American Dad in Japan Jail Backwash

I’m done with the he-said-she-said about this case. But I happened to find out from Debito’s website that there is a lot of discussion about it in diplomatic-oriented media.

This one presents the biggest chuckle (well, chuckle for what you can find funny about the situation). According to the Foreign Policy magazine website, the U.S. State Department advised Chris Savoie to try and get the kids to a U.S. consulate where they could obtain passports, and implicitly, be helped.

Woo hoo! Chris must be feeling like Charlie Brown after Lucy pulls the football out from under him! I don’t know if he gets to read comics while he is eating bean paste in the Japanese jail.

Here is the relevant part of the article:

Even before Savoie traveled to Japan, he contacted the State Department’s Office for Citizen Services to ask for advice on how to get his children out of Japan. State Department officials advised Savoie that because a U.S. court had awarded him sole custody on Aug. 17, he could apply for new passports for the children if he could get them to the Fukuoka consulate.

On Sept. 28, Savoie drove alongside his ex-wife and children while they were walking to school, forced the children into his car, and headed for the consulate. By the time he got there, his wife had alerted the local police, who arrested him on the spot and placed him under investigation for “kidnapping minors by force,” according to the officials.

U.S. consular officials met with Savoie the next day, gave him legal advice, and passed some messages back to his family in the States. Since then, State Department officials have brought up the Savoie case “at the highest levels” of their interactions with Japanese officials, including between the embassy in Tokyo and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, officials said, but to no avail.

Some of the commenters at that website question the validity of that whole account. They don’t think the State Department involves itself very much at all in these unabductions.

I have rather sarcastically pointed out that it does upset these guys’ quasi-vacations in their exotic postings overseas. You might call me jealous because the only postings I’m involved with overseas are the ones you read on this blog.

But you would think either the local U.S. government anything would be four-square behind you as a citizen, or they would give you an honest game plan if they aren’t going to be involved at all. This sort of half-assed, “well, if you could get the kids to the consulate, we’ll get them passports”—if true that it was said—is really sad. Because when Savoie got there, they wouldn’t let him in!

It isn’t just the 82 abductees here in Japan. There are a whole slew of equal rights and equal protection issues, mostly going to labor and contract matters, that the U.S. does squat about here. The game plan is that there is no plan!

Well, that’s not too good, is it?

5 thoughts on “American Dad in Japan Jail Backwash

  1. There is likely quite a lot being left out of this story as well and could boil down to a he said/they said situation really quickly.

    We don’t really know what Christopher asked and we don’t really know what he was told.

    Tokyo Embassy web site:

    states that in order to get a passport for kids under 16, he needs BOTH parents consent or proof that he is the sole guardian. They would
    likely have told him that at the very least.

    What the pencil pusher said beyond that or what Chris chose to hear is anybody’s guess. They could very well have told him that he should NOT go after the kids because this isn’t the movies and he wasn’t going to get any help.

  2. Link off of the previous one with a nice quote:

    “Congress’ purpose in adding this requirement that both parents’ consent be demonstrated is to lessen the possibility that a U.S. passport might be used in the course of an international parental child abduction.”

    Some pencil pusher might have overstepped some boundaries but the website is still clear and Christopher should have known what he was setting himself up for.

    1. It’s the problem with contemporary government in America that many times the people want to make like they’re doing something, when in fact all it is is collecting a check.

      Definitely some crossed signals on this play.

  3. Mr. Savoie was awarded sole custody by the court in Tennessee when Ms. Savoie kidnapped the children and came to Japan. That would be enough for him to get passports wouldn’t it?

    1. Ah, here we go, though.

      Sole custody in Tennessee (a state). But the federal goverment makes federal rules. I don’t know if they have to defer to a state’s determination about custody, although it makes no sense that they wouldn’t.

      I don’t condone what ex-Mrs. Savoie did, but I sympathize with her situation. I think too much planning and plotting occurred with this break-up. But I promised myself no more he-said-she-said.

      Bottom line, though, American overseas instrumentalities are supposed to be there for US. Why do these people think they’re posted overseas? This is a sad legacy of the rotten Bush Administration.

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