Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on December 6th, 2008
Hi Blog. Here’s a bit of astounding news. Comment follows article.
Nebraska court rules Japan has jurisdiction in child custody case
AP/Japan Today Saturday 06th December, 04:40 AM JST
Courtesy of AW
OMAHA – The Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s courts have no jurisdiction over a custody dispute involving a 6-year-old boy, leaving the issue to a Japanese court.
In the ruling issued Friday, the court said a Douglas County district judge had no authority to grant joint custody of the boy to his divorced parents, even though the boy was born in Nebraska and had lived here while in the U.S.
The court determined that under custody law, the child’s residence is considered to be in Japan.
The boy’s father, Stuart Carter, was stationed with the U.S. Navy in Yokosuka in October 2002, when the boy was about 10 weeks old. When his assignment ended in May 2005, Carter left his wife and took the child back to Nebraska.
According to court documents, Carter did not tell his wife, Nahoko Hata Carter, that he was going back to the U.S. or that he was taking the boy with him. Within days of arriving in Nebraska, he filed for legal separation and custody of his son.
Nahoko Hata Carter holds U.S. and Japanese citizenship.
Her attorney, Susan Koenig, said Friday that Nahoko Hata Carter, who has been living in Nebraska so she can see her son, plans to file a custody petition in Japan. Ideally, Koenig said, the mother would like to move back there with the boy.
A message left Friday for Stuart Carter’s attorney was not immediately returned.
The couple married Nov 11, 1994, after Stuart Carter was stationed in Japan. Because of his military duty, they later lived in California, Kansas and Nebraska, where their son was born.
Koenig said that because they moved back to Japan, the boy’s first language was Japanese and that he had close contact with his mother’s relatives.
“His whole culture, his whole life has been in Japan, until he was brought (back) here,” she said.
Koenig said that’s why custody should be determined by a Japanese court. She explained that the boy’s day-care provider, doctors and close family members—all of whom would likely testify at a custody hearing—are there.
“All the evidence is in Japan,” she said.
COMMENT: We should hope the Japanese courts would be so impartial. But they aren’t. Contrast with the Murray Wood Case, where international children kidnapped from British Columbia (whose courts granted the Canadian father custody) were deemed unremovable from Japan. And are American courts so ignorant to not know (or was Mr Carter’s legal defense so inept to not point out) that Japan does not recognize joint custody, full stop? Mr Carter will not get a fair trial in Japan. No child kidnapped to Japan as of yet has been returned to the NJ parent by a Japanese court. He’s lost his kid. Full stop. Debito in Sapporo