Every Child

Has Two Parents


Convenient Abduction?  Japanese mother breaks agreement and abducts Anna, keeping her in hiding in Tokyo Japan.


by Everett Jason Thompson on Thursday,

March 3, 2011 at 11:29am

In good faith, my ex-wife and I made

a custody and visitation arrangement.

Unbeknownst to me, their residency in

Tokyo made it convenient for her to keep

me from seeing our daughter.

My ex-wife, Tomoko, and I met in 1991 in Tokyo, where I was working as an engineer. We married in 1995 in Portland, Oregon. Anna was born in January 1999 in San Diego. Anna was a happy, joyful baby. She was also very smart for her age, but most parents say that! 

Unfortunately, by the time Anna was 4, my marriage was deteriorating. In September 2003, using the prospect of a job transfer as an excuse, I moved my ex-wife and Anna to Tokyo, to ensure Tomoko and Anna would be near family and a strong support network. I informed my ex-wife that I would not be joining them shortly thereafter. 

Tomoko and I agreed to legal joint custody and worked out a shared visitation agreement, however, my ex-wife started denying me access to Anna almost immediately. By summer 2007, she told Anna she didn’t have to visit me, and although that Christmas she did let Anna stay for four of our pre-agreed ten days, she hasn’t allowed Anna to visit me again. Japan doesn’t recognize parental rights of non-Japanese nationals or enforce joint-custody agreements. Therefore, despite attempts to get our agreement enforced, it is apparent I have no recourse outside of US intervention. 

I am fortunate to be able to talk to Anna on the phone, but I haven’t seen Anna in over three years. She is now 12 years old and is no longer able to speak English. Because she hasn’t been able to visit, our contact has been limited, and our talks are strained. In talking with Anna, I have learned she perceives the United States as a dangerous, foreign place. 

Anna has a birthright. It is her right to enjoy both parents, to learn about her American heritage and to know her relatives. I feel providing those opportunities to Anna is my role in her life. When will the rule of law prevail in Japan? When can I expect our government to demand the legal rights of Anna and the rest of its citizens like her?

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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