soil. Granted, had Savoie entered Consulate grounds without the Japanese National Police involved, it would be a different picture and made for a true-to-life reality show that would have put US-Japan diplomacy to the test.

Did you know?: Local police in Japan said they received court permission to keep Savoie in custody for 10 days. He was not officially charged. American Consulate officials have twice visited Savoie, who also has a Japanese lawyer.

Additionally, via the US Consulate-Fukuoka website, it should also be noted that:

Retired Ambassador Maura Harty, now the Senior Policy Director of The International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, spoke at the Fukuoka American Center on the battle against child pornography and child abduction.

On the topic of child abduction, Ambassador Harty told the story of a two-year old girl who was abducted by her father from Tokyo to California without informing her Japanese mother. Under the Hague Convention on Child Abduction, the California judge determined jurisdiction of the case to be Japan and ordered the little girl’s return. Japan has yet to sign or ratify the Convention, explained Ambassador Harty, a step that would make favorable outcomes like this more likely in future cases.

Click here to read the Joint Press Statement by the U.S., Canada, France, and the U.K calling for Japan to accede to the Hague Convention on Child Abduction.

I wonder if the Consul for Public Affairs, an African-American (Tracy L. Taylor), will give a statement?

Update via CNN Blog:

  • Christopher Savoie became Japanese citizen four years ago, authorities say
  • Savoie’s marriage to Noriko Savoie never annulled in Japan, officials say
  • Children in custody dispute hold Japanese passports
  • Christopher Savoie being held in Japanese jail

One Comment

  1. K K

    What he did was wrong, how he did it was wrong. But if those were my kids and my wife, ex or not, died. I don’t know what I would do if someone told me I couldn’t have my children.

    Unless there is some deep seated problem. He should of has custody of his children. This rips my heart apart. Nowhere do I see this really being about the children. They are human beings not possessions. It is not fair to them. As long as both parents are good, sound individuals they both should play a role in their development.

    This just makes me really upset.

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