Wisconsin father whose girl was returned from Japan leaves a message on Hoofin.

It’s on the long thread of discussion from last Friday, here.

My remarks in a bit.

[Update: Here is an ABC news blog link of the original reporing on Dr. Garcia’s story, “Christmas Miracle for Dad Locked in Custody Battle”.

[Update #2: Dr. Moises Garcia’s text and my comments:

As the father of the only abducted [A]merican children returned from Japan by legal means, I need to reply some of the statements here.

1)- I fully endorse Global Future and its member as a serious organization to help in the work of child abduction in Japan. I disagree with Mr. Toland when he said that both organizations (BACHOME and Bring Sean Home) never attack other parents. In fact, I was banned twice from participating in BSH forum after being publicly attacked by two parents from the BACHOME group. In addition, I had been hijacked in my Facebook account and website and I have to erase all the BACHOME member to protect my privacy. However, the date of my daughter arrival, my comments posted in Facebook where hijacked again. I traced the string as I left only one person on the BACHOME group with access to my account, and there I could find other BACHOME member invading my privacy.

I agree that the one group, BACHome, has radicalized. They obviously have the goal of bringing kids, well, “back home”, but it seems to be getting lost in the antics that the major players in the group seem to enjoy, actually. A lot of which boils down to internet bickering, ehem . . .

Please also notice that several comments have been posted in different blogs disregarding my case a a “fluke”. There are only less than 20 people that know all the details in my case, therefore I totally disagree with the statement that I was lucky enough that my ex was stupid to travel to Hawaii. At the same token, can we say the same from Mr. Goldman?

I have to read up on the Goldman case, because people keep mentioning it and just know the general points. Many people feel that the reason Dr. Moises was successful was because of Inoue’s arrest in Hawaii. But here, it’s obvious that some more things were influential.

Most recently, I have noticed activity from the Bachome group in their website by congratulating me about the case, and most recently an article at the Japan times. In both cases, they tried to attach my image to their group in spite of me sending letter requesting no to use my name or my daughter’s name as I don’t endorse the activity of the group and it is my opinion that this group make more damage than good.

For commentary for my BACHome readers to consider.

2)- As there are misunderstanding about the dimension of my case, let me give you a background.

I have been sole custodian in US since February 2008. My wife fully participated in the divorce action in Wisconsin who has fully jurisdiction. I was granted permanent custody on June 2009.

These are very important details. Wisconsin had jurisdiction over the divorce, and Ms. Inoue participated in the divorce proceeding in Wisconsin. Wisconsin granted custody.

As many don’t know, I became sole legal custodian under Japanese law in Septemeber 2009. My US judgment was recognized in Japan by the Osaka High Court and Tokyo Supreme Court. The reason why Karina was not ordered to return was the “Lack of enforcement” (My opinion, this is the main problem in Japan, no the fact that they have a sole custody system). The case was dragged into appeal for nearly 2 years.

This is noteworthy: The Wisconsin judgment, which preceded the decision in Japan, was recognized by the Japanese courts. So there must some form of res judicata in Japan’s civil law system. Res judicata, also referred to as claim preclusion, is what prevented Paul Toland from getting jurisdiction in America, and why the best advice, as I see it, is you look for American jurisdiction before you rely on Japanese jurisdiction. That is, in cases where you can credibly assert American jurisdiction. I appreciate that, in many cases, the person cannot.

What is also noteworthy is “lack of enforcement” by Japanese authorities. This is classic “Japan oops” or Japanese shade of gray. You are in the right, but you have no way to get your remedy. I see this as Japanese screwing around, if only for the simple fact that, in other instances, Japan is VERY good about enforcing things.

I went to fight custody in Japan 9 times. Finally, the Japanese Court agreed with me and issue its final opinion on October 2011. It is true, my wife was in Jail, but the appeal was in place since march 2011. People don’t know that the court could have given custody to the grandparents who could have tried to bargain more with the US Court.

Instead the Japanese court reported:

– Sole custody should be kept to me (I never lost custody in Japan)

– For the first time, a Japanese court recognized the existence of Parental Alienation as a form of child abuse.

– For the first time, a Japanese court recognized that bicultural children need more than the Japanese culture as part of their heritage.

I am assuming that the reason the Japanese court declared for Dr. Moises was because the Wisconsin court had already so ruled. What Dr. Moises says here leads me to think that, in the opinion, there is some hedging, though. (I also assume that there is a written opinion, since there is the discussion about parental alienation, child abuse, and the needs of so-called bicultural children.) I still feel that the victory was due to the fact that there was already a decision in Wisconsin . . . plus, frankly, that the wife was sitting in the pokey. Judges read the headlines.

Unfortunately, Japanese media and the Japanese government are hidden this information. It seems that groups as Bachome and BSH also want to hide this information by disregarding all my victories in Japanese court and focusing only in the fact of my wife incarceration.

I agree with you, Dr. Moises, that you got a significant victory in the Japanese court system. I am still just unclear whether it had to do with res judicata, or whether somehow, independently, the judges in Japan have this new awareness about international marriage and child custody. With your information, I can see the argument for both. It’s also, though, that judges read the headlines.

I will say this, though: I don’t think you won in Japan because you showed deference to the Japanese court system. You already had a win stateside.

TBS (Tokyo broadcasting System) did an internal survey about the news, and Japanese opinion was [on] my side as well due to the facts mentioned about.

It is also unfortunate, that US national media were not interested in my news due to the fact that I did not allow them to show Videos of the reunification with my daughter. That is the same media that have covered stories for the BACHOME and BSH group.

Different than in such case, US local media (Wisconsin) was utilized in this case to minimize the exposure on the child.

I am convinced that, if the issue were put to the everyday Japanese people, they would agree that joint custody is the best, and the needs of the child should govern the overall situation. I have my own strong opinions why the Japanese government / the runners of Japan keep screwing around. I think each child’s case has become a proxy for “Japan’s sovereignty”, and this, in turn, is a way for a bunch of old men—many of whom have not accepted Japan’s humiliating defeat in World War II—to have a petty fight with Uncle Sam. No one in Japan is going to say that, but it fits the circumstances.

Good for you not to let the story be made into something other than what you wanted.

3)- Role of congress:

I want to make public that I received a call from Congressman Smith the date of the arrival of my daughter to Wisconsin on 12/23. However, I decided no[t] to answer as I knew that my name and my daughter’s name could be utilized for different purpose such as supporting the above groups. I went to Mr. Smith’s office several time during the time of my daughter abduction. [T]he last one when my ex was incarcerated to request his support. Unfortunately, I was told by his chief staff that the office could not be involved in my case as their level of involvement in Japanese case was just to the level of raising awareness among all the congressional offices.

Right? And we all know how this goes: that friendly support is genuine help, but help to some other end of the helper. I think it’s great of Chris Smith to “raise awareness”, but he was definitely also signaling that his help was merely to “raise awareness” in the context of how Chris Smith always focuses on family issues. If the awareness raising grew to something more than that, he’d get a visit from Hogan Hartwell Hogan Lovells, or which law firm does the Japan lobbying nowadays, telling him to “knock it off!”

When I urged them to act like they did with Mr. Goldman, they refused in spite of several arguments done by my attorney (who was present in the meeting) and other member of Global future. My question is why now that I was successful bringing my daughter from Japan with the help of Wisconsin Law Enforcement, his office is even mentioned in published articles and in the recent article published at Japan times?

Well, it’s clear that BACHome has one agenda, Congressman Smith participates in a limited way—which is still good—but, really, Wisconsin law enforcement did all the leg work, with an assist from someone in Hawaii who caught the tagged file.

It’s like the Little Red Hen. The hen went around, asking who would help to make the bread. (“Who will help me harvest the wheat?”) None of the other farm animals would help. Finally, the Little Red Hen baked some bread, and all the farm animals were there for a slice.

If Mr. Smith would have intervened back in June 2011, Karina could have been returned quickly minimizing the severe parental alienation subjected at the end, and the issue could have become much bigger in terms of International Pressure over Japan. What a dream case, a strong case of kidnapping with US jurisdiction and strong legal case in Japan?

Yup. It further shows that Congressman Smith is only so much interested, and the State Department is allowed to do only so much.

[W]hat a wasted opportunity for all other left behind parents. I remember that Mr. Smith had a hearing on the parental abduction issue at around the time my ex was arrested, and when I called his office to participate in the hearing, I was told that I could not be included!!! But again Mr. Goldman was there together with other BACHOME people.

I get the feeling that BACHome and Smith coordinate what they are going to do. If your situation doesn’t fit the agenda of the moment, or if you don’t go along with the agenda of the moment, well, that is your problem. That is the impression I am getting. It’s not atypical in anything involving foreigners joining together on a Japan issue. More than in most situations, it is, “What can YOU do for ME as WE work together . . . ?” Surprising that not everyone takes up an offer like that, (ehem.)

3)- I am a very fortunate person to have my daughter back at home. I wish the same for all the parents in the same situation independently of our differences. However, it is strategically wrong to assume that Japan will return all the children in block without reviewing the facts on each case, to be successful we have to recognized the following:

– Japan is a sovereign country.

– The US state department and US system is a complex system with integrated laws and regulations that need to be respected. Therefore, demanding the state department to do something outside their function is pointless. We need to work hard in congress to give tools to the US state department and US justice department to function properly in this situation.

– cases with strong US jurisdiction should be first in the list.

– Cases with DV, lack of child support (dead beat parents, unfit parents (parents on disability) should be discussed individually.

– lastly, cases with strong Japanese jurisdiction should be included under “Human rights” violation.

If we keep putting all cases in the same basket, it will be very easy for Japan to pick one of the weakest cases and make the strong cases look weaker. They tried this strategy in my case at the Japanese courts and it was quite difficult to eliminate.

I agree, and more people should listen to your experience and expertise.

I hope this explanation could [satisfy] some of the question[s] that have been formulated here. I agreed with the host that Wisconsin case is an important one, and I am willing to help other parents, but this has to be done with a strategy and no with emotion, otherwise Japan will keep dragging the process longer and we could have lost an important opportunity.

Congratulations again, Dr. Moises, and I hope there are more reunions in the future.