Every Child

Has Two Parents


Aussie Dad loses kids after Grandma comes to town.  Wife lies when asked if they would return.


During the Christmas break of 2008/2009 my mother-in-law, Chieko Suzuki, came to Australia for a period of three weeks. A couple of days after my mother-in-law had returned to Japan I was told by my wife, Hiroko, that her mother had bought her and our two sons, Jake and Alex tickets to visit Japan for a holiday for two months. I told my wife that even though her mother had bought the tickets, we would not be able to afford such a holiday.

Furthermore, our eldest son Jake who was eight years old at the time, had school to attend and would soon be going up to Grade 3 in early February.  When I suggested that Jake should remain here in Australia in order to continue his schooling, my wife became extremely agitated and upset. My wife protested that her father and 93 year old grandmother were looking forward to seeing both our sons and that to prevent them from going would be selfish and cruel. She telephoned her mother and told her about my wishes to keep Jake and Alex in Australia. My wife then told me that her mother promised that they would only be in Japan for only two months and after that my wife and two sons would return. After further consideration I agreed that my wife would be able to take Jake and Alex so long as they would return to Australia after two months so Jake could start grade 3.


On January 26th I took my wife and two sons to the Gold Coast airport. Just prior to their departure, my wife told me that they would see me in two months time. A few days later when I telephoned, my wife’s attitude had completely changed. I was completely shocked and in disbelief when she told me that she and our sons would not be returning to Australia. She later stated that Jake, our eldest son, had already enrolled in school and that he was settled in Japan. However, according to his reports from his teachers at Caningeraba State School at Burleigh Waters where Jake had been attending since 2005, Jake had been making great progress with his studies, had many friends and was looking forward to starting grade 3 at the beginning of February.

To this day, I have tried to explain to my wife on several occasions that what she has done is not only damaging to our two son’s mental and emotional stability, but it is also abduction and that there are international laws in place to deal with this. However, I still believe that Hiroko does not realize the severity of her actions.

I have since been in contact with The Commonwealth Attorney Generals Department, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Government House Queensland, as well as Margaret May MP, who was the Federal Member for McPherson and who was of great assistance. I have also

been in contact with both Japanese Consulates in Melbourne and Brisbane who were no help whatsoever. 

In recent months I have also sent similar letters to

Ms Quentin Bryce AC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, who is the Patron in Chief of the National Federation of Australia-Japan Societies Inc., Stephen Smith, the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, who is a Patron of the National Federation of Australia-Japan Societies Inc., Ms Penelope Wensley AO, Governor of Queensland, who is the Chancellor of the Australia-Japan Society, Queensland Inc., and Anna Bligh, Premier of Queensland, who is a Patron of the Australia-Japan Society, Queensland Inc. I find it rather disturbing that these high level Australians continue to maintain their position in such organizations while Japan continues to sanction international child abduction.

In early April, 2009, my wife told me that she had recently gained employment at a credit card company where she works Sunday to Thursday until 9pm. This continues to worry me as my wife is not at home on a regular basis to look after our two sons when they return from kindergarten and school. She has left this responsibility to her mother who is also working full-time. My wife told me that when her mother is at work, her 93 year old grandmother (who has since passed away) was responsible to look after our two sons when they came home. This situation was of great concern to me, as her grandmother was in no physical condition to take adequate care and provide a safe environment for our children. 

In addition, I have attempted to make contact on a daily basis with my sons. However, my wife has refused to allow me to speak to them on a regular basis. I have said to her on several occasions that by not allowing me to talk to them cannot be good because they need to speak to their father.

In July 2009, my father and I went to Japan with the aim of trying to convince my wife to return to Australia with our sons. However, this was to no avail and since then my attempts to make appropriate and acceptable contact with my sons continues to be hampered by their mother and grandmother. Communication with my youngest son Alex, who is now 6 years old, has been made even more difficult as he no longer can speak English and as from 30 April 2010, I had not been able to speak to him for over two months.

Since July 2009, my wife had been insisting that I sign divorce papers. However, I had rejected all demands as I am fully aware that once I sign, my wife has total control over my sons and what few rights I have will completely disappear. This is because the Japanese legal system leaves it up to the parent who has the children to decide if the other parent is to have any contact with the other parent. Invariably, the mother is given custody and in cases where a foreigner is involved, children are always awarded to the Japanese parent.

In February 2010 I managed to talk to my eldest son Jake. During our conversation he asked if I could keep a secret. He told me that he is not supposed to talk to me and when we call both he and his younger brother are supposed to act scared. I consider this to be parental alienation syndrome (PAS).

On 25 February, Jake told me that unless I send money then I would not be able to talk to them anymore. Since the abduction my wife has insisted that I send over approximately AU$1200 every month. I have attempted on many occasions to explain to her that it is impossible and as a consequence she has used blackmail and extortion as a way of preventing contact.

My wife has written to me explaining that during the week the boys are too busy to talk to their father and that the weekend is a more appropriate time. However, when I have called at the agreed times, my calls have not been answered. It is clear that my wife and her mother are doing all they can to distance and alienate me from my sons.

On 25 March 2010, my eldest son told my sister that if I or any member of my family should come to Japan and attempt to make contact, then the police would be called and we would be arrested. This comment was extremely disturbing to both me and my family members.

I did manage to speak to Jake in early April, however from the very beginning of our conversation, I could hear his grandmother in the background telling him to get off the phone. In the end our telephone conversation was disconnected.

In April 2010, I received a letter from the Department of Foreign Affairs informing me that my application for financial aid for legal proceeding had been rejected. It appears that all avenues for assistance from the Australian government have been exhausted.

On 10 June 2010, all communication with my two sons was cut as my wife changed her telephone number.

In August/September of 2010, I went to Japan where I organized mediation through International Social Services Australia/Japan. On the first day of mediation, my then wife did not bother to show and I was left with the bill. On 15 September, 2010 a meeting between my wife and I at the office of ISS Japan took place. During this meeting I was not allowed to mention the words “abduction,” “kidnap” or say anything negative about the Japanese Government or its sanctioning of international parental child abduction.

A number of concessions were awarded to me, including weekly contact via Skype in return for child support and a divorce, which I finally signed despite holding reservations concerning my rights. I had little choice in the matter as

my then wife would have gone through the Japanese legal system, eroding my rights further. In addition, my wife was informed through the Australian

Embassy in Tokyo that after a year of separation, she could commence with divorce proceedings through the Australian legal system.

Since my ex-wife abducted our two sons to Japan, I have constantly been accused of spousal abuse. Whenever I had asked my wife to explain such accusations she could not. During our mediation, I was finally told of my abuse. According to my ex-wife, during an argument I accused her of being lazy and told her that she should either look for a job or study in order to improve herself. If this is abuse, then I am guilty.

Under Japanese law, domestic violence can mean a whole range of things, including arguing over a television program or simply giving your spouse the ‘cold shoulder.’ Or in my case, asking her to look for a job or to study.

For the past thirty years the Japanese Government has used the excuse that they need to protect Japanese women from abusive foreign men. They do not see it as abduction, but simply ‘returning home’ from domestic violence.

As many are aware, countries such as Australia and the United States have systems that protect the rights and safety of all women against domestic violence and such systems are years ahead of the Japanese system in addressing domestic violence. Furthermore, Japan still continues to greatly lag behind Australia and the US in the numbers of available shelters for abused women. 

Amnesty International’s 2010 annual report for Japan states, “In July, after considering Japan's sixth periodic report, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) expressed its concern at the obstacles faced by women victims of domestic and sexual violence when bringing complaints and seeking protection. It was particularly concerned at the precarious situation of immigrant women, minority women and women of vulnerable groups.”

Japan is often considered by Australians, Americans and even Japanese themselves, to be less advanced than here or the United States in affording equal status to women. Certainly, Japanese laws, policies, and systems for addressing domestic violence lag far behind those of Australia and the United States. Furthermore, unlike Japan, the police in Australia and the US do get involved in issues regarding domestic violence. Therefore, Japan's constant excuse that Japanese women abduct the children because of domestic violence is one which their government continues to loosely and incorrectly use. And what is their government’s excuse when a Japanese father abducts the children? Are Western women going to be accused of domestic violence?

In February 2010, the United States Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Kurt Campbell said, “It is a widespread misconception that many women abscond with their children to Japan have been abused. I think this allegation is used very loosely and

oftentimes inappropriately. We can find almost no cases of alleged or actual substantial claims of violence”.

Under the current Japanese legal system, once divorce has been finalised, foreigners completely lose what little rights they have and custody is automatically awarded to the Japanese parent. Furthermore, my parental status on the family registry has been erased which means that as their father, I officially no longer exist. Also, if anything were to happen to their mother, under the current Japanese legal system, my sons would be awarded to their Japanese grandparents.

My wife also promised that from July/August 2011, Jake, my eldest son would be able to visit Australia during his summer holidays to visit me and his Australian grandparents. She has since reneged on this promise and told me that she was not happy with the concessions I received from our mediation. She also put forth her argument to change their names, stating that their Australian names would “cause inconvenience.” She is currently demanding that I sign over custody to her, which I continue to refuse to do.

Since this nightmare began I have received no help or support whatsoever from the Australian Government. I have been jumping and screaming for almost two years and no-one in the related Australian governmental departments have been listening. I have constantly been passed over from one department to the next and still no-one can give me any answers! Every time I am told to get an Australian court order and take the matter through the Japanese legal system, every time I have to remind the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General’s Office that Australian court orders are not recognized in Japan.

On 3 December, 2010 to my utter shock and disbelief, I received a letter stating that the Australian Child Support Agency had received an application for child support assessment from my ex-wife who now lives in Japan. I have now been informed that I will have to start paying child support.

I cannot comprehend how my ex-wife can facilitate such an action as:

1)She has illegally abducted my two sons out of Australia and is holding them both in Japan without my consent.

2)She has done all she can to prevent contact.

3)In addition, the Japanese government, after 30 years of stalling and excuses, still refuses to be a party to The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

4)There are no reciprocating agreements between Australia and Japan. Which begs the question as to how the CSA can purport to be collecting from me on my ex-wife's behalf when no such agreements exist?

In December 2010/January 2011 I visited Japan with the sole purpose of meeting my sons. Although I was able to meet them on several occasions, our meetings were restricted. On one occasion when I went to pick my eldest son up, his Japanese grandmother slammed and locked the door in my face, called me a “stalker” and threatened to call the police. Later, I had to explain to my 10 year old son the definition of a stalker. As you can imagine, such accusations were extremely hurtful and I would argue extremely detrimental to my son who witnessed this. I consider such accusations as ludicrous and designed to defame me in a similar manner as false claims of abuse have been used against me by my ex-wife and her mother.

What I would like to know is why isn’t the Australian government, like the United States and France, doing anything to protect Australian children from being abducted to Japan? It appears that our government is putting big trade dollars before the welfare of our children. As recently as 8 March, 2011, I have been told by the Foreign Affairs Department and the Attorney General’s Department to take my case to the Japanese courts.


The information on this website concerns a matter of public interest, and is provided for educational and informational purposes only in order to raise public awareness of issues concerning left-behind parents. Unless otherwise indicated, the writers and translators of this website are not lawyers nor professional translators, so be sure to confirm anything important with your own lawyer.

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