Following are a further selection of readers’ responses to the Zeit Gist articles on child custody and parental child abduction by Colin P. A. Jones (Oct. 20, Nov. 17, Nov. 24) and “Richard Cory” (Nov. 3):
One side of the story
Your article “Fatally flawed math: betting a family on Japan” (Nov. 3) inspired in me scornful pity. This father is pathetic, and the ridiculous illustration at least correctly depicts him as a clown. Should I also add weak and masochistic?
Whether a marriage goes well or bad, it is the result of both spouses. While it is fully right to discuss the necessity to sign the Hague Convention, covering child abduction only from one side — the foreign husband’s — gives a distorted debate.
A typical example is the coverage of Christopher Savoie’s unsuccessful escapade. Mr. Savoie is skilled in manipulation: He had an affair with a person who has since become his wife, and that occurred around the same time he brought his Japanese ex-wife and kids to the USA. The situation of ex-Mrs. Savoie — betrayed by Mr. Savoie, then single but forced to live abroad nearby her remarried husband in order to keep close contact with her children — deserved compassion, and logically explains the action she took.
I appreciated the interesting testimonies from a Japanese father as well as from Debito Arudou on the subject, but the “Richard Cory” article is a nonevent and does not elevate your newspaper.
Abduction is always wrong
It is with sadness that I read about all these abduction cases in Japan. The case of Christopher Savoie is not unique. I wonder why no government in the world ever wants to do something about this.
I live in Spain. I have a friend in Barcelona who is coping with depression now because his Japanese wife took their two kids back to Aichi Prefecture, and will never let the kids even talk to their dad on the phone, let alone let him visit them.
The worst thing I witnessed was last October, when the man was in hospital and was going to have surgery. He was told that he must notify his family before the operation, so he called his family in Japan. The wife picked the phone and just hung up on hearing the man’s voice. His mother-in-law, who he calls “mom,” did the same thing. And yet he sends money there every month.
Abduction is wrong, whether it be to North Korea or Japan. No one has the right to cut off kids from their parents.
Same thing happened to me
It is really sad to hear that no satisfactory solution was found in the Christopher Savoie case.
I am a Korean citizen living in the States, married to a Japanese woman, with two kids. The same thing happened to me this year: As I was discussing divorce with my wife, she just returned back to Japan with the two kids, to her parents’ house, registered for school there, and has stopped all communication with me, and will not let me see the kids.
This is really an impossible situation, and I am lost, not knowing what to do. It’s also difficult financially, as we are not officially divorced, and I cannot even sell the house, close our bank account, etc.
It’s really painful, and I understand the pain that Mr. Savoie must be going through.
Mountain View, Calif.
Consult your local mobster Mr. Cory, perhaps the time has come to consult with your local yakuza and discuss the price for handling a difficult situation.
Many times legal problems go awry and justice does not prevail. That is why we have an underworld and, if you are willing to pay, your problem might go away — permanently.
Laugh and dismiss my comments if you like, but debt collectors in Japan do indeed collect debts.
ANDREW J. BETANCOURT
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