Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] A Human Rights Issue-Custodial Justice.
I was interested to track down Japanese views on American dad CHRISTOPHER SAVOIE and his attempt to abduct his children from their mother and take them back to the U.S. And I just couldn't find anything. I kept wondering why my searches of various Japanese newspapers--even in Fukuoka--kept coming up with zero.
Then I found this piece on CNN. Seems the Japanese don't see this as "news," so they're not reporting it. Needless to say, the apparently Japanese reporter who interviewed various Americans found that they all declared--in a rather jingoistic humph--that Japan's ways of doing things were "archaic and rigid" because they're different from the way things are now done in U.S. The reporter also asserts that Japan treats DV and child abuse as strictly private affairs, and ignores them somehow because they believe in sole custody. Where the evidence for that is, I don't know. And you don't think that Americans try to sweep DV and child abuse under the rug too, especially in family court? Of course they do.
Frankly, I'm not seeing any of it. According to one of the very few articles on the attempted abduction to come out of Japan (Japan Times--posted here earlier today), one of the reasons that Japan doesn't endorse the Hague Convention is because too many Japanese women are being abused by foreigner husbands, so there's a need to protect them and their children post-divorce through sole custody. So the Japanese seem to be quite aware of domestic violence, at least no less so than the Americans, who are always trying to push battered women into joint custody with a violent ex-husband.
The comments to this CNN piece are interesting too. Of course, you have the usual self-righteous fathers rights types and disgrunted ex-husbands. But you also see a lot of Japanese anger over American attempts to meddle in their family policies. I've reproduced some of these mostly Japanese responses below the CNN piece. Oh, and check out the little digs regarding the U.S. criminal justice system, high violent crime rates, high divorce rates, and lack of universal health care. Juicy stuff!
An interesting question comes to mind here. If the FRs insist that selfish American women get divorces in high numbers because they get everything (in reality, they mostly get poverty and joint custody), then WHY is the divorce rate much lower in Japan? With the promise of sole custody, you'd figure every married Japanese woman would be clamoring for a divorce--if the FR assumption were correct. Quite the opposite. So it doesn't appear that divorce rates necessarily have much to do with cultural assumptions about custody.
Family man’s plight not news in Japan
Posted: 806 GMT
Christopher Savoie’s case is playing out dramatically over the airwaves and in the blogosphere — an American man with sole legal custody of his young children, jailed in Japan for trying to bring his abducted children back to the U.S.
But if you’re Japanese, you’ve never heard of Savoie, because the story hasn’t been on a newscast or in the newspapers.
Based in Tokyo, among our first calls was to the local press in Fukuoka. The newspaper told us “This isn’t news.” When we asked if they would cover it because of the growing international interest, the paper flatly said, “No.”
That response is a window into the Japanese mindset of the privacy of the home, and helps explain the cultural and legal clash in which Savoie is trapped.
Invading into the domicile is considered taboo, where issues like domestic violence and child abuse still culturally remain private matters.
Japanese family law follows suit, hesitant to order families to recognize joint custody. It prefers to obey the cultural norm of the woman having primary custody, which often means the father never has any contact with the children. That would be unthinkable in a U.S. court, which sees joint custody as a matter of course in divorce.
The Americans I’ve interviewed in this story say they’re flabbergasted by Japan’s archaic and rigid laws. But in this culture, there’s no discussion about it. They don’t even consider it news.
Posted by: Kyung Lah
And a few of the reader responses:
How is it archaic just because it disagrees with American laws and values?
Why is it always that American values are considered fashionable, while East Asian values are considered a thing of the past? Americans need to wake up and start to realize that as they associate themselves more in this ever increasingly globalized world, that them and their values are not superior.
American opinion regarding children and divorce is very onesided. Yesterday the news was about the Japanese wife that kidnapped the kids. If she ever comes back to USA most likely she will be harassed and most likely jailed by the USA justice system ( police, prosecutors, judges, marshals, jail people) . This problem is temporary for until the kids become of age when they will anyway separate from their parents. USA thinks that it’s justice system is perfect and the rest of the world’s is flawed. Just let the kids be happy and with the next wife the man can be more caring. He can also visit them and make his presence known by sending gifts. All in all is not lost.
If this was about a European or any one else besides an American this wouldn`t be news Either. Epic Fail CNN. 85% of your news is about the united states. Sad really.
Well, the gentleman has apparently broken the law, and without knowing any details of his particular case it is impossible to justify his actions. As far as Japanese laws are concerned, the country enjoys 97% crime solvency rates, versus around 19% in the USA. Domestic abuse is a problem in every society, but there is hardly an indication of its predominance in Japan.
Did the father get the Japanese citizenship for a free medical care for his heart ailment? Or was it the mother’s idea to keep him and the kids under the Japanese law, in which case she is a smarter and more fit parent I must say.
CNN Japan site reveals some facts and the other side of the story which caught my attention. Mr. Savoie and the ex- wife is still legally married in Japan since they never filed for divorce in Japan. Japanese police discovered that Mr. Savoie has been Naturalized in Japan since 4years ago and therefore this case is dealt as married couple and the father trying to abduct children from their country.Both children hold Japanese passports.These facts were never discussed on American news.
also, on the talks about american v japans society and their laws, the crime rate here is almost nil in compairison to the US so abduction, even if the american laws said they were your children is a serious offense. also if this news were televised in japan or put in the news papers, it would be the american, mr savoie who is portraid as the criminal because he tried to take the children from the mother, who has sole custody, so if your asking for news coverage you would be asking for another bad light to be shinned on america
I am a Japanese. You are so right about one thing, “invading into the domicile is considered taboo” in Japan. I can’t even believe that picure of his kids and his ex-wife is exposed to the world and being controberted behind their back. I think Japan have many things to learn from other countries, but we have to respect different culture. As to this case, the problem is that they got divorced.Why dovorce rate is high in the States?I hope Japan and U.S. will work together to bring back quiet life to these kids.Technorati Tags: Japanese,American,kids,news,Dads,CHRISTOPHER,SAVOIE,children,newspapers,Fukuoka,zero,piece,reporter,Americans,Japan,affairs,custody,Where,abduction,Times,Hague,Convention,foreigner,violence,husband,comments,self,rights,digs,justice,system,crime,rates,health,Juicy,numbers,woman,assumption,Quite,newscast,Tokyo,newspaper,paper,response,mindset,privacy,domicile,norm,father,culture,discussion,Kyung,reader,East,Asian,world,opinion,wife,judges,Just,gifts,European,Either,Epic,Fail,gentleman,actions,Domestic,indication,predominance,citizenship,heart,ailment,parent,attention,Both,talks,papers,coverage,life,articles,fathers,policies,responses,assumptions,doesn,women,husbandsNote: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] A Human Rights Issue-Custodial Justice.