Every Child

Has Two Parents


Every Child

Has Two Parents


Family Law In Japan: Experiences In Parents' Own Words

See also: Success Stories &

Children Looking for their Japanese Fathers

Many essays are written by parents, and each documents the bitter experiences of a real individual with family law in Japan. Contact information for the authors is available if you are a member of the press, government representative, or other qualified individual who could help us raise awareness of these issues or could help us enact change.  If you are a left-behind parent, please send your own personal story to webmaster@crnjapan.net for inclusion on this page.  *

•A FATHER'S NIGHTMARE - THE COMPLETE STORY, what truly happened to Christopher Savoie.  No blog BS, the real story as told by an attorney. Just the facts.

•Proud Father loses kids to Land of the Stolen Son - The story of an Irish Father whose children were stolen by their Japanese mother.

•Vacation in Los Angeles turns into 3 month incarceration for P.R. Mom.  After years have passed Japan still refuses to reunite mother and child.

•Navy Captain’s sick wife commits suicide, just days before Erika’s Grandparents decide to abduct her.  Twice the loss for both father and daughter.

•BBC reports on Alex Kaheny’s personal story of loss and lack of assistance in the UK.

•Stolen Children abducted to the earthquake / tsunami zone.  Father travels to Japan to try and locate after son injured. - Toledo father searches for missing kids in Japan

•Photographer Clive France brings the story of Left Behind Parents to light through his photography.

        - A personal account by Tim Johnston

•Bruce’s story of calculated abduction from British Columbia Canada.  She played the Japanese book of how to take your kid - to the tee. - Japanese version Here

•Australian Father falsely accused of abuse while mothers friends help plan and execute a calculated abduction.  Little Liam was torn from the world he knew and thrust into the world where children abductors run free. 

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

•For Rui Boy - Stolen from NY only to find a life in Japan’s Black Hole of Child Abduction. Brian’s beautiful boy Louis, born and raised in the USA, abducted by his mother to Japan in 2010 at age 5.

•Master Sergeant spends third fathers day alone after ex Japanese wife whisks children to Japan even though he had custody in the United States.

•New Jersey Judge Makes Ridiculous ruling.  On October 12th the Judge’s ruling was announced that the relocation petition was granted...now the boy known for his entire life as Richard Seitz has become Taisuke Koizumi.  An unknown name in an unknown world.

•When Fathers Abduct  Masako is the founder of the Japanese Left Behind Parent Meetup Group. She is making great strides in Japan lobbying the government, but she too is a left behind Mom. - see also - Japanese family court denies joint custody to mother while helping father hide abducted son.

•A Father’s Dilemma - Imagine being trapped in an international legal maze involving 3 different countries. Now, imagine being unable to work while caring for your severely handicapped son 24/7 since his mother left with the full support of her family.  Welcome to Japan.

•Losing Kei - Suzanne Kamata’s debut novel, “Losing Kei,” includes a similar scene. An American woman sits smoking in a small playground next to a temple, waiting to see a group of Japanese schoolboys. When they pass by, playing and teasing each other, the woman calls out

•After moving to Omuta-shi in Fukuoka-ken so that his wife could be get support from her parents when the baby was born, the relationship ended in divorce.  The wife subsequently denied all contact between daughter Amy and her father.

• One father’s battle against a broken Family Law system in Japan. Even with Full custody in Japan, the Japanese system subsequently stole Richard’s Children

•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.

•The MacKinnon Saga continues,  Despite Ronald MacKinnon's fears that his child would be abducted, the New Jersey Supreme Court in the U.S. recently gave permission for his divorced Japanese wife, Erika, to relocate with their daughter to Okinawa. On July 30, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay, so Erika is free to leave.

•Truly Sleepless in Seattle.  What happens when you are blinded by “love.” Father in Seattle falls in love via Internet.  This begins the drama that will will end in the Washington State courts allowing his ex-wife to abduct.

•My five year old son Sean Hillman was abducted to Japan in violation of United States court orders (07-3-01188-2 SEA, King County Superior Court) by his mother, my ex wife, on July 5th 2008.  Since that date I have not been able to see my son.

•Primary care giver for the children denied access after plans to relocate fall apart.  Mother-in-law suffers a stroke just a week before the relocation was to take place.  This sets into place the a series of events that caused mother to deny further visitation.

•Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tokyo Metropolitan Police, and a court system gang up to discriminate against a foreign parent.   A US lawyer tried unsuccessfully to serve court documents on the abducting Japanese parent.  According to a note on the returned documents, it could not be delivered because "...the sender is considered to be a dangerous person, the Metropolitan Police Department has intervened and a temporary injunction and refusal of delivery have been issued by a Court...."  

•Murray Woods tried to be a responsible father by agreeing to let his ex-wife, Ayako Maniwa Wood, take their children to visit their sick grandfather in Japan.  She never brought them back. The Saitama family court recognized the valid Canadian custody orders, but decided to "kidnapped jurisdiction" and give custody to the Japanese mother.

• A Mexican Tale of abduction.   US / Mexican / Japanese citizens abducted by Japanese Father.  Mother left paying $5000 a month. Read Yoko Tanamachi’s story - Japanese here

•"Etsuko has ignored all orders of the Court since October 2001...and now the United States government and the state of Utah are pursing criminal charges against both Mr. and Mrs. Allred."  The Japanese police know where they are, but won't arrest them.  Read more about Michael Gulbraa's fight to get his children returned from Japan.

•"...the Osaka Family Court rendered a mandatory visitation schedule: since I was the custodial father, I am entitled to see my son once a year for 3 hours." Samuel Lui's custody of his son was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Japan, yet the Japanese legal system was not able to physically remove his son from his ex-wife.

•A Japanese father traveled to Cuba to abduct their 2 year old daughter to Japan where he can hide her from her Chilean-Cuban mother who had legal custody.  After a divorce in Japan using allegedly forged signatures - (Update: It turns out the Tsugunari Yamada, the father has remarried, so may now be a bigamist if he is convicted of forgery in the ongoing trial.)

•A Japanese wife kidnapped their child Isabelle, and abandoned her in a children's home.  After, Frans Pau,  her French-Danish father found her and got her into a school in Japan, the mother took her away again.  The mother has now been sentenced to jail by a French court and is wanted by Interpol. A Japanese court allowed the mother to change Isabelle's name to Maki despite the fact that Frans had legal custody, even in Japan.  After that, a Japanese court inexplicably gave custody back to the mother.  

•"On November 15th 2003, two days before the death of their mother from breast cancer,  my twin 5-year old children, Karsten Stouffer and Maple Stouffer were abducted by their Japanese Grandfather, Fumihiko Miyazaki and are now in Sapporo Japan." 

• Kent had lived in Japan for 17 years and been married to a Japanese women for 10 years.  After their divorce, he was working at a steady job and making regular child support payments until immigration refused to issue him a visa and eventually deported him under suspicious circumstances.  He wonders what happened to his children's right to be near their father, which is guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

•What Happens When You Marry A Japanese Have Children and It Doesn't Work Out is a book about the train wreck that a Japanese divorce can be.  This is the authors personal story.

•A Japanese mother with a history of attempted suicide and time in multiple psychiatric hospitals goes to Japanese Family Court mediation with the father.   There "...the mediators supported her to the end, even above what my son wanted and what was best for him. They virtually acted as her lawyer..." Despite the wife also repeatedly denying visitation to the father,  "the mediators became very pro-wife saying stuff like, "Your son visiting you makes her nervous, kawaiso!." ... There were no consequences for her withholding his Saturday visitation rights." 

•"Leave me alone. Alexander will see you when he is 18. " -Misako Ueshima who is now wanted by the Royal Canadian Police for international child abduction. 

•A Japanese mother living in Germany with her daughter decides that joint custody means she can take her child back to Japan without telling the father, Stefan.  A German court disagrees.  

•Send Ritchie Back - It is truly unfortunate that six months have passed and my ex-wife is not willing to agree to anything. I have been left with no choice but to post my dilemma and family on a website pleading for the publics help.

•Kayoko Miyamoto, ex-wife of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and his estranged son, Yoshinaga Miyamoto.  All available  information about Koizumi's ex-wife and children is collected in this article.  There are references to many other articles and websites discussing this.  

•Father is summoned by a Japanese court for divorce by Japanese wife and custody of their child.  He was granted a visa to Japan by the embassy, but refused entry by Japanese Immigration.  Twice.  Is Immigration complicit in another legalized parental abduction in Japan? 

•Japanese judge keeps American father in jail for 20 days waiting for a medical report the Prosecuting Attorney had on the second day....  Read more including details about inner workings of the Japanese court system.

•Japanese wife, Sachi Nagai, denies visitation and then runs away with son to Egypt with Mike Kidd. 

•"When I arrived home Keiko had moved, taking with her our daughters...."  The story of Alisa and Ikumi Yamada who have been kept from their father for 13 years is ongoing.  Look back here soon....

•"I begged the family court repeatedly to involve psychological experts to deal with my borderline wife but they refused to do so."

•"After 4 years together in Japan, Yomiko 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. I want to be able to face my son in 20 years time and say 'I didn't abandon you'." Read More...

•"Having agreed upon visitation rights last year at the Chiba Family Court (I was to visit once every two weeks) - my wife strangely would not be home on the scheduled days. I complained to the Family Court about this, but they were unconcerned with me, and suggested it might be my own fault that this is happening."  He is subsequently ignored by the Japanese Family Court. Read the ongoing story... 

•Travis Lear's daughter Layla, the beautiful princess, was his life.  The princess was taken away by her Japanese mother, a like a fairy tale gone horribly wrong, being kept from all contact with her ex-Navy father.

•Kayoko Miyamoto, ex-wife of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and his estranged son, Yoshinaga Miyamoto.  All available  information about Koizumi's ex-wife and children is collected in this article.  There are references to many other articles and websites discussing this.  Read more...

Reported In The Press
The following names and stories have appeared in the indicated press article.  If you know how to contact anyone listed here, please tell them that we would like to post a more detailed story on this website.
Patrick Braden
•Missing: Melissa Braden; The Early Show on CBS; September 19, 2006.  This is a transcript of a television interview with Patrick and FBI agent Herb Brown about his abducted daughter Melissa. 
Mike Hebb
•Crime and Punishment; Metropolis Letter to the editor; early 2006.  Mike writes in about his daughter being abducted from Manitoba by her Japanese mother.
Alan Kaneda
•Options few after mom abducts girl - Courts hold no clout for a Honolulu man whose daughter, 5, was taken to Japan; Honolulu Star Bulletin; December 6, 2004.  Alan Kaneda's story about his wife abducting their daughter Marina to Japan.  

Walter Bender.
•Imperfect Alliance U.S., Japan at odds about child abductions; Newsday.com; July 17, 2003.
•Statement by Walter Benda, co-founder of CRC Japan, on March 1, 2000, to the US Senate Judiciary Committee on the similarity of the Elian Gonzalez case and his daughters being illegally retained in Japan.
•Parents in International Custody Battles Fear Impact; Washington Post; February 3, 2003.  Information on various worldwide parental abduction cases in the light of the Elian Gonzalez incident in the US. Included is Walter Benda's well known Japan case.  
•Lost In A Loophole: Foreigners Who Are on the Losing End of a Custody Battle in Japan Don't Have Much Recourse; Los Angeles Times, September 19, 1996.

David Brian Thomas 
(co-founder of CRC Japan) David has not seen his son since his Japanese wife and her parents locked him out of their house in 1992. The divorce was overturned by the court on grounds that his wife doctored papers and forged his seal, but Thomas has been unable to see his son, Graham Hajime, who is now 13.
•Divorced From Their Children In Japan, Foreign Fathers Have Few Custody Options; Washington Post;  July 17, 2003; Page A09.
•Frozen out, frustrated father refuses to give up; Asashi Shinbun; January 27, 2002.
•The best parents are both parents; Japan Times; February 6, 2000.  David Brian Thomas' story in detail. (cached copy)
•Lost In A Loophole: Foreigners Who Are on the Losing End of a Custody Battle in Japan Don't Have Much Recourse; Los Angeles Times, September 19, 1996.
•The Japanese said I no longer had a child; The Independent, July 10, 1996. Very detailed story about David Brian Thomas's loss of his son to his Japanese spouse Mikako Takezawa and her father Hajime Takezawa. 

Sean Reedy
His Japanese wife took his sons into hiding that day, preempting custody of the boys by simple possession. Even as a tenured professor and taxpayer in Japan, Reedy found he could get no assistance from the Japanese courts in getting his children back -- or even seeing them regularly.
•Divorced From Their Children In Japan, Foreign Fathers Have Few Custody Options; Washington Post;  July 17, 2003; Page A09. 

Das Pradip. 
gets to meet his two children once a month, for 30 minutes, at a Roy Rogers restaurant -- when his ex-wife bothers to bring them. She left her husband three years ago with the children, then 5 and 8, for a Japanese man. 
•Divorced From Their Children In Japan, Foreign Fathers Have Few Custody Options; Washington Post;  July 17, 2003; Page A09.
Engle Nieman
"My wife is now hiding somewhere with my daughter. She doesn't show up for court. My lawyer doesn't know what to do," he said. "On schooldays, I go around to the various kindergartens in Tokyo to see if I can find them. It's terrible." 
•Supreme Court Of Japan legal decision convicting Engle Nieman of kidnappin; March 18, 2003.
•Divorced From Their Children In Japan, Foreign Fathers Have Few Custody Options; Washington Post;  July 17, 2003; Page A09.
•Parents driven to 'kidnap' children; The Japan Times; December 13, 2000.  Discusses Engle Nieman's case as well as David Brian Thomas.  

Dale Martin 
His wife, Tamie Kakuta kidnapped their 4-year-old daughter in 1992, but despite hard-won visitation agreement signed in family courts in December 1994, he has recently (according to the articles) been unable to see his six-year-old daughter because his Japanese wife refuses to allow it. He continues to make telephone calls and write letters.
•Foreign Spouses In Japan Seek Easier Child Custody Laws; www.oneworld.net web site; March 22, 1998.  (cached copy)
•Lost In A Loophole: Foreigners Who Are on the Losing End of a Custody Battle in Japan Don't Have Much Recourse; Los Angeles Times, September 19, 1996.  Stories of Walter Benda, David Brian Thomas, Dale Martin and Charles Talley.

Charles Talley
Wife Yumi, and daughter, Lea Talley, disappeared from their Palmdale (Los Angeles) apartment in 1993.
•Lost In A Loophole: Foreigners Who Are on the Losing End of a Custody Battle in Japan Don't Have Much Recourse; Los Angeles Times, September 19, 1996.  Stories of Walter Benda, David Brian Thomas, Dale Martin and Charles Talley.

Margaret Leyman
This American journalist living in Tokyo, says that her Japanese former husband prohibits her son from meeting with her. "My son, who is 12 now [in 1998], lives with my mother-in-law after the family court decided I was, as a working woman and foreigner, not a responsible mother,''   
•Tales from Japan's Abandoned Foreign Parents; The Japan Observer; November 2003.  Mostly the story of Frans Pau, a French-Danish national whose wife is kidnapped their child Isabelle, abandoned her in a children's home, took her again after Frans got her into a school in Japan.  The mother has been sentenced to jail by a French court and is wanted by Interpol. A Japanese court allowed the mother to change Isabelle's name to Maki despite the fact that Frans had legal custody, even in Japan.  After that, a Japanese court inexplicably gave custody back to the mother.  (cached copy)

•Foreign Spouses In Japan Seek Easier Child Custody Laws; www.oneworld.net web site; March 22, 1998.  (cached copy)

* In some cases, these stories contain actual names of a Japanese parent.  They may also contain names of friends, relatives, co-workers, workplaces, etc. This website is well indexed by search engines in both Japanese and English.  So this helps to bring attention to these otherwise silent crimes by applying pressure thru a person's workplace and social circles. In Japan, peer and internal corporate pressure can often be an effective way to encourage someone to address a problem they would rather hide from.  We believe this pressure is necessary in order to get the offending Japanese parent constructively involved rather than having them hide away with the child.
The names in a story will only be removed when the case is resolved satisfactorily.  Unfortunately, in Japan, legal resolution can take many many years.  So we encourage people who would like to have their names removed to get counseling with their partner and resolve the issues out of court.  If you are not the offending Japanese parent, please encourage that person to constructively resolve the problems in the 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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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