Japan: One of the worst nations in the world for child abduction.
The above image was provided by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Note: The first image shows a xenophobic Japanese child surrounded by foreign children all with big noses. The image below it shows a foreign man being arrested for committing a crime against a child. The middle image shows a Japanese woman in financial ruin because she married a foreigner, and is unable to provide for her daughter. The top right image shows a foreign male abducting his daughter, with the Japanese mother pleading for her return. The image below that shows a foreign male beating a defenseless child, taken from her mother who remains in Japan. This despicably racist propaganda was designed to aid the Japanese in understanding the implications of Japan ratifying The Hague Convention on Child Abduction. This twisted message exposes the depths of depravity Japanese officials are known for, and the irrational message they desire to portray to their own citizens. In reality, it’s the Japanese that abuse, and abduct children, more than just about any other nation.
Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi married Kayoko Miyamoto in 1978. The following year the U.S. Congressional Subcommittee on International Child Abduction had its first hearing. Japan was one of the nations of main concern during that hearing. Koizumi’s marriage would end four years later in divorce. However, prior to the termination of the failed marriage, the couple had two sons, Kotaro, and Shinjiro.
It’s often said that in Japan custody of the children always go to the mother. The father almost always voluntarily cut ties with his children, and forever. While those in the west would find this arrangement appalling, Japan continues to pretend that this is perfectly acceptable conduct. In the case of Koizumi, his families political connections, along with Japan’s notoriously corrupt judiciary awarded sole custody of both sons to him, allowing his ex-wife sole custody of the six month, unborn fetus that she was carrying at the time of the marriage dissolution. Yoshinaga Miyamoto was born three months later. He became the third son of man who would be prime minister, and to this day has yet to meet his father, who has never acknowledged him. The divorce terms forbade contact between the mother, and her one, and four-year-old children who in reality were abducted from her by Koizumi. Neither of her abducted sons have ever met with their mother again, even though they live less than an hour away from one another. In an article for the L.A. Times Miyamato said, “I’ve been hoping to be reunited with my sons for nineteen years. All I can do is wait.” It’s been thirteen years since that story was published in 2002. The following is a link to that article: http://articles.latimes.com/2001/oct/02/news/mn-52341.
When Yoshinaga was newly born, Koizumi failed in a planned abduction attempt of his third son. When he was pressed on the issue Koizumi responded with speech characteristic of political jargon, stating, “It’s a matter of privacy, I’d like to refrain from commenting. However, I thank the Japanese public for entrusting the important duty of prime minister to a divorced politician. I feel a change flowing in Japanese society.” Change occurred indeed. Across Japan the rate of divorce skyrocketed. So did the rate of child abductions.
Kotaro, and Shinjiro are now both adults. One is an aspiring politician; the other is a talentless pop star. Although Yoshinaga has never met his famous father, he somehow admires the man, and continues to hope that one day he would be able to meet him. For Kayoko, seeing her abducted son plastered on billboards, advertisements, and performing on TV shows is too much for her to endure. Yoshinaga became a fixture on morning talk shows with his repeated pleas to meet with his father entirely ignored. Silence! That’s how Japan deals with that myriad of social injustices, and morally reprehensible conduct that continues to plague the nation.
The former prime minister is a man who intentionally, and irresponsibly shirked his duty to raise a son, who loved him unconditionally. Regardless, during Koizumi’s televised campaign for the prime minister’s seat, Yoshinaga, who was a young boy at the time, would be heard by his mother shouting, “Come on, Pop, win this one!” Sadly, those shouts would be absorbed by the wind!
One thing Koizumi, and Jong-il have in common is that they’re both child abductors.
After Koizumi won the office of prime minister, on September 17th, 2002, he visited North Korea to meet with Kim Jong-il to address the issue of Japan’s claim that North Korean agents had abducted hundreds of Japanese citizens, to train spies so they could communicate in Japanese, and to understand the culture. Unlike Koizumi, and every prime minister that would follow in his footsteps, North Korea would admit culpability to a handful of abductions, apologize, and return five victims. Japan, on the other hand has never acknowledged any of the thousands of kidnappings its responsible for, and has yet to return any of the known victims that have been abducted from nearly every nation on the face of the planet. In the U.S. alone, and ever since congress began holding hearings on child abductions, those kidnappings amount to more than four thousand.
A celebrated history of child abduction
Japan’s first shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu whose descendants ruled Japan until the Meiji Restoration, was a victim of numerous abductions. Ieyasu was the son of Matsudaira Hirotada, the daimyo of Mikawa of the Matsudaira clan, and Odai-no-kata, the daughter of a neighboring samurai lord, Mizuno Tadamasa. The majority of Ieyasu’s family had ties with the Imagawa clan. Family feuding over regional pacts resulted in the murder of Ieyasu’s paternal grandfather. Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty, and grandson of Ieyasu ruled from 1623 until 1651. Iemitsu was responsible for shutting off relations between Japan, and the rest of the world for two centuries. In the process, Iemitsu destroyed thousands of families, separating fathers, and mothers from their children by not allowing Japanese citizens who were overseas to return home, under the threat of execution. This decree commonly called the Sakoku Policy did not only affect Japanese families, foreigners caught up in the irrational decree were also forbidden to leave Japan, thereby affectively cutting them off from reunification with their wives, and children as well.
The abductions of Ieyasu
In 1548, when the Oda clan invaded Mikawa, Hirotada, Ieyasu’s father turned to Imagawa Yoshimoto, the head of the Imagawa clan for help to repel the invading forces. Yoshimoto agreed to help under the condition that Hirotada sent Ieyasu to Senpu, where he would be held as a hostage to assure Ieyasu’s father remained loyal to Imagawa. Hirotada agreed to this unconscionable term. Oda Nobuhide, the leader of the Oda clan learned of this arrangement, and had Ieyasu abducted while he was en route to Sunpu. Ieyasu was merely six years old at the time. Nobuhide threatened to execute the child unless his father severed all ties with the Imagawa clan. Hirotada replied that sacrificing his son’s life showed his determination to remain loyal to the Imagawa clan. Despite Hirotada’s refusal, Nobuhide chose not to murder Ieyasu, but instead held him hostage for the next three years at the Manshoji Temple in Nagoya. Ieyasu would never be reunited with his father, or mother ever again.
By 1549, when Ieyasu was seven years old, his father died of natural causes. At about that same time, Oda Nobuhide died during an epidemic outbreak. The death of Nobuhide weakened the Oda clan. Imagawa Sessai sent an army to lay siege on the castle where Nobuhide’s first son now ruled. With the castle about to fall, Sessai offered a deal to Nobuhide’s second son, Nobunaga. He promised to end the siege if Ieyasu was handed over to the Imagawa clan. Nobunaga agreed. Ieyasu was once again abducted, and taken to Sunpu, his original abduction destination. There the boy was held hostage until the age of fifteen when his abductor passed away.
I had a chance to visit Ieyasu’s remains, which are housed in a lavish shrine in Tochigi Prefecture. I had gone to Tochigi to write an article for Tokyo Weekender on Nikko’s National Park in autumn. The following is a link to that article: http://tokyoweekender.com/2012/11/nikko-in-autumn. I shrugged off taking the time out of my schedule to visit Ieyasu’s final resting place. I was not interested in visiting the grave of man who through fraud had faked his own royal lineage to persuade Kyoto’s religious leaders to sanction his appointment to shogunate.
Today, Ieyasu is celebrated as the man who ended Japan’s Warring State Era. In reality, Ieyasu, and his offspring were mass murderers; sociopaths responsible for the destruction, and pillage of an entire nation, as well as the continued policy of abducting children to ensure the Tokugawa’s remained in power. Ieyasu was also responsible for the mass beheadings of those who sought refuge in Osaka Castle when he took siege against a child he had sworn an oath to protect. The Tokugawa’s were also responsible for the genocide of Christians who joined forces with peasant farmers known as the Shimabara Uprising. Both Christians, and peasants were executed en masse because they refused to bow to the Tokugawa’s as deities, and refused to pay excessive taxes, that in reality were causing the peasants, and their children to starve to death.
No doubt Ieyasu’s childhood trauma played a significant role in his inability to understand the importance of family relations, and his vow to protect an innocent child that was incapable of protecting itself. Ieyasu would write the Buddha’s name ten thousand times in an attempt to absolve himself of the lack of integrity that was a clear part of his character. He could have written the Buddha’s name a million times, it wouldn’t change the fact that he was a liar, and a murderer of children who were incapable of defending themselves. Ieyasu’s lack of integrity remains an inherent aspect of the Japanese mindset, as Japan continues to dishonor international treaties the nation has ratified, including The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
Regarding the folklore, and myth known as the Japanese honor code, made famous in books, poetry, and movies, it holds no real position in factual history. There simply is nothing honorable when it comes to the nation’s refusal to address the myriad of child abductions that continue to stain the nation’s xenophobic reputation. Unfortunately, that lack of integrity, and the lack of honor is the true “way” of the Japanese, where the samurai, or “warrior” code has long been exposed as for what it really is, a fallacy.
A painting of Tokugawa Ieyasu, Japan’s first shogunate, and victim of multiple abductions as a child.
Japan’s irrational ideology on child abduction
U.S. congressional committees on international child abduction have been going on since 1979. With Japan being one of the most egregious violators in bilateral relations regarding this subject matter. H.R. 3212 was passed into law in the U.S. to ensure nations complied with the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction by countries with which the U.S. enjoys reciprocal obligations to establish procedures for the prompt return of children abducted to other countries, and to impose stiff sanctions on nations that do not comply with this law. Japan signed this agreement in April of 2014, and is subject to sanctions as a result of being in violation of these terms.
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ) spent five years fighting for the passage of a law known as The Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2014. Smith stated, “Many children, and parents have tragically lost years separated from each other in violation of U.S., and international law,” He added, “They have missed birthdays, holidays, and family time that they can never get back. H.R. 3212 ensures that they will now receive significant help from the U.S. government in their fights to recover their children. Every day a child is separated from his or her rightful parent, and home in the United States brings immense suffering to both parent, and child. The Goldman Act is designed to right the terrible wrong of international child abduction, and heal enormous pain, and suffering, and bring abducted children home.”
More than one thousand international child abductions are reported to the State Department’s Office on Children’s Issues each year. Between 2008, and 2013, at least 8,000 American children were abducted, according to the State Department. Earlier this year, the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children reported that there have been at least 168 international child abductions from New Jersey alone since 1995.
In a March 2015 hearing on Capitol Hill, Congressman Smith stated that, “Japan is breathtakingly unresponsive on U.S. child abductions.” He called for immediate sanctions. Smith stated that unless sanctions are imposed, which are the consequences of The Goldman Act, for non-compliance, the law would be toothless. Smith called on Tokyo to comply with its international obligations.
Despite Japan ratifying the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, it has yet to comply with any aspects of the treaty regarding the return of the more than four hundred known U.S. cases of child abduction. The accord requires the Japanese government to set up processes for legal appeals from foreign parents seeking either visitation or the return of their children to the country where those children were abducted. Ironically, Japan has used the treaty to have five children returned to Japan, yet continues to fail to acknowledge parental rights abroad, even where abductors have been placed on Interpol, and the FBI’s Most Wanted List. This double standard is repugnant, and harmful to international relations, and national security. Further, Japan has received sixty-seven requests for the return of abducted children since ratifying The Hague terms, from the U.S. alone, and has yet to take any action. As of this writing, the FBI Most Wanted List include Japanese child abductors, Ryoko Uchiyama, and Reiko Nakata Greenberg-Collins both have international warrants out for their arrests.
There are currently more than four hundred known cases of children kidnapped to Japan since 1994 from the U.S., a number Smith called “unconscionable.” What is equally unconscionable is during that same hearing on Capitol Hill, Representative Smith requested the actual number of children returned from Japan to the U.S. Susan Jacobs, the Special Advisor for Children’s Issues at the State Department responded by saying, that she didn’t know representative Smith was going to “ask for numbers.” Smith ridiculed Jacobs for not having that information readily available. The truth is that Jacobs knew exactly what those numbers were. None! No child has been returned to the U.S., which proves that Jacobs is entirely inept in handling the responsibilities of the position that she holds, and should be removed from office for gross incompetence, and for failing to take adequate steps to address this with Japanese officials. Ridiculously, Jacobs would also state, “I talked to Ambassador Kennedy yesterday, and she is energized and she is ready to launch.” Kennedy has been the Ambassador to Japan since November 2013. Did it really take this long to get energized on one of the major topics of friction between U.S., and Japanese relations? Jacob’s empty rhetoric has been going on for several years now. Smith was obviously frustrated at Jacob’s inability to understand the gravity of the situation. Jacobs would then tell Smith that she “shared his frustration”, and was planning to visit Japan in June, where she, and Ambassador Kennedy would discuss the annual report with Japanese officials.
In 2013, Representative Cardin (Maryland), of the Foreign Relations Committee spoke to Kennedy on the topic of child kidnapping, and Japan, and the four hundred pending cases of American abductions. Mr. Cardin asked Kennedy if she would use her office to help resolve those open cases. Kennedy stated, “As a parent I certainly understand the emotional aspect of this issue,” and “That everyone at the State Department is really committed to making that happen, and to bring these issues forward, and resolve these cases.” This comment was made nearly two years ago, yet Kennedy has not taken any steps in dealing with this matter. Kennedy did Tweet regarding other inhumane conduct the Japanese engage in, and which is internationally condemned, the Taiji dolphin slaughter.
Cases of child abductions prior to April 2014 fall outside of the scope of The Hague Agreement on child abductions, which Smith blasted as outrageous. Parents in those situations may still apply to Japan for visitation rights, but almost no parent has ever received such rights, and when they do, they are treated as if they are an imprisoned felon, with police, lawyers, Japanese officials, and the other bawling, and objecting parent in a separate adjacent room doing their best to interrupt the reunion, while all view the short visitation through one-way glass. Children who haven’t seen their non-abducting parent in several months, to several years, and probably have been brainwashed with horror stories, and may no longer be unable to communicate in their native tongue, no doubt would cry due to the high level of stress associated with the circumstance. If they appear detached, Japanese officials take that as a sign that the child wants nothing to do with the non-abducting parent. Anyone that has obtained even basic child psychology knowledge would immediately recognize that a child who had been separated from their parent for such a long time, needed an adequate adjustment period, and most likely psychological counseling as well. Thirty minutes or so just doesn’t equate as an adequate parent-child reunion.
Is the State Department assisting parents in the return of their abducted child?
Unfortunately, history has taught us that if anyone wants to get something accomplished, they have to take matters into their own hands. The recent action of the State Department proves that if the U.S. government is not willing to assist citizens whose lives are in peril in Yemen, they certainly aren’t going to aid someone to get their abducted child back, despite laws that are written regarding the scope, and degree of the State Department’s duties in such matters. U.S. citizens stranded in Yemen had to resort to filing a lawsuit against the Department of State for abandoning them. Meanwhile, other countries including, China, Russia, and India, have conducted large-scale evacuations, including aiding in evacuating numerous U.S. citizens.
On August 24th, 2011, 14 year-old Mary Lake, a U.S. citizen, who was kidnapped by her mother, and taken to Japan in 2005, in one of the most high-profile international kidnapping cases in U.S. history, walked into the U.S. consulate in Osaka, and asked to be rescued, after being held captive in Japan for six years. Indifferent, and incompetent consular staff refused to aid in the child’s rescue, and instead sent her back to her kidnapper. Mary’s father, William Lake, would later be informed of his daughter’s attempted rescue by caseworker Virginia Vause from the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues. Lake would learn that the consular office attempted to make only one call to him at his residence. They didn’t leave a voice message, nor did they contact him on his cell phone, or send an email. When Lake brought up the issue of why his daughter was turned away, he was told that the consulate would not assist in his daughter’s escape because they needed to have his written authorization to take her into custody. Furthermore, if his daughter were taken into custody the consulate would have to assign a staff member to stay with her until she was returned to the U.S., an inconvenience that the State Department refused to accept. They also required an agreement in advance for Lake to repay any airfare costs. This was the third episode of gross negligence on the part of the Department of State toward Lake, and his daughter. Twice previously they illegally issued passports for his daughter without obtaining his required signature, even after it had been established that her father was the lawful parent, and the mother was wanted for kidnapping. Generally, all cases involve at least one parent who is Japanese. In Lake’s case, neither the victims, nor the abducting mother are Japanese. It’s should be harshly apparent when it comes to the crime of child abduction that the Department of State clearly values the relations with foreign nations over the safety, well-being, and lives of U.S. citizens being held captive in Japan.
Jeffrey Morehouse has spoken on Capitol Hill numerous times regarding child abduction. He was granted sole custody of his son in 2007 due to his former wife’s alcohol abuse, psychological issues, violence, and because she was a flight risk. Restraining orders against the mother traveling with their son were in place when she fraudulently obtained a passport from the Japanese consulate in Portland, after being turned away in Seattle. U.S. consular officials have refused numerous requests to pursue prosecution, and adamantly refuse to aid in the return of Morehouse’s son based on his former spouse’s violation of both Japanese, and U.S. laws regarding child abduction. Since Morehouse’s son was abducted, all communication ceased between them. The boy’s whereabouts, mental, and physical condition remain unknown. In March 2014 Morehouse was granted sole custody by a Japanese court. Yet, he still has no contact with his son, and has no knowledge as to where he is being held. Morehouse operates an organization called BACHome: Bring Abducted Children Home. In the following link, Morehouse testifies before a congressional hearing that took place in March of 2015, regarding child abduction, Japan’s ratification of The Hague Convention on Child Abduction, The Goldman Act, the facts regarding the disappearance of his son, as well as the imposition of sanctions on Japan: https://youtube.com/watch?v=4eHITnrRMFA.
On March 11th, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed House Resolution 125 by a vote of 418-0, condemning Japan for its actions on International Child Abduction. This congressional resolution described Japan as “a United States ally which does not recognize intra-familial child abduction as a crime, and though its family laws do not discriminate by nationality, Japanese courts give no recognition to the parental rights of the non-Japanese parent, fail to enforce U.S. court orders relating to child custody or visitation, and place no effective obligation on the Japanese parent to allow parental visits for their child.”
On May 21st, 2009, the U.S., the UK, France, and Canada released a joint press statement condemning Japan for it’s inaction regarding international child abduction, and called on Japan to sign the Hague Convention. These four nations acting with one voice stated, “left-behind parents of children abducted to or from Japan have little realistic hope of having their children returned, and encounter great difficulties in obtaining access to their children, and exercising their parental rights, and responsibilities.” These countries urged Japan “to identify, and implement measures to enable parents who are separated from their children to maintain contact with them, and to visit them,” and described the “failure to develop tangible solutions to most cases of parental child abduction in Japan particularly troubling.”
On July 13th 2003, Erika Toland was abducted from her home at Negishi Navy Family Housing in Yokohama, Japan. Her mother, the abductor, Etsuko Toland, subsequently died of suicide on October 31st, 2007. Since the death of the child’s mother, her maternal grandmother, Akiko Futagi, has refused Erika any contact with her father. The child’s father is, Commander Paul Toland, a highly decorated U.S. Naval officer. Since his daughter’s abduction he has been trying to see Erika, to no avail. On June 25th, 2009, Congressman Chris Smith discussed Erika’s case on the floor of the House of Representatives. He stated, “The international movement of our service members make them especially vulnerable to the risks of international child abduction. Attorneys familiar with this phenomenon estimate that there are approximately 25 to 30 new cases of international child abductions affecting U.S. service members every year.”
More than a decade later, Erika remains held as a hostage from her father, as government officials tasked with the duty to address these issues remain staggeringly indifferent. Toland has spent his life savings trying to have his daughter returned to him. His Japanese attorney told him via email, “Please understand that your case is not a piece of cake due to the racism, and irrationality of the Japanese legal system. It might be like defending the Taliban in the U.S.” Toland said while speaking at a congressional hearing, “I flew to Japan, and waited on a street corner to greet Erika on her way home from school, because this is the only contact with dignity that is possible. I knew that if I had tried to take Erika to the embassy, and attempted to get a passport, I would likely meet the same fate as Christopher Savoie, when he attempted to retrieve his children from Japan. I would likely be blocked at the gates of the embassy by a state department that was more interested in preserving a relationship with Japan, over the welfare of U.S. citizens. I’d likely end up in a Japanese jail, as Christopher Savoie did.
In the following link, Navy Commander Toland testifies before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C. on December 2nd, 2009: https://youtube.com/watch?t=23&v=f9lfTWFX0f8.
The Department of State and Japan’s nuclear debacle
After the third nuclear explosion at the Daiichi Nuclear Facility in Namie, Fukushima, the U.S. consulate finally made the determination that American citizens were in peril. If U.S. citizens wanted to leave the country, they could board planes that were available at Narita airport. At the time I was appearing on MSNBC with Brian Williams, and my photography, and videography was appearing in several media outlets. I contacted the U.S. Embassy, and inquired into the conditions for U.S. citizens to board one of those planes. I stated that April was the beginning of the work year in Japan, and there were thousands of new teachers stranded, and probably unable to pay for flights back home, as they had just arrived, and most likely were recent university graduates. The embassy staff told me that if citizens were unable to pay for the flight back to the U.S., their passports would be confiscated, and unless they paid the State Department back the airfare, plus interest, they would never be allowed to leave the U.S. again. I was shocked, and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The entire nation was shut down including all forms of transportation, store shelves were empty, and Tokyo’s water spiked with high level of radiation contamination. It was finally disclosed that Daiichi was using MOX Fuel, and high levels of plutonium were released into the atmosphere, as Japanese officials played the silence game, telling everyone to remain calm, and that there was “no immediate threat to life.” Professor Koide from Kyoto University, a nuclear physicist, and long time adversary of the reckless, and grossly negligent energy company, TEPCO stated that the plutonium alone released from those three explosions were the equivalent to 200,000 Hiroshima bombs. I had a friend who had direct contact with Nancy Pelosi. I informed them what was happening, and they immediately notified her as to what the embassy was scheming in Tokyo. The next morning it was one of the top news story that Pelosi had gotten planes on Narita’s tarmac, and they were available for free to any U.S. citizen who wanted to leave the country. The threat of passport confiscation ended, as well as turning U.S. citizens into homeland prisoners due to no fault of their own.
The Department of State’s complicity in kidnapping children
Julian Assange’s trouble began when WikiLeaks released thousands of classified documents that exposed not only U.S. war crimes that were occurring in Iraq, but also diplomatic communications that were taking place at the State Department. I took an interest in the topic as most Americans did. The government’s position was that the release of those documents “placed American overseas in imminent danger.” Some of those documents I read exposed communications between U.S., and foreign diplomats, exposing U.S. involvement in the abduction of third world children, and turning them over to foreign diplomats, who were pedophiles, so those children could be used as sex slaves. In exchange for those “favors”, the foreign diplomats engaged in “international cooperation”, and assisted those U.S. officials who worked for the State Department in business transactions they would benefit from. None of those diplomats have ever been brought to trial, as they enjoy immunity from prosecution. Yet, Assange who exposed these outrageous crimes remains on self-imposed lockdown in the Ecuadorian Embassy of London, which is monitored around the clock by U.S., and UK government agents. Private Manning who turned over those documents to WikiLeaks was convicted for violating the Espionage Act, and sentenced to thirty five years imprisonment, forfeiture of all pay, and dishonorably discharged. Ironically, Assange, who is not a U.S. citizen, and who was guilty of nothing more than what the mass media often does, did exactly what the corporate media would have done with that information if it had been turned over to them, which was to publicly expose that very same information, except they would have profited nicely from it, and continued to enjoy their freedoms. American officials, and media hacks continue to call for Assange to be extradited for “aiding the enemy”, and for “treason”, a crime that is exclusively reserved for citizens of that country, which Assange isn’t.
Prejudicial double standards
Parental child abduction is not a crime when Japanese nationals do it, yet when foreigners attempt to have contact with their children it’s handled as a felony
Chris Savoie, who had custody of his two minor children left them with his former spouse Noriko for visitation purposes. That was the last time he would see them in the U.S. Noriko defied a Tennessee state court order, which barred her from leaving the state, and ordered her to turn over her passport to officials. This order occurred after Savoie received an email from her, which read, “It’s very hard to remain here watching my children lose their Japanese identity.” Savoie filed a restraining order. He subsequently contacted his former father in law, who told him the children were in Japan. Savoie’s only hope to ever see his children again was to go to Japan, and try to get them back in the same manner his former spouse had taken them. As his children were walking to school he placed them in his car, and drove off to the U.S. Embassy. The media would say that the Japanese police arrested Savoie as he was about to enter the American consulate. But, the true facts are the U.S. Embassy officials turned Savoie over to the Japanese police, who treated the case as a kidnapping. Savoie struggled with Japanese police, who literally ripped the terrified, and screaming children from his arms. Savoie was handcuffed in front of his children, and taken into custody at one of Japan’s notorious Daiyo Kangoku detention centers where the use of torture, and coerced confessions are daily matters with corrupt police, prosecutors, and a judiciary that sanctions all of it. Savoie was charged with abduction of a minor, and faced five years in prison for merely attempting to enforce a U.S. custody order. Savoie’s story was the last one that made international headlines regarding Japan, and child abduction. International, legal, and media pressure forced the prosecutors to release Savoie who returned home, and filed a false imprisonment action against his former wife. Savoie was awarded a 6.1M verdict. He said the money was a hollow victory. “Anything about this just reopens a lot of wounds. It’s bittersweet.” Savoie said he hasn’t been allowed to speak to his children in more than a year. That was back in 2011. “At the end of the day, I’d much rather have one afternoon in the park with my kids than one penny of this judgment.”
The return of an abducted child to the U.S.
No thanks to any intervention on the part of the State Department, Caroline Kennedy, or Susan Jacobs, one Japanese abductor got a taste of American style justice.
Emiko Inoue being led into court where she faced 25 years for child abduction.
Emiko Inoue thought she was clever when she abducted Moises Garcia’s daughter Katrina to Japan. After three years, and only one visit with his daughter in Japan, Garcia caught a break. His ex-wife flew from Japan to Hawaii to renew her U.S. green card. Inoue was unaware that her U.S. immigration file had been flagged because of a Wisconsin arrest warrant issued a few months earlier. Inoue was arrested, and extradited to Milwaukee, a city she once called home, where Karina was born, and where she, and Garcia were married. Milwaukee prosecutors ordered Inoue to return Garcia’s daughter to the U.S. within 30 days, or risk spending the next twenty-five years in prison. After eight months in prison she plead no-contest to felony child custody interference by a parent for fleeing America with Garcia’s daughter. Karina, was six at the time, and Inoue’s decision to circumvent U.S. family court set in motion an unprecedented criminal case, making her the first Japanese citizen to be arrested in the U.S. for child custody interference. It’s a felony in most states, but not considered a crime in Japan, unless the parent happens to be non-Japanese. Garcia gained full custody of Karina shortly after Inoue left the country in 2008. Eventually, he would also be granted full custody by a Japanese court, although it would reverse that decision, saying it was in the best interest of the child to remain in Japan.
Garcia successfully convinced the Milwaukee prosecutor’s office that although he had legal custody in both countries, there was no way for him to get his daughter back or even get visitation rights. The Milwaukee police department then issued a warrant for Inoue’s arrest in February of 2011, even though it was unlikely that Japan would agree to extradite her to face felony parental child abduction charges in the U.S. Unlike Japan’s Ministry of Justice, known for its corrupt, and prejudicial determinations against foreign nationals, the prosecutors in Inoue’s case allowed her to remain in the U.S., instead of deporting her for having a felony conviction. Inoue could also travel freely outside of the country with permission from the court, but not with her daughter. Inoue’s attorney in Japan, Haruki Maeda, said that Inoue only “very reluctantly” agreed to the deal. Under the plea bargain Katrina was sent back to her father, who had remarried. Maeda questioned whether, “Separating Katrina from her mother, and forcing her to live with her father, and stepmother, will lead to the well-being of the child?” Unlike in Japan, where a child has no right to make any self determination, in the U.S., when Karina turns twelve, she has the right to tell a U.S. judge what parent she desires to live with.
Garcia arranged for a Japanese tutor for his daughter, and for psychological counseling to help her cope with the transition. On the other hand, foreign parents that haven’t had any contact with their abducted children have noted that, when they do manage to obtain contact, the child can no longer communicate with them, and that no measures were taken to ensure the child smoothly integrated into Japanese society, which in reality calls children with two nationality parents, “hafus”, racist jargon meaning the child is somehow defective because they are not fully Japanese. Another well-known fact about Japan is that Japanese children will almost never associate with hafus, who suffer varying degrees of bullying, and are ostracized by Japanese children who can only learn such level of xenophobia, ignorance, and hatred from the parents who raised them that way.
Are parents of abducted children doing enough to gain custody, or visitation rights with their children?
From The Shadows is a documentary film highlighting several parents who have had their children abducted to Japan, including Paul Toland, and Regan Haight. I’ve contacted the producer, and directors Matt Antell, and David Hearn numerous times attempting to receive a viewer copy of the film for this article. I’ve never received a response from either of them, and the website http://fromtheshadowsfilm.com doesn’t seem to be a valid link. I can’t find this documentary anywhere, and it seems those that took the effort to produce it don’t consider it important enough to promote it. Another film titled, Sayanara Baby, which is an Australian News Special can be found online. The following is a link to the film: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNDA2MzE2Nzcy.html.
Regan Haight, a mother of two who’s featured in both documentaries mentioned above was married to Shuta, Japanese national. Haight returned home one day to find her children, and her husband gone. He abducted the children to Japan, and they weren’t ever going to return. Haight soon discovered that Japan, which claims to always award custody to the mother, wasn’t about to here her legal argument. The perverted Japanese family courts are always stacked heavily against those who are not Japanese, and those who are not the abductor. The Japanese officials sided with her former spouse, the abductor of her two children. Haight turned to a former British military special forces operative, Steve Johnson who is known in the business as a child recovery specialist. Johnson told Haight that Japan has the reputation of being impossible to recover children from. Johnson joined Haight in Japan, and Shuta claimed the children had been abducted a second time by their Japanese grandmother who was holding them for ransom. Haight said “At one point she told me that I had to sign over the house, and that I could see the kids. So, I did that. Then she wouldn’t let me see them. Next, we had to pay her fifty thousand dollars to see the kids. I didn’t have that money.”
The legal definition of kidnapping is the unlawful carrying away of a person against their will, usually to hold them for ransom, or in furtherance of another crime. Shuta, and his mother engaged in a conspiracy to extort as much as they could from the grieving mother. Captured on videotape, the children’s father was handed an ultimatum from Johnson, release the children to Haight or the matter would be turned over to the media, the police, and Interpol. Shuta, and his mother, realizing that they could be imprisoned for criminal extortion, and kidnapping, turned the children over to Haight. Today, the children enjoy a safe, and loving relationship with their mother. Haight is the only woman who has ever succeeded in having her children returned from Japan, a nation that would rather protect kidnappers, and extortion conspirators, than to protect abducted children who are in imminent danger, while being held for ransom. Japanese officials never brought charges against the criminal monsters the children had previously called, Otousan (father), and Obaachan (grandmother).
Australian Chayne Inaba, a trauma medical specialist had been battling the system in Japan to gain access to his daughter Ai. He tried to negotiate with his wife, and her family for visitataionrights, but they threatened him with violence if he didn’t stay away from her. One evening upon returning home from work, Chayne was attacked from behind in his own home, and beaten nearly to death with a brick. “I walked inside, closed the door, walking down towards the living room and I was attacked by a brick from the bathroom. I had two black eyes, skull fractures, a lot of damage”. Chayne has strong suspicions about who was responsible, and the message they were trying to send. “There’d be major problems if I went to the house where my daughter is being held. The police would be involved, a lot of nasty things would happen.” “The brick had skin, hair, and blood on it, and (the police) told the Australian consulate that the brick wasn’t the weapon”.
Craig Morrey, a man who defines the word hero perhaps more than any other person in the history of humankind became a single parent, sacrificing everything to care for his profoundly disabled son, after his pregnant wife ran off. She abandoned her disabled son, and abducted the healthy child, with no intention to ever allow Morrey into the child’s life. Morrey first saw his infant daughter in a courtroom when she had already reached six months of age. Morrey was attempting to gain visitation rights to his daughter. Although Morrey’s wife had abandoned her fist child, the Japanese court awarded her sole custody of Morrey’s daughter. The following link provides more information about Dr. Morrey: http://childrenfirst.jp/content/dr-craig-e-morrey. Dr. Morrey also operates a website in honor of his children, and other children that have been abused by Japan’s morally bankrupt judiciary: Forever Your Father. The following link is a CNN article about the life of Dr. Morrey, and the son he cherishes, Spencer: U.S. Father’s Japanese Custody Heartache.
After nineteen years in Japan, Alex Kahney packed his bags to return to the UK, leaving behind everything he cared for, which were his two beautiful daughters who were abducted by their Japanese mother. “I thought she can’t kidnap my kids, I’ll just go to the police. The first two or three months I was shattered, the first six months I was numb. I’ve been disowned. I might as well be a ghost.” In the documentary, Sayonara Baby, it’s painful to watch Kahney attempt to speak to his two daughters who were clearly being brainwashed to fear their father, and who are seen running away from him as they walk home from school. Two children that once adored their father were being taught by their Japanese mother to hate, and fear the man that spent years trying to regain them into his life, and to be the father that he always wanted to be for them. The following link is a BBC article on the ongoing plight of Mr. Kahney: http://bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-12358440.
Support groups for parents of abducted children
Bruce Gherbetti is the father of three children who were abducted to Japan in 2009. Since that time, he has moved to Japan to maintain contact with his children. He has also helped to form two organizations to fight for children’s rights in Japan, and has lobbied Diet members including former Justice Minister Satsuki Eda. Apparently, his efforts have been fruitless. Regardless, he presses on. The following link is a website Mr. Gherbetti operates in honor of his son: Bring Sean Home Foundation.
John Gomez, chairman of Kizuna Child-Parent Reunion, a group of Japanese, and non-Japanese parents, friends, and supporters advocate for the right of children to have access to both parents. Mr. Gomez understands that Japan simply ratifying the Hague Convention will not solve anything if the nation continues to take a one-sided approach to domestic custodial rights. The Kizuna Child-Parent Reunion website is located at: http://kizuna-cpr.org.
Eric Kalmus helps to operate Children’s Rights Network. The website is located at the following link, and is major source of exposing Japanese injustice: http://crnjapan.net. Kalmus’ endless work related to child abduction matters resulted in his own daughter, who had been abducted, discovering his work online, reuniting with him shortly thereafter. Update: Eric’s hard work, and constant vigil paid off when his daughter contacted him via email. She had just turned eighteen, and searched the internet for information about her father, and was dumbstruck to learn that he had been trying to locate her for her entire life. The kidnapped child of Kalmus explained to her father that the abductor, her mother, had always said that he had died. This is probably the story told to most abducted children in Japan.
It took thirty two years for Yoko Ono to be reunited with her kidnapped daughter. During the period when Richard Nixon was attempting to have John Lennon deported permanently from the U.S., the famous couple was enduring another legal battle, and that was over the abduction of her daughter, Kyoko. The children’s Rights Network has posted a link to that story here. John, and Yoko discuss the kidnapping on the David Cavett show, and videos of this interview can be found on YouTube.
Applicable U.S. laws
A 1993 U.S. federal law makes it a crime to prevent a person from exercising their parental rights by removing a child from the U.S. or keeping a child outside the country. A federal grand jury in Virginia charged Benda’s former wife with kidnapping, a felony offense that carried with it a penalty of up to three years in prison, or a $250,000 fine. Japan refused to extradite the abductor stating that it does not treat parental child kidnapping as a criminal offense, and is not covered under the U.S.-Japan extradition treaty.
Article 766 of the Civil Law, revised in 2011 specifies that visitation rights, child-support payments, and other matters must take into consideration the welfare of the child first.
Section 19 of The Goldman Act addresses pattern of noncompliance, and defines the term pattern of noncompliance as the persistent failure to inter alia, abide by provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention, and where thirty percent or more of the total abduction cases in such country are unresolved, and where the judicial or administrative branch of the national government of a Convention country or a bilateral procedures country fails to regularly implement, and comply with the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention or bilateral procedures, and where law enforcement authorities regularly fail to enforce return orders or determinations of the right of access rendered by the judicial or administrative authorities of the government of the country in abduction cases.
Under Title II of The Goldman Act, Subsection, Actions by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State has an obligation to promote the best interest of the abducted children, and to ensure enforcement for their prompt return. It’s been over a year since Japan joined the rest of the G8 nations regarding The Hague. Japan’s dawdling can no longer be tolerated. Sec. 202 of The Goldman Act addresses nations such as Japan that are in noncompliance with the terms of international child abduction. Actions that must be taken by the State Department include public condemnation, delay or cancellation in bilateral working, official, or state visits, withdrawal, limitation, or suspension of United States development assistance in accordance with section 116 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, withdrawal, limitation, or suspension of United States security assistance in accordance with section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, a formal request to the foreign country concerned to extradite an individual who is engaged in abduction and who has been formally accused of, charged with, or convicted of an extraditable offense. Currently, Susan Jacobs, and John Kerry are in the position to handle the abduction issues, and both are well aware of them, yet neither has taken any action to aid U.S. citizens to have their children who were kidnapped returned to them. These useless career politicians need to resign, and get out of the way. There is however, one champion in Washington that has the best interest of the abducted children at heart, and that is Representative Chris Smith from New Jersey, who, for years has been a thorn in the side of nations like Japan.
Japan’s racist immigration policies and the deportation of responsible parents
”Dear Walter, please forgive me for leaving you this way,” read the note from Walter Benda’s Japanese wife. Benda’s unsuccessful efforts to get information from his wife’s family, the Japanese police, and his children’s schools, left him feeling as if he was trapped in a Kafka novel. After months of unsuccessfully searching for the whereabouts of his children, his visa expired, and he was forced to return to the U.S. Mr. Benda, and Brian Thomas, a Welshman involved in a similar abduction case, began fighting back. They identified a dozen cases of child abduction by Japanese parents. In most cases, they were Japanese women married to foreigners, but there were also several involving Japanese men, and foreign wives.
Deportation laws are often what former Japanese spouses rely on to get the other parent out of the way, and Japanese authorities are more than willing to accommodate. Deportation proceedings mean the children’s foreign parents may never be allowed to return to Japan. These “legal” measures are criminal, and violate human rights, and the right of parents, and children to be able to continue in their relationship undisturbed by a vindictive former spouse, or racist, segregationist, immigration policies. Just as in the days of the Tokugawa’s, Japan continues to act as a vile, and repugnant isolationist state that seems to enjoy participating in the destruction of families, instead of preserving them, which is another farce the west has become accustomed to believe about the primitive, and world illiterate island nation.
Often the term “spirited away” is used to describe a child that has been kidnapped. Writers, and advocates should stop using this aesthetic term, and use kidnapping, and abduction because these are legal terms that don’t trivialize the severity of the unconscionable criminal conduct. “Left behind parent” should also not be used by writers, and advocates because hundreds of responsible, and caring parents were not forgotten about. Their child was kidnapped, often with the entire content of the home, and the emptying of the family bank accounts as well. The criminal perpetrators don’t just “leave behind” an unwilling participant, they attempt to entirely destroy that person, and the fundamental right they share with their child. This is a sure sign that the abductor is also engaging in systematic psychological abuse of the kidnapped child, and perhaps even physical violence. Terminology such as those stated above trivializes the harsh realities of child abduction, and they should no longer be associated with this form of criminal conduct.
The Civil Rights movement as the paradigm to address Japan’s unwillingness to end abductions
I’ve viewed numerous documentaries made on this topic. I’ve read countless articles, and interviewed scores of damaged parents who have lost their child due to abduction. I have watched hours of congressional hearings on international child abduction, and met with those at the forefront of the movement to end Japanese officials condoning conduct that violates international law. I have taken juvenile law, and family law courses in law school, and worked in both adult, and juvenile public defenders offices in southern California. I also worked at a family law clinic inside the Pomona Court while attending my final year of law school. Government officials, on either side of the issue are not doing enough, that, or they are not doing anything at all to help grieving parents to be reunited with children who each day grow further apart, due to the loss of communication, and physical closeness. The only recourse a non-abducting parent has is going the route Regan Haight did, hiring professionals to aid in the return of her children. Or is it? My suggestion to those whose children have been abducted is to follow the paradigm set by Martin Luther King. Fill Japan’s prisons with parents who are no longer willing to wait around for a disinterested third party to intervene.
If my child were abducted, I’d join ranks with approximately thirty other parents, and engage in collective civil disobedience. I’d prepare safe houses set up in various communities scattered about Japan where the children are being held. In groups of ten, I’d head for Japan, and I’d go after my child. I’d use whatever force was necessary to take back possession of my abducted child. If anyone failed, and the police got involved, I’d make sure to know enough Japanese language to inform them that this was a family matter, not a criminal matter, and remind the police what they have always claimed, which is that they have no jurisdiction over the matter. If the police arrested any of these individuals anyway, they’d be in good company, as certainly others in the group would be detained as well. I’d have a full statement prepared for the consulate officials, and the media. I’d have lawyers in the home country demanding the release of the children who are being held as hostages, and have those legal advocates demand the release of the parent who was being detained illegally. As soon as that first group’s story hit the media, I’d send a second wave of determined parents in another group of ten, and continue in the same manner. Surely, some would make it to safe houses, while those that were detained, and threatened with criminal prosecution, trained in civil disobedience, refused to participate in any police, or prosecutorial proceedings against them. This would place extreme external pressure on the humiliated Japanese officials, forcing them to finally kowtow, and address the international consternation, and political ramifications for failing to address the matter after signing the child abduction aspects of The Hague. I’d have the arrested parents go on a hunger strike, and refuse to submit to legal proceedings, staunchly claiming the nation had no subject matter jurisdiction over the matter. Collectively, these parents would demand Japanese officials release the whereabouts of every child that had been intentionally hidden from their non-abudcting parent. Finally, I’d send the third wave of parents, and initiate the same procedures, crushing Japan’s illegitimate claims of sovereignty over the fundamental rights of non-abducting parents, and their children who remained in hostile conditions of psychological, emotional, and possibly physical abuse by their abducting tormenters.
Japan is no Goliath. Japan is an occupied nation that is nearly always on the wrong side of international disputes. Japan has proven over the past seventy years that it cannot be trusted as an autonomous, and rational behaving nation, and should remain occupied perpetually, as a result.
There is nothing more powerful than the bond between a parent, and a child that relies on both parents for security, love, and assurance. I believe there is nothing more honorable than a parent who is willing to sacrifice their freedom, and go to prison for the right to hold their child in their arms again, and to let them know what they were willing to resort to in order to hear their voice again, to listen to their laughter, and to smell the scent of their hair, and the very breath that they breathed. I believe this is a parent’s ultimate duty. Those who sit overseas, licking their wounds, and endlessly copying, and pasting articles that we’ve all already read, to the few “friends” on Facebook that may, or may not even bother to look at them, will continue to wait as the years pass without any contact with their children who may no longer have the ability to communicate with them in their native tongue.
Preemptive protection of parental rights
Before marrying, and having children with a Japanese spouse, enter into a prenuptial agreement that include terms where neither parent could seek, or obtain sole custody of the children if the marriage were to be dissolved. Include a clause that states that neither party could abduct the children, nor prevent them from having access to the other parent. Include another clause that states, if the children were abducted by one parent, the non-abducting parent would determine, which country had both subject matter, and procedural jurisdiction over the issue. These kinds of agreements are binding in Japan, and western nations alike. Have two witnesses sign that agreement, and supply both parents with their own copy. Always obtain birth certificates for your children, and ensure they have citizenship in the non-Japanese parent’s country. Also, always have a valid passport for your child at all times.
I conclude this article with a conversation that I had with former public prosecutor Hiroshi Ichikawa. Ichikawa became infamous when he was working for the city of Yokohama as a public prosecutor. Ichikawa had threatened a foreigner with death if he did not sign a false confession that Ichikawa had prepared for him to sign. When this matter was exposed, Ichikawa faced criminal charges, and was forced to resign. After that, he found a conscience, and began to publicly speak against government corruption that exists in Japan’s Ministry of Justice, and the fact that foreigners are not considered human beings by Japan’s prosecutors, and judiciary. When we spoke he admitted that foreigners have no human rights in Japan, and prosecutors are taught this as part of their initial training. In fact, foreigners are not even considered human beings. Foreigners that have had their children abducted should drink deep from this filthy well of knowledge, and not subject themselves to any family court proceeding in Japan, due to the prejudicial nature of the proceedings that surely will follow. Finally, retired judge Hiroshi Segi who recently released a book exposing the depths of depravity, and corruption in Japan’s judiciary, said the entire Japanese legal system should be scrapped because of its inherent, and systematic flaws. Segi also stated that every prosecutor, and judge in the nation should be removed from office, and that Japan should follow the model of justice as proscribed in the U.S., and the UK. Perhaps then, parents, and their abducted children would finally have their fundamental human rights properly addressed in a court of law, and their pleas for reunion granted with a binding judicial decree, and the banging of a gavel.