Every Child

Has Two Parents


French courts sentence mother to jail.  Then father rescues custodial daughter from a children's home,   but Japanese courts allow mother to abduct and change the daughter's name.

Frans Pau, a French-Danish national, is one of the many foreign citizens who have lost their children due to what seems to be a conspiracy -- though in some ways one of neglect -- between the Japanese legal system and Japanese spouses.

Pau and his wife, a Japanese Doshisha College graduate, met in Japan, married in Europe and soon had a young baby daughter. Things went smoothly until Pau was injured and left disabled in a plane crash. Shortly after the plane accident and while he was in the hospital, where he stayed over a year , his wife disappeared with the baby .

Two years later, he was able to find his daughter, in a children's home in Kyoto. The wife had abducted the child, but was not able to care for the baby herself and had given her up to the institution. Some 3 years later, with the help of the Family Court and of Japanese Christians, Pau was able to get the child enrolled in Notre Dame Primary School in Kyoto, but a few years later the child disappeared again. The mother had stolen her once more.

Isabelle, the girl's name, was a French citizen at birth, and Pau was able to win shared custody in French and Danish courts after they found the mother to be completely at fault for the divorce. He was given judicial rights, first by the French courts, and then by the Japanese Family Court in Kyoto, to take care of her for three months of the year in Europe, and to host or visit her any time in Japan. However, the reality is that Pau has not been able to see his daughter for more than a few times and a few hours at a time, and in Japan only, for more than a decade. The rights that he was granted in the French court, and which were initially confirmed by the Japanese court until 2002, were all disregarded by the mother, and there was no way to enforce anything. Even worse, enormous constraints were put to the rare visits he made, to take away any pleasure for Isabelle, apparently in the hope that Isabelle herself would say she did not want to see her father. The father also had to travel at short notice and high cost all the way from Europe, for these one-hour encounters.

In desperation, Pau used several conciliations (chotei) and arbitrations (shimpan) in the Kyoto Court, but his wife refused to obey, and no penalties were ever imposed. He had run up against a wall -- the lack of legal protection in Japan for parents whose children had been abducted by the other parent, and the absence of execution powers around visiting rights .

Finally, he had the mother charged for having abandoned child and husband, plus for denying all hosting or visiting rights. She was sentenced in absentia to 18 months in prison and a fine of 690,000 euros. Interpol issued an arrest order, but this has not yet been carried out by Japanese authorities .

To add to the insult, knowing full well what had happened in the French courts, in 2002 the Kyoto Family Court reversed its earlier decisions and refused to hand over the daughter to him. It suddenly rejected his visitation rights, in contravention of the UN Convention on Children's Rights, which Japan has signed.

Furthermore, in 2002, a Kumamoto Court inexplicably allowed the child's first name to be changed to Maki, and the surname to be changed to the mother's name, without consulting Pau, who also had parental authority. This will make it difficult to trace her in the future, as no European court or civil registry will recognize such a decision.

Pau is currently trying to take legal action in Japan to reverse the last two rulings, including the one in Kumamoto. In parallel, French authorities are trying to get the criminal decisions executed in Japan.

However, his physical disability from the airplane accident, as well as the enormous costs involved in hiring lawyers, and traveling to Japan for no result, have made it in practice impossible for him to keep on with the case. His daughter is now a high school student, somewhere in Japan.

Pau only hopes that she will realize somehow that her father only wanted to give her all the opportunities which two cultures and parents can give, as well as all the love and contact which a father can give.

A book on the case, entitled "For Isabelle's skyld (For the sake of Isabelle)", written by Charlotte Langkilde, was published by L&H Forlag, Copenhagen in Denmark. It has yet to be translated into Japanese.


[The following summary of legal injustices was written by Frans and will later also be used in a section of this website focusing on court injustices in Japan.]

(The following are in addition to non assistance in Japan by Japanese authorities to meet Japanese government obligations enshrined in UN Conventions on Children’s Rights ; in addition too to practice in this case not to reply or act on european judges International rogatory commission (inquiry) requests to locate and interview child)


Court : Kumamoto Family Court

Date : august 2000

Judge : unknown

Decision : to change daughter’s first name and family name, from Isabelle Marie Maki PAU , born 01 March 1985 in Geneva (Switzerland) to Maki Miyamoto

Argument of court : “A minor of 15 years of age can ask to change its first name according to Article 791 alinea 1 and 3 of Civil code , and Article 107-2 of Civil Registry law , based on some just argument “

Unlawfulness of decision : this request must be supported by written authorization by holder (s) of parental authority , which in this case is Louis-François Pau , father ,and entrusted by full parental authority acording to Grasse Court divorce decision of 1994 (which has been registered by same japanese civil registry) -Father was never called to court meeting nor asked to be represented -In addition , when Court was contacted by father or japanese lawyer to get copy of the decision and its motivations, the demand was declined on the grounds he was not the father !

2.DECISION BY OSAKA HIGH COURT TO DENY FATHER TO SEE HIS MINOR CHILD , made without calling the plaintiff or having him represented

Court :10th Civil division, Osaka High Court

Presiding judge : Shimokata Motoko

Date : 01 July 2003

Judges: Motoko SHIMOKATA



Decision : to deny father Louis-Francois Pau the right to visit his daughter,to deny the right to entertain written and telephone correspondence with her, and refusing to confirm right to to host daughter in Europe in agreement with french and danish court decisions ;this decision was first made by Kyoto Family Court 08 March 2002 (Judge Yutaro Nanba )

Argument of court : Appeal denied without reason

Unlawfullness of decision : the High Corut decision is unlawfull for two main procedural reasons :

1)plaintiff (the father) who made the appeal immediately in March 2002, was never called by the Osaka High Court to present arguments and evidence against the Kyoto Family Court decision; he was never represented either -High Court motivations only repeat lies by defense (mother) and misinterpretations of facts inspired by defense lawyer

2)the Kyoto Family Court decision of March 2002 was in full contradiction to another “shimpan “ decison by same Kyoto Family Court of 31 March 1994 , which confirmed father’s rights which were systematically obstructed by the mother ; 1994 “shimpan” is still in force as no concrete reasons nor evidence could be found against father to overturn 1994 decision


Court : Japan Supreme Court or Gaibusho

Matter : Mother (Miki Miyamoto, born 05 September 1960 , Legal domicile : 1-22,2 chome, Higashino, Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto , condemned to 18 months in prison by Tribunal correctionnel de Grasse , on 22 April 2002; further condemnation to fine of 690 000 Euros ; reasons : non compliance with visiting and hosting rights , non communication of child’s real address, and abandon of husband as a disabled person after his airplane accident

Fact : French court decision still NOT transmitted to Japanese courts involved (Kyoto Family court , Kumamoto Criminal court) and the Japanese Police , two years after ( spring 2004)

Violation: of The Hague convention of 15 November 1965 on the service abroad of judicial and extrajudicial documents in cicil and commercial matters.


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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