Colin Jones in Japan Times: How J media is portraying J divorcees and child abductors as victims, NJ as perps


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Hi Blog.  Lawyer Colin Jones has hit us with a one-two punch this week in the Japan Times — first by explaining what Christopher Savoie’s arrest and recent release for “kidnapping” his own kids has brought to light, and now about how the domestic media is reacting to it.  Predictably, portraying  Japanese as perpetual victim, NJ as perp and victimizer.  I’ve mentioned the biased NHK report on the subject before (so does Colin below in his article). Now, here’s a deeper roundup and some crystal-balling about how this might affect NJ particularly adversely, as wagons circle and the GOJ protects its own. Excerpt follows. Arudou Debito in Sapporo


Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009
Foreign parents face travel curbs?

…While Japan signing the Hague Convention is certainly a desirable goal, it is probably convenient for everyone on the Japanese government side of the issue for foreigners to be the bad guys. That way they appear to be dealing with a “new” problem, rather than one that they have already ignored for far too long. From there, the easiest way to prevent further abductions is to require foreign residents seeking to exit Japan with their children to show proof that the other parent consents to the travel. This requirement, I believe, will be the most immediate tangible result of Japan signing the Hague Convention (if in fact it ever does).

If such a requirement is imposed, will it apply to Japanese people? Probably not: Japanese citizens have a constitutional right to leave their country. And foreigners? They apparently lack this right — the re-entry permit foreigner residents are required to have is proof that they are not equally free to come and go as they please!

Full article at

4 comments on “Colin Jones in Japan Times: How J media is portraying J divorcees and child abductors as victims, NJ as perps

  • Unless the news reports are mistaken…

    > Predictably, portraying Japanese as perpetual victim, NJ as perp and victimizer.

    Which NJ would that be? Apparently not Chris Savoie. Or the naturalized US citizen Noriko.

    > the GOJ protects its own

    Maybe their preferred own. A Japanese-born citizen and a naturalized Japanese citizen should have the same legal rights, protections, and obligations. Realistically that may be rather different.

    By the way, here is a Japanese woman who is stuck in Japan for the crime of kidnapping and can not leave for fear of arrest. Perhaps Noriko can look forward to same fate:

  • how long Japan allow international child abductions? too far long and japanese fathers suffer the same way as foregin fathers do:never see thier children again,japanese media cover the fact that japanese mothers lied and the government do nothing to solve this issue.

  • Japan will change this – when it perceives it is in their best economic interests to do so. No amount of logic, international laws or conventions, or personal appeals will likely suffice.

    Japan can change – it just needs to want to do so, and when it does – it will be done with such haste that everyone will wonder what happened. This situation will be corrected by a boycott of goods (IMO, not likely to happen), a threat of diplomatic action that would hit the pocketbook (IMO, a slight possibility – given that US politicians are now more aware), or something else that directly changes the business dynamic. Any of the affected developed countries can fix this if they want to do so.

    I recall years ago, when seemingly overnight, Turkos (i.e. Turkish Baths) were renamed to Soaplands after diplomatic overtures from the government of Turkey.

  • Mumei, does that case make sense? Mainichi says the woman was indicted in the U.S. for international child abduction, yet the divorce took place in Japan after the family moved to Japan. That seems like a real stretch, though I guess if they could prove she moved with the father and children to Japan with intent to divorce under Japanese law a case could be made. This can’t be confirmed because she is unnamed. The article doesn’t even say how long they lived together before separating. If the case is real, it seems this could be unfair to the woman if she couldn’t leave Japan to defend without risking imprisonment.

    Ironically, if she were guilty of moving to Japan for a favorable result, this would be a strategy recommended by this lawyer:

    “In fact, it may even be beneficial to patch up even a bad relationship, at least temporarily, until changes have been accomplished that might yield a better result in a different jurisdiction.”


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