Christopher Savoie freed

According to the Japan Times today, the Fukuoka police finally let Chris Savoie, the “American Dad in Japanese Jail”, free for trying to unabduct (or re-abduct) his children.

If you know the story, Chris Savoie had divorced his Japanese-born wife, Noriko, sometime earlier this year. Noriko Savoie promised not to take the children back to Japan except under limited circumstances. Then, Noriko subsequently decided to settle back in Japan with the Savoie children.

Chris Savoie and four of his cohorts then apparently did this Rambo-style re-abduction on the streets of Fukuoka, Japan to get his children back. So it looks like the kids got abducted twice–I’m sure they feel that way–but to Chris’ perspective he was just unabducting the kids that had originally been abducted in the first place.

As people often use the phrase, “if everyone just decided to . . . “, you could well use it here. If everyone in a contentious child-custody situation just decided to grab their kids when the one party is breaching, there would be a lot of chaos.

And this is what did get caused. Because Chris ended up in Japanese Jail and his custody situation ended up on CNN. Plus got the attention of New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith (R- 4th District), a long-serving U.S. House member who is big on these family issues.

I heard through Debito’s site or one of the other credible blogs that Chris Smith was going to show up in Japan sometime this month to discuss the issues with the appropriate Japanese government officials. I think the J-government will make nice and really not commit to anything. If he’s lucky, they won’t send a Prince Toda to discuss the matter.

(Toda is on the posts-to-do list, but I think I’ve mentioned him before.)

One thing I am getting tired of reading, as I am sure you followers of the Savoie story are, is this “Japan has yet to ratify the Hague Convention!” concerning international child abductions.

Japan is not going to respond to gai-atsu (foreign pressure) over that one. So I am surprised that people keep parroting it. The United States still hasn’t adopted the metric system, but you don’t see any contingent in Congress pushing the issue.

It would be nice if the possibility of special bilateral treaties would also be put out there. Then Japan could negotiate about whatever separate deals it wants. Then, if the press says, “Japan has refused to sign the Hague Convention, and refuses to engage in bilateral treaty negotiations”, well, then this would be saying something.

Since Chris Savoie obtained Japanese citizenship along the way, he doesn’t have to leave Japan I assume. So it will be interesting to see if he gives any Japan-side interviews to the media.