In this section we will be continuously be adding ways in which we can help you with your situation.
My Japanese wife kidnapped our children Selene aged 8 and Cale 6 on April 3rd this year and I have not seen them since apart from on two occasions when I contrived to see them for about five minutes each. Typically as I have found out in nearly all cases I read about having searched the Internet for ways to get to my children, I found out after my wife left that not only did she lie to me about her intentions but also that she had spread a web of lies about me to all the neighbors and the police, who have assisted her in abduction and warned me not to try to get my children back. And I pay their taxes. Keiko’s parents I know are helping her and I suspect kidnapping was their idea. I know where they are being kept and regularly go there to try to catch a glimpse or listen to their voices and to leave presents. I have not tried to gain access to their apartment or their school because I am worried that Keiko might move away suddenly. Having seen the alarming nature of other kidnappings in Japan I have chosen to tread carefully. At least I have e-mail contact with my wife and recently have even been allowed to speak to my kids about once every couple of weeks when Keiko elects to answer her phone. The phone calls are apt to be cut off suddenly mid-sentence. Cale, my younger daughter, seems to be losing her ability to speak English. I pay my wife money every month into a bank account–this it seems is why I am allowed occasional telephone calls. My wife sometimes attends family court and usually I do not get to speak to her because we are admitted into court rooms one at a time. I can see that the court is completely useless but I attend in hope of persuading my wife to be reasonable. The last five months have been utter hell, hell on Earth, a worse punishment than five months in prison, for what crime?
Alex, my ex threatened to move far away if I went to my son’s school or moved closer to him. After 2 years years of threats and against the advice of my lawyer I went to his school anyway. The first visit was great and my son enjoyed seeing me. The second visit was horrible and my son told me to go home. But, my ex did not move despite her constant threats. As you probably know it is expensive to move in Japan and it is expensive to break a lease agreement. Not to many people can afford to move. She told me never to visit her town or my son’s school again and she said no more visits until the divorce is final. My ex is a teacher so I went to her workplace and I stood on the sidewalk and handed out information about joint custody and how Japan is the only G-7 nation that doesn’t have joint custody. And how all the experts agree that joint custody is best for children. My ex was embarrassed and she called me the same day and agree to restart visitation. Every case is different and I don’t suggest doing what I did. I know how my ex thinks and I know what will embarrass her. After 3 years of being treated like crap, I have finally had enough. I am taking a more aggressive stance. I live in Nagoya and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to email me anytime. If you would prefer to talk, send me an email and I will give you my phone number. Kevin
Thanks for responding. I will answer on this page rather than e-mail you in case anyone else finds this thread interesting. Funny you say you know what embarrasses your wife. I do too, after 17 years together, and this is the strange part. My wife both knows (is aware) that what she is doing is wrong and also apart from being slightly crackers over the years was always on the whole fairly reasonable, well educated (well read), lived in UK for years, got on with many people there including my family and friends. This suggests that what makes Japanese parents kidnap is something entirely unknown to us non-Japanese. I think that my wife endures untold pressures from society that I cannot comprehend. I am convinced that this is why former spouses are unmovable and never give in. I cannot figure out why my wife left–the arguments over money (who keeps all of it and who has access to none of it), personal freedom, how to raise the kids, schooling issues, all the things that preceded my wife’s disappearance were easy to resolve in my view. Here’s a thought. Let’s face it, Japanese dads are pretty much non-existent at home with all the work they are given. I have come to the view that my wife made my domestic life unbearable in the hope that I would stay away. And when I persisted in caring for my kids, she left. She just wants to raise them her way. Now my problem is, if she could afford to move out once she can probably afford to do so twice. I have dutifully handed over to her about 70 million yen in cash over the last ten years. She can EASILY have saved 100,000 yen per month which would mean she could have 12 million stashed away somewhere. I think that Japanese abducting parents do so just because they know that they can get away with it. That’s why I don’t want to tempt her to move again…. Thanks for reading long mail.
Westerners and Europeans are easily fooled by Japanese women who we feel have been “westernized”.
I recently had a discussion with a Japanese woman who is well educated, is president of her own company and spent years in the U.K. She is the classic “westernized” Japanese woman whom many might also label as “non-typical Japanese”, etc. She does not have children, but when we started talking about my situation, she said it is a complete mystery how “any man” can possibly have feelings for a child just because his DNA is in that child. She explained to me that women bare the children, feed the children and raise the children therefore any emotional attachment to a child can only come from a woman, not from a man. A man cannot know true feelings of love for his child, since this love comes from only knowing or believing his DNA is in the child.
But she explained to me that the DNA is nothing and I should just forget about my daughter. I should find a new woman and have a new child if I like kids so much.
So don’t be fooled by your “westernized” Japanese wife.
It is amazing that women can have such right wing ideas. All the studies out there (Japanese, UK, American) suggest it is best for children to have both parents in their lives. Japan has signed the UNCRC but they don’t live up to it. The Supreme Court of Japan made a DVD stating it is best for both parents to be involved in a child’s life. However, this DVD is not widely seen or known about. I have a hard time understanding how intelligent people can have such right wing ideas. Lack of discussion in school, lack of involvement from one parent, and lack of outside viewpoints all seem to be factors in one sided thinking in my opinion. Kevin
For a woman to say that a child really does not need the love of their father, I started thinking how this actually points to a much deeper-rooted problem in Japan.
I think the only way a person could confidently make statements like that is if they did not receive the love and affection of their own father.
I have encountered the same thing, when a number of Japanese people have said to me “why are you worried, at least your children are with their mother.” It is quite obvious in Japan that dads simply don’t exist. I have never seen a family, that is a mum, a dad, and children above say six years old, and certainly not teenagers, all together. I have never seen a family all together! This weekend, try playing “spot the family”–they don’t exist.
This is a harsh thing to say, but the fact is, I’ve never known any Japanese person to think critically about anything. So what could work might be something like the Japanese government or mainstream media to come up with a simplistic campaign slogan (in Japanese) like “Let’s bring dad home!” or “Welcome home dad!” with a bit of public information about children needing both parents and overnight you will implant a new concept that did not previously exist in 130 million Japanese heads. With everyone saying it the kidnappers lose their community of supporters and are shamed into submission. Does anyone remember a few years ago the Japanese government announced a new anti-global warming campaign “cool biz” where companies were urged to use less air conditioning and allow employees to dress a bit more casually. The tie disappeared at once and has not been seen since. Look on the street, the tie has vanished. Ending kidnapping in Japan could be as easy as that with the right determination. The determination in turn could be stimulated in the Japanese government (who otherwise would never think of it) by either pressure from foreign governments who have lost citizens in Japan, or campaigns abroad where people say “Don’t buy Japanese products from a nation of kidnappers”–which is what eventually brought down Apartheid in South Africa, people refusing to buy South African products. How to spread the word about what goes on in Japan? The Internet of course: e.g. creating kidnapped kids’ pages on Facebook, which is accessed by millions worldwide including Japan.
Japan cares a lot more about selling Toyotas than children’s rights!
Sorry, didn’t make clear above, this campaign idea would not be aimed specifically at kidnappers, of course, who are a drop in the ocean in Japanese society, but rather at trying to influence dads to come home and see their kids after work instead of uselessly staying in the office till midnight every night. The concept would benefit left behind parents indirectly. Believe it or not, Japan does often try to improve society with new campaigns. Japanese employees are too scared to be the first to walk out in the evening in case they are viewed as not working hard enough. Only a national campaign can stop this, no individual would take the initiative.
Alex, You make a lot of good points. I too have rarely seen a family together in which the children are over 8. I also agree fathers are non-existent in the lives of their children. I don’t think father’s know how to be father’s. In general Japanese men only know their job. They don’t know how to fix a flat tire on a bike or change the oil in a car. I really don’t see things changing much in the near future. There is one campaign going on now that does encourage Japanese fathers to be more active in raising their kids. This campaign has government funding. I don’t remember what it is called now but it encouraging to know that the program exists. I have been harping on my government to make a public statement denouncing Japan for its treatment of children as well as “don’t buy Japanese” until they enforce the treaties they have signed “UNCRC” and create and enforce laws that are in the best interests of the children. Of course my government is not listening. I guess the theory is too many jobs would be lost thus damaging the economy and the politics that are somehow enter twined.
the reason why japanese government dont join hauge convention is there is domestic violence law in japan.Japanese women who abduct children say abduction from U.S or european countries caused by domestic violence from ex-husband .Japanese government say”japanese women escaped from violent husband.”I think it is lie.But japanese domestic violence law admit domestic violence by only woman’s testimony without any investigation.
Exactly Flash. And Assistant Secretary of State, Kurt Campbell, addressed the use of ‘domestic violence’ claims, stating in his press conference in Japan in February that having looked into the issue, he knows of no case of domestic violence. But in actuality it doesn’t matter. The judges in Japan have no power to enforce a child’s removal from an abductor to the left behind parent. So they simply state in the ‘best interest of the child’, having adapted to their new environment (that being kidnapped and kept away from their other loving parent), that the status quo should continue; that being the kid remains with the kidnapper. What a mess!
thankyou TcS.I,m japanese man. but I think japanese government policy which take away children from other parent is wrong.
And now japanese feminist attorney who using domestic violence law and some single mothers group are trying to persuade government to dont join hauge convention.With strong pressure.They oppose joint custody in japan too.They moving behind closed doors.
I think it is important that american diplomat should know the most biggest cause of this problem is coming from japanese law of domestic violence.Japanese domestic violence law can prove domestic violence by only womens testimony withiout any investigation and any evidence.And people who making this law moving now to prevent join hauge convention.we want American or european countries government criticize
about japanese domestic violence law.Criticism inside japan have no effect on them.
My wife accused me of DV as well (I’d never even heard of “DV” before she said it, she must have picked up the term from somewhere), this was in family court, I challenged her to prove it with some evidence (witnesses, photos, hospital records, police statements, anything). She couldn’t, because there never was any “DV,” only arguments. Even the family court mediators looked at each other as if to say “This is true, there is no evidence for this woman’s claims.” I think that prior to that anyone simply believed her without thinking about it. No one ever questioned me, certainly not the police. TcS is right, what a mess!
How can “DV” be an issue anyway, when parents split up and do not live together. I don’t want to meet my wife, I just want access to my kids.
You’re preaching to the choir Alex. The assumption seems to be if you are seeing the kids, you must meet the ex as well. I’m with you. That part is finished. I’m don’t mind amicable communication, but spending time with the kids is my only desire. And considering the fact that none of as foreigners have no chance of winning in Japanese courts, I’ve never understood the need for the false DV claims that suddenly surface.
My wife requires emotional support and approval from the local community, so she goes around pretending to be a victim, when the fact is, I looked after her and kept up her luxurious lifestyle (well off, non-working housewife) for a decade and a half. Now my neighbors in our posh residential area run off when they see me. I walked my nextdoor neighbors’ kids along with my daughter to school every day for two years and now they all run away from me–my wife has clearly been busy telling them all sorts of stories. I think we all agree that Japan is unable/unwilling to clear up this problem by itself and that only foreign pressure will bring our children back. I have written to the British embassy a number of times to appeal for help, but all I hear back is that there is little they can do about it “because Japan is a sovereign country with its own laws.” Come off it, our kids have been kidnapped. Where is our government (UK and all the others) on this issue? I pay taxes and vote, now I want representation from my government to protect its children.
When my wife and I divorced, I was given visitation rights of once a month and my wife was given child support of 40,000 yen per month. Every month is a tooth pulling struggle to see my son though (my daughter is the U.S. with my sister for a year) and my wife makes promises and then changes her mind. I can’t ever get a date set, and seeing my son is always at the last minute.
Five months ago she promised to let him spend the night with me and I’m trying to hold her on that (I haven’t spent the night with him in three years). But she made the excuse this month that ‘it’s not spring vacation yet’ and so when I pressed her to set a date for next month she said, ‘it won’t be summer vacation.’
My ex-wife and I have very minimal communication so I have no idea what’s going on in her head. Why be stingy about letting your son see his father? Is this just revenge or just some twisted rationale.
I would like to see, love, and raise my son at least ten times as much as I do now. He needs a father. In the past three years, I have only seen him for maybe 60 hours total, almost all of that in shopping malls and restaurants. She has seen him ever day. There are problems of neglect for him but nobody cares.
People might think I’m really lucky to see my kids once a month and I concede that I am. But my ex wife is still in full control, plays cat and mouse games, has ‘ordered’ me to stay away from the neighborhood and his school, and it almost seems like she keeps visitation going in order to keep her vendetta going. That and for money. Every month just before visitation is hell.
I want to write a no-nonesense letter to her explaining that I want clear dates and times for visiting beforehand. That’s all I want for now, as I have no money. In the future accounts will be set up for my children, but that’s the future. What sort of tone should I take in the letter?
I don’t know what to suggest you write, these abductors appear to have problems with sanity. I have heard so many of these depressing accounts where left-behind parents deal with remorseless, insane child abductors. I believe that my wife has a severe personality disorder, yet she has my kids in her total control. She can say to them whatever she pleases and no one will intervene. My two daughters, who used to adore their daddy as I forever will adore them, will no longer talk to me on the chance occasions every few months when I see them in the street or learn about a school open day and go to that. The child abductors take away children from a loving parent then they themselves neglect the children. That is how Japanese people rear their children, to be loveless. I have come to the conclusion that Japanese child abductors remove children from the loving parent BECAUSE that parent loves them too much for the abductor’s liking. Maybe the abductors are jealous. Who knows. They have a crazy, criminal psychology and they are allowed to abuse children, with the approval of Japan.
Jealousy and control seem to be two very significant factors in all of this. Alex touched on this above.
In my case, when my ex would witness my daughter and I having a wonderful time together, I could see the jealousy building and she would then come and grab my less than 1 year old daughter away from me.
From what I have witnessed, whether married or not, Japanese women want to have 100% control of the children. Barking orders to the dads on what they can and cant do in regards to their relationship with their children. Control of what kind of relationship the father has with this children. If they do not want you to have a strong relationship with your child because it makes them jealous or uncomfortable, they have no problem in exercising control to try and change that.
A Japanese friend in his 60′s informed me that in Japan the hierarchy of a Japanese family is wife, children, dog, husband, in that order.
Philip, I had similar issues trying to see my daughter. In the end, I just bit my tongue and let my ex make the rules. It has been about the most horrible experience of my life, but now I am seeing my daughter almost every weekend. Regardless of how horrible my ex acts or the horrible things she says, I have to go along with it. It sounds pathetic and it is, but I have found it to be the ONLY way to actually see and have a relationship with my daughter.
i had divorced with my ex wife in tokyo and they claimed that my daughter would be with the wife and i could see her when she 15 years old. but recently i contacted the lawyer in tokyo, he claimed that my ex wife would not want any contact between me and my daughter and i practically not yet divorced in my country of living as i didn’t have the court documents from japan,,
what can i do and can some of you might be able to help me
The answer to that question is what we all want to know. But we don’t know how to reach our children against people who are determined not to allow us to see them again and who are protected by Japanese society. Is your daughter 15 now and do you have written documentation of any promise by divorce lawyers that you would be able to see your daughter when she reaches that age? Usually Japanese legal people are responsive to official documents. Sorry, but in Japan currently, there is no way for anyone to get to meet their children against the will of their children’s abductors. What we are trying to do get the laws changed, but until that happens we are powerless. Spread the word about the human rights violation of abducted children and their left-behind parents in Japan. That is what the internet is for–let everybody know what little parenthood means in Japan. Alex
Thought I’d write this here as a place for all to see. Today I went to family court to find out the results of its “investigation” of the self-stated attitudes of my two abducted children–missing since April 3, 2010–to their being abducted and whether they would be interested in reuniting with their Daddy. I told the court months ago that there is no point in interviewing two abducted and extremely brain-washed children who have been held in captivity by a nutcase for the last 14 months what they think of their situation–just rescue them is all I want. Anyway, they ignored me and went ahead with their investigation. Today they gave me the results. They had been to see my children twice and asked them three questions each: what do they remember liking about their Daddy, what did they not like about him, and do they want to see their Daddy again. Yes, they actually ask children whether they want to see their own parents again. Then the investigators told me what my beautiful angels said. Both described memories of playing with Daddy as things they remember liking. One, but not the other, gave a list of dislikes about me that were straight out of their abductor’s mouth! –How they did not like me taking them down the pub, when actually they loved those occasional, brief visits during the late afternoon before dinnertime on a Saturday, when they played computer games and played with the staff. It was their mother who did not like me taking them to the pub, not the children! Then finally they were asked the sick, monstrous question of whether they wanted to see their father again. Imagine you are a child and a gloating, deviant, inhuman, reptilian being asked you something like that. It’s something out of a nightmare, isn’t it? One girl, good as gold and obeying her mother as ever, not knowing what is being done to her by kidnappers and brain-washers, said that she did not want to see me again. It is the moment I have dreaded for the last more than one year, to join the ranks of other left-behind parents whose children were manipulated to say the same thing about them. The other girl could not say it. She wrote it down on a piece of paper and prevaricated by adding question marks. The investigators showed me the piece of paper, which they had brought with them. Then finally my daughter wrote that she did not want to see me again. They must have pushed her and pushed her till at last she wrote it. At the end, I said to the investigators’ faces–”One day, I hope and pray that you, too, will lose your children and have to try to get them back through the Japanese court. Then you will know what you are.” After we left, the translator, a European woman who helps me out of kindness, cried. She couldn’t help it. Being in the presence of kidnappers and their conspirators leaves one feeling dirty and repulsed. These human beings almost smile as they give you the news that your children don’t want to see you again. One day, I would like to see these “investigators” and “judges” tried at Nuremberg.
Hi all, I just found out this page, very interesting discussion. I have difficulties to see my daughter, even though the divorce happened in 2006, nothing change. I went to family court and district court to get visitation right, no luck yet. Now going to raise it to higher level. My current lawyer is very soft, I am looking for good lawyer to represent me in Tokyo for this case. Appreciate if you can help me on this. Thank you.
Our choices are limited, and I don’t think anyone has the right to blame or judge any of us who throw in the towel.
I don’t think I can stomach the courts. I know it’s good to be heard, but even if I did get a favorable ruling (which seems dubious), the court isn’t going to warm my ex-wife’s stone heart a whit.
My wife has always regarded this struggle as a battle of hate, whereas I’ve seen it as a battle of love. My wife just plain makes up things or obsesses on things to justify her view of me as a horrible man who poses a danger to ‘her’ children. She is obnoxious, vain, and in anger her voice lowers and becomes croaky. She’s as terrifying as Kali. She refuses to cooperate, doesn’t answer emails or phone calls, but when she has a favor she expects to be done yesterday. Honestly, I’ve never met with a more insufferable or vain person in my life. I’d say Satan has a hold on her.
I have my faults like we all do but the worst one that contributed to the breakup of our marriage I’ve dealt with. The other ones remain annoying, not destructive.
I won’t talk about my love for my children at the moment. It’s too painful. But I give up. I never want to deal with this person again. What good is the love of my kids when my sanity is threatened?
I will leave Japan and teach elsewhere. I will remarry I hope and start a new life.I would never consider marrying another Japanese. Perhaps when my kids are bigger they will come to my side. Perhaps they will end up with all sorts of problems as a result of being raised by a deranged alcoholic mother. But what can I do? I just can’t take it anymore. Hats off to those of you who can.
We all have to deal with these things in our own way. “Throwing in the towel” can have different meanings for all of us. It is apparent you have great love for your children and I think that is what counts.
Philip, All I can say to you is–good luck. I ask myself the same question every day, what am I doing still in Japan? I am no nearer to seeing my girls today than I was a year ago and longer. In the meantime, instead of seeing the country churches, cathedrals, standing stones, green fields and starlit skies over England, perhaps met a new partner and moved on, instead what have I done for the last fifteen months? Worked alone, walked packed, hot, ugly streets amid concrete buildings covered in consumer advertising surrounded by humans who remind me of robots. I also think that I must wait for my children to return to me by their own accord. That’s the only reason that I remain here, to facilitate that. What will they be like? It makes me shudder to think that my two loving, creative, sensitive little girls will come back to me one day as Japanese and with that so-Japanese trait that I find in every case–a trivial emotional sense that attaches itself deeply and lastingly to nothing and to no one.
We stay because we have a divine duty. But somewhere we realize that we have done our best, tried our hardest, but the situation has become futile.
And that point is only for you to say. The saving grace is that your children may return to you. But they might not. They may hate you for many years. People paint pretty pictures but it’s not like that. I know it can go either way.
In the meantime, once you’re sure, you owe to yourself and to perhaps a new person in your life to get on with things and seek joy in this world.
I’ve shed a million tears for my kids and will shed a million more but there’s nothing more I can do. There are a lot of people in the world who need my help.
Good luck to you too.
Philip and Alex,
A friend of mine who shares our plight had her daughter taken 10 years ago. She searched for her daughter and finally found her on internet this year. She was able to meet her daughter for a couple days.
After my friend came back to Japan, she gave me some advice. Basically get on with your life, never forget your daughter and keep doing what you can…but get on with your life. Her life was on hold for 10 years and she is speaking from experience.
After almost 3 years, I am personally trying to make a mental shift. I too ask myself why the hell have I been hanging around Japan for the last 3 years….well, the answer is that I have been trying to do everything in my power to see and be a part of my daughters life.
I know now that with the Japanese legal system (what a joke) that this is just not possible. I’m not throwing in the towel, but I am trying to come out of this mental stupor and move on with my life.
The very best to both of you.
You know what, I have not met one person who has been through this and similar (such as had a “normal” western style divorce with at least some, albeit limited access) who has said anything different: “You have got to get on with your life.” It’s true–but what a step to take. I am not able to take it yet.
Maybe by coincidence that ‘throw in the towel’ phrase got tossed around again. I originally said it, but I meant it in reference to a battle that I’ve lost with my ex- not in regards to my kids. I’ll always be there for them and help them whenever I can and try to stay in touch. Maybe they’ll come back to me.
Anyway, three years is enough for me. I wasn’t ready either and fought tooth and nail. Now I’m done with the war. You know when it’s over, when that is best. I pray for the future; a bitter father won’t help his children.
It’s a tragedy. Think of how hard this is for our kids. We do what we can.
I thought I had taken the step….but after nearly 3 years, I realized I was fooling myself. My daughter goes to day-care 10 minutes from where I live and I can’t see her. It makes it even harder when I see her and her mother driving around town. All our circumstances are different…at least I can see her on occasion. But I surely have not gotten on with my life…
I have to get out of this country to gain some sanity. After fighting through the court-joke non-system they have here in Japan, there is not a whole lot more I can do other than try and be happy and get on with my life.
Philip: I understand your comment about the throw in the towel. It is how I feel. Never never give up or throw in the towel on my daughter, but just on this impossible situation.
My son’s father Masato Joken refuses to pay child support. He lives a lavish lifestyle in Tokyo while refusing to answer even a phone call from his son. We live in the USA since our divorce and he supported his son until he remarried. now he won’t help financially or even talk to his son. He has a website business…www.internet.co.jp
I hope people boycott his business until he pays his son what he deserves.
Mother of Issey Joken
[Comment re-posted from the article Japan's Child Support Deadbeats by Admin]
Beyond legal assistance, have you received any help from the US government?
There are people on the opposite side of this situation in that they are being forced to pay support, while their children have been kidnapped, contact with their kids has been stolen, and while they pay the abductor, they’re spending 10′s of thousands of dollars in legal fees in an attempt to regain access to their children.
Yet another instance of Japan wanting to have it both ways where the children are getting hurt. You may have more supporters in the government, especially now with the Hague being the focus, willing to exert pressure on Japan for you and your boy than you may realize.
You should see what you can do in the court system in the US. I don’t know if anything can be done but you could possibly press charges against him if he tries to come back to the US.
Suzanne–Welcome to dealings with Japanese people. For them, as far as I can tell, there is no such thing as “ties by blood”… let alone “love.” All they care about is money–dad is a worker, mum a housewife, failing that they all forget each other including their own children. But THINK HOW LUCKY YOU ARE: YOU HAVE YOUR SON! –For most of us, that is our dream come true.
I have to agree with Alex on this one. Imagine not having any access to your child, not knowing where your child is, not knowing what your child is doing. If that were your plight, you would be shelling out more money in legal fees (and doctor bills for your psychiatrist for your stress) than you would ever receive in child support money.
You really need to consider yourself blessed!
I am a British citizen. I married a Japanese, Masako, in 2002 and we had a delightful son in 2008. We have lived in London since 2002. We then experienced problems in our relationship. Masako visited Japan in the summer of 2010 with our son, after our problems started, but returned to the UK in October 2010, living apart from me. We did not communicate much for the next year and I saw very little of my son. In November 2011, Masako agreed that I could see her and our son.
When I saw her, she asked whether I would agree to her raising Hugo in Japan. I agreed because I knew that my son would be happy with Masako and because he would have a better education in Japan than in the UK; before we split, we had always agreed that Hugo should be educated here and I even tried to find employment here with that in mind but there was nothing suitable. After I said this, Masako told me, for the first time, that she had already arranged to return to Japan and would do so about a week later. I was taken aback but was delighted that, during that final week, she allowed me to see my son almost every day. She even let me come to her flat – I had not been aware of her address prior to that and she never answered calls from me and rarely answered emails. I thought that, even though she was returning to Japan, we were getting somewhere by communicating properly.
Masako agreed that we would meet in Japan to sort out the issues between us, provided that I went there within a month. She left the UK with Hugo on 20 November. I booked a flight the next day and arranged to stay in a hotel in Hiroshima, her home city.
I left the UK on 21 December and arrived in Tokyo the next day; I then flew on to Hiroshima.
Just before I left the UK, Masako emailed me; she had not done so since arriving, other than to confirm her safe arrival and that she would meet me when I arrived. I read the email at the airport. She said that she did not want to see me but would do so because she said she would before she left the UK. We arranged to meetin on 23 December.
I met Masako as arranged. We spent about 30 minutes together, talking about maintenance, education, the problems between us etc; we both had tears in our eyes. All the same she seemed to be in a hurry to get away and received 3/4 phone calls during our time together which irked me given the importance of what we were discusisng. She did not have Hugo with her. The first thing I asked her was where he was. She said that he was with her mother. We agreed to meet on 26 December at my hotel as I had brought a suitcase full of stuff for her from the UK. Masako said that she would bring Hugo. I was happy at the prospect of seeing my son, even though I spent Christmas very much alone.
She did not show up at the arranged meeting time on 26 December. I waited in my hotel room until 5/6pm – she was due there at 11am – but to no avail. That afternoon/evening, I received a call from the hotel’s reception saying that there was a message for me. It was a letter from Masako’s father saying that we should not only divorce but have no further contact. It also said that she would not be coming to see me as arranged.
I am devastated that I might never see Hugo again. I am sat here in this hotel in Hiroshima crying at that prospect. Masako did suggest when I saw her before that it might be better for me not to see Hugo again but I did not take it seriously. Today, I emailed a lawyer for advice – as I have no idea about access to children here even though I am a solicitor in the UK – and entered “access to children in Japan” on Google. Rather than this providing a link to a legal source, it was shocked to find the search results were news articles concerning Japanese women abducting children. Those aricles indicate that there is not much the foreigner can do about it. Further research led me to this website.
I might be wrong, but I feel that I have been cheated by my wife. I agreed that Hugo could return to Japan in good faith, believing it to be in his best interests but never for a moment thinking that I would lose contact with him. I now have to face that prospect. I return to the UK on 30 December. I have no idea if I will see my son before that or ever again. It is very distressing.
Hello Richard, sorry to see that you have joined the fast-growing club of “LBPs” in Japan. My guess is that your wife (ex-wife?) has already decided, along with her parents, that you no longer exist in your son’s life and that you will not see him again. He will be raised without any knowledge of you. As for your mistaken belief that your son will “get a better education” in Japan–ouch! You should have looked into that a little deeper. What will actually happen is he will be processed into an obedient company worker whose stock response to orders to perform trivial tasks will be to bark back, “Yessir! Yessir! Three bags full Sir!” — while bowing continuously — he will be basically an ignoramus with practically zero general knowledge about the outside world beyond Japanese customs, he will not be able to utter a word of English, he will be unable to tell the difference between grand architecture and concrete apartment blocks, and will be just as at home listening to loud construction noise, people hollering on megaphones, and constant din of traffic as discerning any appreciation of music, quietness, or nature sounds. In other words, he will be overwhelmed by Japan and unable to function outside Japan. You have lost him. Sorry to bring you the bad news. This is how child abductors in Japan get away with it: the children are sent to school all day, then returned and kept locked inside doing homework (learning kanji — thousands of years after the rest of the world stopped using picture writing and devised alphabets), all day long every day, and before the children know it, they are processed into Japanese company workers who you couldn’t take anywhere outside Japan because their ignorance, lack of table manners, charm, wit, or language skills are an embarrassment anywhere in the world. Sorry Richard! I’ve already been through it. Please try to exert pressure on the UK government to take more action over the increasing numbers of British children being swallowed up by Japanese child abductors. And spread the word on the Net — start a blog! Get on Facebook about it! You have lost your son — that’s it, gone for good unless you are somehow luckier than the rest of us, but I doubt it. If your father-in-law has already told you that you are out of your son’s life, then, basically, you are.
A lot of what Alex said is true but I have to be more optimistic. A few parents have had success visiting their kids from abroad. Matt Wyman comes from Australia a few times a year. Carl Hillman comes from America. And David Morgan come from Ireland. Fathers from abroad that have come and gone to their ex’s house or the school their kids attend have had some luck. My facebook account is kwbrow2. You can probably contact with the above fathers through facebook. You have to make the though decision on whether to come to Japan and attempt a visit. I would ask the above fathers for their advice. A lot depends on your ex’s parents. There are no easy answer’s but your hopes vs. reality will be much different. Good Luck! You can email me anytime @ email@example.com
Agreed that the items Alex and Kevin wrote are accurate. I do have to say that it is too bad you were duped into thinking the Japanese educational system is possibly better.
Your situation sounds pretty typical. Wife lies, brings the child back, you never get access again. This is not only normal and acceptable under the Japanese culture, the legal system actually promotes no contact between a parent and child after a divorce. They believe that contact with non-custodial parent confuses the child. They seem to believe the better alternative is to give the child PAS (Parent Alienation Syndrome).
The only two cases I can actually think of where parents got good, protected access to their children was when the x-wife had committed some kind of criminal act (unrelated to the custody case). The x-husband was then able to threaten criminal charges to bargain for access to the child.
Unless you can bring up some kind of criminal charges which you can threaten your x-wife with as a bargaining tool, spending money on attorney’s for assistance in Japan is probably a one-way street leading to a dead end.
Better off pressuring your government to take action against Japan.
Best of luck to you.
Hi All, my situation is different. I am a grandparent with a son whose wife is Japanese. They currently reside in Japan. Since my last visit with my grandchildren in the USA, 2 years ago, I have been denied contact with the children. The reason for this is due to witnessing these two little girls being sexually violated by a family member. This occured in a bathroom in the evening and was the night before I was to return to Australia. The experience was shattering and the following morning when discussion was sought I discovered the children had been removed from the home during the night. Yes, there had been a very heated exchange and a request for me to be in the company of the children that night, it was denied. Is this a feature of the Japanese culture about which ignorant Westerners have no idea? Is there anyone to whom I can turn for assistance/advice? Over the two years I have attempted communication, I have only hit the ‘brick’ wall everytime. I’m on the verge of a visit. I have only the address of the wife’s parents….what are my changes of confronting the offender and achieving results? Thanks in advance for any help which might be forthcoming. EW
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