Every Child

Has Two Parents


Desperate father who tried to 'snatch' children back from runaway Japanese mother awarded $6.1 million settlement



A Tennessee man who was arrested after trying to 'snatch' his own abducted children back from Japan has been awarded  $6.1 million from his ex-wife.

Christopher Savoie, 40, now faces an up hill battle with Japanese authorities to enforce the judgement and actually get the money on behalf of his children, 10-year-old Isaac and 8-year-old Rebecca.

Mr Savoie's Japanese ex-wife, Noriko Esaki Savoie, fled with the children in 2009.

The desperate father drew international attention after he tried unsuccessfully to snatch them back they walked to school - resulting in a three week stint in a Japanese prison.

Soon after the abduction in January 2009, a Tennessee court issued a warrant for her arrest and gave the father full custody.

But the order had no effect because Japan hasn’t signed an international treaty governing child abduction.

Speaking to the Providence Journal, Mr Savoie said yesterday's award was bitter sweet, but at least gave his ex-wife a strong financial incentive 'to do the right thing' and allow him to see his two children

He said: 'It’s bittersweet, because rather than getting any money, I’d much rather be in the park playing with my kids.

'No amount of money can compensate for that time with the kids.'

After returning from Japan with his ex wife in 2009, Mr Savoie sued for a divorce.

The paper reported that as part of the settlement, his ex-wife agreed to provide him custody of the children in exchange for a monthly payment of $5,500.

Shortly after Mr Savoie celebrated his six month anniversary with new wife Amy, Noriko said she wanted to take the children on a trip to Japan before they started back at school.

The family became suspicious after they noticed no return trip had been booked and rightly suspected the worst.

Mr Savoie then flew to Japan and tracked Noriko and the children down to the small town of Yanagawa.

He then followed them to school and grabbed them off of the street, before driving to a nearby U.S. embassy.

When he found the doors were locked, Japanese police swiftly arrested him, imprisoning him for three weeks.

After being released he has had no contact with the children, with Noriko's grand parents hanging up the phone every time he has tried to call.

Although the Japanese courts can not enforce the custody settlement, Mr Savoie said they do have ways of enforcing the financial award.

He added: 'We have a set of lawyers waiting in the wings.'


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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