Every Child

Has Two Parents


After 4 years together in Japan, Michiko only lasted 2 months before she went home.

I really think it is cowardly.  Especially as my wife or family aren't prepared even to speak to me.

My name's Paul and I lived in Tokyo for four years.  I was married in mid 2001 and we had a baby in December 2002 in Japan.  Not too long after that, we moved back to my home country.  In the last week I've suddenly been thrust into the world of divorce and international child abduction. Imagine my horror when I started to do a little research.  After 4 years together in Japan, Michiko only lasted 2 months before she went home.

My wife took our baby son home for a brief visit to Tokyo about 8 weeks ago. Naturally I didn't stop her - little did I realize what would happen. She didn't return my emails or letters. Her parents started making excuses why she couldn't come to the phone - and she never rang back. Last week, they started hanging up on me when I rang and at the same time I received a letter from a lawyer telling me that my wife wanted a divorce. I am really shocked and dumbfounded because I thought that things were going ok. The lawyer, one on the CRN Japan blacklist, said that all communication with my wife should go through her and that she would 'appreciate it' if I signed a kyotei rikon granting sole custody of my baby to my (ex?) wife. Fat chance of that !

From my research, it seems that I have no chance of getting custody or visitation - it is almost tempting just to agree to a divorce and write off my wife and baby completely. Of course it isn't that easy. That's not the kind of father I want to be - I want to be able to face my son in 20 years time and say 'I didn't abandon you'.

She hasn't given me any grounds for divorce (yet), just a sudden letter saying she won't be returning here. And an outrageous request for a 'mutual agreement' divorce. Funny that 'mutual' doesn't seem to have any input from me.  I've received 2 letters from the lawyer. The first advised me that Michiko wanted a divorce and wouldn't be returning here - asked me to contact Michiko through her and asked me to agree to a kyotei rikon giving sole custody to Michiko. The second letter asked once again that I contact Michiko only through the lawyer.

I really think it is cowardly.  Especially as my wife and her family aren't prepared even to speak to me. 10000km away on a telephone - what do they think will happen ? I guess I just became instantly irrelevant to them.  I don't even know why or what the problem with the marriage was. My close and happy wife and in-laws have suddenly become emotionless and cruel.

One thing that hurts is that many people (friends etc.) wonder whether I was hitting her or something. I didn't mistreat her - rather the opposite - I did everything I could to help her settle here. Dealt with the local bureaucracy, set up the house etc. I bet I helped her with the baby and house work much more than the average Japanese husband ! It's pretty obvious that she had post-natal depression and couldn't handle being away from her mum. I asked her (but got no answer) whether it was me or this new country or this town or the baby ?? I guess I'll never know.

After loving Japan for so many years and enjoying my time there thoroughly, I am completely turned off the whole country, people language etc. I suppose I'll have to go there at some time and try to speak to Michiko directly. But I have no plans yet. I wonder if they'll close the door in my face ? It would be good to have a support person who wasn't involved. That's something to think about. A lone gaijin against a group of Japanese is never going to win. Ideally, it would be good to have a group in support - especially with Japanese also. We need to connect with Japanese men (and women) that this has happened to.

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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