Tennessee Husband and Japanese immigrant Wife have two children. Couple divorce.
Wife is unhappy in Tennessee. She writes to Husband of her concerns that their children are “losing Japanese identity”.
Over the course of a year, Husband repreatedly asks Tennessee court to prohibit Wife from removing children from the US. These are not idle requests.
In Japan, the noncustodial parent more or less fades out of a child’s life after divorce. Mothers almost always get custody. Foreign parents almost never get custody – or timesharing (or visitation).
The Tennesee court does not really share Husband’s concerns that Wife may abscond with the children. After all, Wife testifies that she will stay in Tennessee; she just wants a vacation with relatives in Japan.
So, passports are released to Wife. Wife and children vacation in Japan.
And return to Tennessee. Wife retains passports.
Then, two weeks later, in August, the children’s school calls Husband to report their absence from school. News to Husband.
Wife is on her way to Japan with their children.
Now Tennessee court awards Husband full custody of the children.
So what is an American father to do?
In this case, Husband goes to Japan, grabs his abducted kids while they are walkling to school, and walks toward the US Consulate.
But before Husband can reach the safe haven of the US Consulate, he is arrested while still on Japanese soil … for kidnapping his own children, of whom he has sole custody under US law.
Husband is now in a Japanese jail, waiting to learn his fate. Wondering: will he be prosecuted for kidnapping his own children, of whom he has sole custody under US law?
Since 1980, Japan has refused to enter the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
The US, Canada, Britain and France have all called upon Japan to sign. And resolve numerous cases where abducted children have foreign parents totally cut out of their lives, as though they had never been.