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Custody case a test for Japan, says U.S. father seeking access to girl held by grandmother

by

Staff Writer

A U.S. man seeking access to his daughter said Monday that the case is an opportunity for Japan to prove to the world it no longer tolerates parental child abduction.

U.S. Navy Cmdr. Paul Toland is suing the mother of his Japanese ex-wife for denying access to his 13-year-old daughter.

His former wife left with the child in 2003, at the age of 9 months, after their marriage failed. The woman committed suicide four years later.

Toland said his situation would amount to a “felony crime” in other countries with up-to-date family laws.

“In Japan, this abduction by a nonparent is not only accepted, but it is condoned. I’m the only parent in the world to (my daughter),” Toland said, who is in Japan for the first time since the trial at the Tokyo Family Court kicked off in July.

Toland said if the case is resolved it would demonstrate to the world that Japan is turning over a new leaf after years of notoriety as a “safe haven” for parental child abduction. If his daughter is not returned to him, he said, it will only alienate the nation further.

Japan joined The Hague Convention on cross-border parental child kidnapping in 2014. The pact does not apply in Toland’s case because the abduction was within Japan — Toland’s family was based in Yokohama at the time. In addition to this, the convention cannot be applied retroactively.

“How can we expect Japan to ever resolve more complicated divorce, child custody issues if it cannot even resolve this very straightforward case, which does not involve divorce and where one parent is deceased and the nonparent is withholding a child above the parent who wants to care for her?” he said.

The daughter has said in a statement submitted to the Tokyo Family Court that she does not wish to be reunited with her father, according to Akira Ueno, Toland’s lawyer.

Given that the separation occurred when the girl was a baby, this suggests that her attitude was learned from others and that she is under a misapprehension of what her father is really like, Ueno said.

“In cases this like, Japanese courts have immaturely decided that children shouldn’t be returned to parents, oblivious to the fact that they’re bound to suffer once becoming adults,” Ueno said.

  • Terry

    So why now? The mother died 9 years ago. This girl has never know, probably never seen, her father. Does she even speak English? If this is his first time in Japan he certainly isn’t going to be moving there to care for her.

    The time for this argument was when she was 4. Sending her off with a stranger to the US is insane.

    • simplethinking

      It isn’t just now.

      The father has been fighting since his daughter was abducted. He has battled in courts, testified in front of the US congress, advocated for legislation in the US to hold countries like Japan accountable, advocated for Japan to join the Hague, etc.

      It is only recently, after decades of resistance, that Japan finally joined the Hague treaty and, in theory at least, was supposed to pass legislation in order to comply with that treaty.

    • AmIJustAPessimistOrWhat?

      It doesn’t sound like things have worked out very well for this girl, no matter what happens now. Generally speaking, the child can benefit from every relationship, including parents and grandparents, step parents, etc., whenever the adult cares about the child.

      The best thing would be to allow the child to maintain at least a minimum amount of contact with each, and to leave open future possibilities. But this is something very difficult to do when the adults involved hate each other.

      Still, the courts could try to mandate visits, possibly monitored visits. (The father could hire a translator if he doesn’t speak Japanese). Then, it would be possible for this father to tell the girl that she is always welcome – an important message for her to know – just knowing it would, in general, be beneficial.

      • savvykenya

        I support your view..

      • Shawn Sato-Veillon

        Yeah, I too am on board with this view. Although, after all these years, he should be able to speak Japanese. Anyone know if he does or not? I would think so, since eventually he’d likely go to court, and at least have to speak to his mother-in-law.

        Too much is unknown from this article too. He is still in the military? Is his life one that is good for parenting?
        I think also there is the matter of getting a resident visa. He should be granted one so that he can be close to his daughter.

        I’m curious too, why he didn’t just steal her back. I’m pretty sure the US would allow him to keep her, and would not allow legal action from the mother-in-law.

      • wellabove

        The Japanese articles have more detail. He is still in the military and now in Hawaii. (Details in another comment on his motives for moving to Hawaii)

      • Gojira

        “I’m curious too, why he didn’t just steal her back.” Because then he would be subject to the Hague convention, ironically.

      • Gojira

        “I’m curious too, why he didn’t just steal her back.” Because then he would be subject to the Hague convention, ironically.

    • blondein_tokyo

      You are only speculating. It’s illogical to draw an absolute conclusion on speculation.

      • mizuno

        Wait and see what happens. You too are speculating here otherwise.

    • Toolonggone

      Obviously, you didn’t bother read the article.

      • wellabove

        The Hague Convention has absolutely zero to do with non-international issues. The teenager in this case is a Japanese national who was born in Japan and lived every single day of her life in Japan.

        Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is not listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as a psychiatric disorder and is not recognized as a valid medical syndrome by the American Medical Association, or the American Psychological Association.

        One thing that angry litigious parents often forget is that children see the pain and stress (and experience the affects of drained finances and resources that defending these cases require) constant lawsuits have on the parent being sued, and the child will make a judgement on their own against the dad who is attempting to bankrupt, imprison, or exclude the parent who is taking care of them and feeding them. The mom doesn’t need to psychologically manipulate the child as PAS claims. The court is sowing the seeds of discontent in the child on its own.

        Of course, the suing parent always arrogantly thinks “the child will eventually see things my way. They will come to understand that I had to cause mommy stress and anguish because I love them.” That’s pretty presumptuous and narcissistic.

        You may not think it’s fair, but one of the best ways to alienate a kid and get them to hate you is to sue the person taking care of them. Doesn’t matter if you are right. The kid isn’t guaranteed to see it that way. A court judgement can’t make a kid love or forgive you.

      • Toolonggone

        You seem to forget one important thing in this case. It is NOT the father who created the problem–his late ex-wife and family-in-the-law did. His daughter was too young to know who her father was and what happened to her parents.

        Japanese court has a history of shutting down the other side of parent–almost indefinitely–by refusing him/her any right to meet with kids–regardless of race, gender, nationality, etc. It doesn’t really matter if h/she has behavioral problem that would be psychologically or psychically harmful to kids. The Japanese legal system judged Toland ineligible, unsuitable for parenting a child–even before his overall characteristics and aptitude as a responsible adult was fully evaluated at the court(s). The Japanese court was unwilling to bear any hearing that would go beyond the stories of his ex-wife’s family. They didn’t even bother verify the credibility of family’s testimony, either.

        Left-behind parents have the right to get angry with attitude of and indifference to social justice, although the option for legal resort is up to them. There are too many loopholes in domestic legal system that needs to be fixed right away, since this has been affecting so many people regardless of one’s nationality. You cannot simply bury them under the myth of non-litigious culture.

      • wellabove

        Left-behind parents do have the right to get angry, but they do not have the right to expect their kids to love them if they do. You can’t buy love, and you can’t win the love of your kids in court either. I don’t know why you’re bringing up myth of Japan Whatever Culture. This goes for any country.

        If a parent sues the other parent, they do so at their own peril: they risk irreversibly or further alienating their own children, regardless of the court outcome. Win or lose.

      • Toolonggone

        I have no idea what you mean by ” they do not have the right to expect their kids to love them if they do.” Your accusation of left-behind parents just seems to be getting tedious.

        You choose to ignore the contemporary cultural norms surrounding the Japanese legal system and instead go for sweeping generalization.

        Again, this is one of the problems created by the Japanese family law system. The reality is that most Japanese courts do not even bother grant the other side visitation rights. Even though the court grants visitation rights in a rare case, It’s usually only a 2-3 times, couple of hours each at best. This is not the case for the US. You still have the visitation rights to meet your kids–at least way much longer than 24 hours/day. Even fathers who have a history of drug or alcohol problem could have a chance to meet with kids.(This of course sheds light on the problem with US family law, though).

        Toland has been denied access by his mother-in-law ever since his ex-wife suddenly took his baby without consent. He didn’t have a fair chance for sharing his own story heard about the incident because Japanese court didn’t bother doing so. They took the family-in-the-law’s story that vilified Toland as “selfish, drunk, and violent prone,”and hence, unsuitable as a parent.(which is still unknown if it’s true or not, since no one has any input on the relationship between the two while his ex-wife was still alive). What makes it even worse is that his mother-in-law has kept denying him access until today–whether by phone, e-mail, Skype, personal visit, or whatever. If you are in the US, you can appeal to the local court for petition, and you may get a chance to meet your kids regularly based on court order. In Japan, that’s not gonna happen–almost none.

        This is not just for Toland or any other non-Japanese. This is virtually applied to most Japanese parents(usually fathers) who were unable to meet with their kids after losing the custody battle. In Japan, if you get divorced and lose child custody battle, you will be shunned from the family almost indefinitely.

      • Gojira

        You seem to have more than a casual interest in this case and the wider issues around it. Not to say your points are without merit; without empathy most certainly.

      • wellabove

        Empathy is relative. I have empathy, but not just blindly for the men. I have empathy for the mothers and the children. It’s the Men’s Rights Activists and the people with grudges against the Japanese that swallow these stories about how the Western Man is always the Good Guy that just wants to love his kids and the Japanese woman is the evil one that is committing child.

        To give you an example, try searching the web for the public statements that this man and some of his cohorts have made about Japan, the Japanese, and women. All of it is angry. Some of it is racist and sexist. It’s a good thing his kid can’t read English. If she could read what he has stated about her own ethnicity, she would probably dislike him even more.

        Remember that the stories you hear in places like this about abduction are always the Man’s Version of the Story. Of course they’re going to spin it so they come off looking like the angel and victim. They’ll add in just a tiny bit of fault to make the story look more believable, of course.

        “The Best Parent is Both Parents.” Um, nope, not always. There is such thing as a crappy parent. And there is such thing as a family that is better off without one of the parents. Yes, it’s sad, but true.

      • Gojira

        Feel free to enlighten me/us with the other perspective.

      • simplethinking

        wellabove: “Left-behind parents do have the right to get angry, but they do not have the right to expect their kids to love them if they do. You can’t buy love, and you can’t win the love of your kids in court either.”

        You really don’t seem to understand the motivation of most LBPs.

        They aren’t trying to “buy” there children’s love. They are trying to protect their children. They are trying to remove their children from unhealthy environments and/or minimize the amount of damage that they will suffer as a result of being abducted and completely cut off from half of their identity.

        Parentally abducted children are frequently told things such: the other parent doesn’t love you; the other parent doesn’t want to see you; the other parent abandoned you; the other parent is no good; etc.

        Have you ever looked into any of the groups started by these abducted children once they grow up and start realizing what happened to them?

        I suggest you check it out. Watch some the interviews.

        Their entire childhood is a lie. It is a narrative shaped by people who aren’t concerned about the well being of the child, only about controlling that narrative.

        If getting your child out of that kind of environment and getting them help is the primary goal.

        You argument is like saying, you shouldn’t try to get your sibling out of an abusive relationship, because they might resent you for it. Only, we aren’t even talking about adults who can make their own decisions and have options. Wes are talking about children who are subject to the whim of their abductors and don’t have the same sort of options that adults have.

      • MBA

        Again simplethinking tries to hide Toland and a few of his cohorts deep within the entire community of left-behind parents. “you just dont understand their motivation”. My suggestion is that some parents (like Toland ) clearly have different motives. For example the motive of revenge and control. But you have to educate yourself on the facts of their cases to get there. Look for the spousal abuse facts, look for snatch-back attempts, look for financial abuse, look for vexatious litigation and repeated legal abuse of the system, look for infidelity, look for child neglect and abuse.

        Some of these abusive left-behind parents use other genuine and valid cases to hide behind and conceal their dirty dirty laundry. Toland and most his group have the worst ugliest facts possible. Simplethinking says watch their interviews (subtext – believe everything what these pathetic man-children say after the fact) but dont read the documents in their cases before the “abduction” whatever you do. Please dont read that stuff.

        I suggest that everyone read each of their court case documents.

        Everyone can see clearly that Toland and a few others like to refer to themselves and their cases in wide generalities. But they avoid the factual records in their specific cases.

      • simplethinking

        MBA : “Again simplethinking tries to hide…”

        Really? “Tries to hide”?

        1. That implies intent to intentionally deceive. For which you have what basis?

        2. It also assumes your position; which even you go on to admit is merely a ‘suggestion’.

        MBA: “My suggestion is that some parents (like Toland ) clearly have different motives. For example the motive of revenge and control.”

        1. Do you also consider the possibility that parents who abducted the children could have been driven by “the motive of revenge and control”?

        2. Do you really think it more likely that non-abducting parents, such as Toland, are secretly just Count of Monte Cristo types – investing years or decades of time, energy and resources (though I doubt too many of them have secret stashes of stolen treasure that was bequeathed to them) – driven solely by “the motive of revenge and control”, than the possibility that these non-abducting parents are simply driven by a desire to be part of their children’s lives and/or protect their children from what they truly believe to be an unhealthy environment?

        MBA: “Look for the spousal abuse facts, look for snatch-back attempts, look for financial abuse, look for vexatious litigation and repeated legal abuse of the system, look for infidelity, look for child neglect and abuse.”

        You lump together quite a few different categories in there:

        – spousal abuse facts: Spousal abuse is definitely something to be admonished. That said, people frequently confuse allegations with ‘facts’.

        Also, abuse is a complex issue issue which many people oversimplify.

        For example, a study on “Differences in Frequency of Violence and Reported Injury Between Relationships With Reciprocal and Nonreciprocal Intimate Partner Violence” showed that:

        “Almost 24% of all relationships had some violence, and half (49.7%) of those were reciprocally violent. In nonreciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases. Reciprocity was associated with more frequent violence among women. Regarding injury, men were more likely to inflict injury than were women, and reciprocal intimate partner violence was associated with greater injury than was nonreciprocal intimate partner violence regardless of the gender of the perpetrator”

        I cite that not to suggest that blame be placed in one directing more than another, merely to highlight the inherent complexities which are frequently overlooked.

        – snatch-back attempts: You seem to suggest that this is a definitively bad thing.

        Generally speaking, when a child is kidnapped and then removed from the kidnapper and returned to a parent, most people tend to consider that a ‘rescue’. Are suggesting that children should just be left with kidnappers and parents who want their children rescued are somehow unreasonable?

        Was Tiffany Rubin wrong for recovering her son who had been kidnapped to South Korea by his father?

        – vexatious litigation and repeated legal abuse of the system:

        Presumably you mean like when a parent removes a child(ren) from say the USA, in violation of a court order? Or when a parent is permitted by the court to remove the child(ren) for a period of time after which they are to return; but they instead stay in the foreign jurisdiction where they know they will be effectively immune from their actions? Or when a parent abducts a child in order to flee a jurisdiction in which they will have to legally share custody?

        Especially, as I can’t imagine any reasonable person putting someone trying to flee a jurisdiction based on sole-custody and lack of meaningful (if any) visitation rights, for a jurisdiction where joint-custody and both meaningful and enforceable visitation is the norm, into the same category.

        – look for infidelity: Infidelity for its own sake is definitely something to be frowned upon. However, as I suspect any decent marriage counselor would confirm, infidelity is not infrequently the result of other underlying marital issues; lack of marital intimacy for example.

        That said, assuming that a non-abducting parent commits an completely unjustified act of infidelity – does being a lousy spouse someone mean that a person is inherently also an unfit parent? Does it mean that a child should be deprived the ability to have a relationship with that parent? Are you seriously proposing that the act of infidelity should cause the termination of all parental rights? Hollywood is sure in trouble!

        Also, doesn’t your holding that up as some sort a justification for parental abduction actually better support the position that it is the abductor who is actually working from the “motive of revenge and control”?

      • MBA

        Toolonggone raises a question about who caused this problem. His comment looks almost exactly like one posted by the real Paul Toland on another similar comments page thread previously.

        So toolonggone inferrs that it was actually Etsuko and then later her mother and family, who caused this problem. My question is which problem?

        IS it-The problem of Etsuko being abused at home in front of the baby by Paul?

        Is it the problem of Toland parading other women in front of Etsuko and their child during divorce mediation?

        Or is it- Is he referring to the problem of Etsukos mother caring for the baby when Toland refused to be reunited with his child?

        Maybe its- Is he referring to Tolands problem of filing loosing case after loosing case, and then his vexatious loosing appeals ?

        Is it the problem of Toland loosing every single case he filed against her? In both countries?

        Is he referring to Tolands problem of mounting court ordered debts that he must pay to Etsuko or risk the possibility that she could just call his base commander?

        Is it the problem of the public catching on to the truth in his “story”?

        Yes … Toolonggone is serious about blaming Etsuko and her family for everything, and Toland was just a poor victim here.

        Toolonggone (like Paul Toland) believes that Toland is a bigger victim than his own abandoned child.

      • Toolonggone

        None of your lines of argument based on speculative assumptions are compelling enough to refute Toland’s point or defend his family-in-the-law’s action. That’s nonsense.

      • MBA

        Toolonggone raises a question about who caused this problem. His comment looks almost exactly like one posted by the real Paul Toland on another similar comments page thread previously.

        So toolonggone inferrs that it was actually Etsuko and then later her mother and family, who caused this problem. My question is which problem?

        IS it-The problem of Etsuko being abused at home in front of the baby by Paul?

        Is it the problem of Toland parading other women in front of Etsuko and their child during divorce mediation?

        Or is it- Is he referring to the problem of Etsukos mother caring for the baby when Toland refused to be reunited with his child?

        Maybe its- Is he referring to Tolands problem of filing loosing case after loosing case, and then his vexatious loosing appeals ?

        Is it the problem of Toland loosing every single case he filed against her? In both countries?

        Is he referring to Tolands problem of mounting court ordered debts that he must pay to Etsuko or risk the possibility that she could just call his base commander?

        Is it the problem of the public catching on to the truth in his “story”?

        Yes … Toolonggone is serious about blaming Etsuko and her family for everything, and Toland was just a poor victim here.

        Toolonggone (like Paul Toland) believes that Toland is a bigger victim than his own abandoned child.

      • simplethinking

        Actually the daughter was born on a US military base. Meaning that the daughter was born on US soil. The daughter was also abducted from that military base.

        Further, chapter iv of the Hague Convention specifically covers rights of access.

        Regarding the DSM, you had best take another look. Try looking in the DSM V at code V61.20, titled Parent-Child Relational Problem.

        The DSM doesn’t use terms like ‘syndrome’ and therefore it uses words such as “estrangement” instead.

        Also take a look at diagnostic code 995.51, “ Child Psychological Abuse:”

        “Child psychological abuse is nonaccidental verbal or symbolic acts by a child’s parent or caregiver that result, or have reasonable potential to result, in significant psychological harm to the child….Examples of psychological abuse of a child include berating, disparaging, or humiliating the child; threatening the child; harming/abandoning—-or indicating that the alleged offender will harm/abandon—–people or things that the child cares about.”

        The dynamic has long been understood. The process that had been preventing it from being added to the DSM for so long was a political one, not a medical one.

        wellabove: “One thing that angry litigious parents often forget…”

        No, I’d suggest that it is you who are forgetting.

        Forgetting, that parental abductors are doing harm to their children. They are putting their own petty and selfish desires ahead of what is in the best interests of the children.

        Forgetting that children are effectively in an emotional prison created by their abductors.

        Forgetting that they are treating the children like property and not like the individual human beings that they are.

        Sounds pretty “presumptuous”, doesn’t it?

        The parent most likely to be “narcissistic” is the abducting parent. A narcissistic personality is actually one of the official warning signs.

        Per the DOJ, in the document, “Early Identification of Risk

        Factors for Parental Abduction”:

        “The Interview Study found that abductors had high levels of narcissistic and sociopathic character disorders. People with these character disorders often have contempt for the law and feel that laws do not apply to them and, therefore, they can easily run afoul of the criminal justice system.”

        Just the type of people who should be left raising children, right?

      • wellabove

        You’re a moron, beginning with your very first paragraph. Do a Google
        for “Contrary to popular belief, military bases are not considered U.S.
        soil” and read a reputable source. The official U.S. State Department
        website would be a good start.

      • simplethinking

        I well very well be mistaken about the status of military bases, however, that doesn’t change the that she is American citizen and was abducted.

        Meanwhile, if that error makes me a ‘moron’, what do your various errors make you?

      • wellabove

        It also doesn’t change the fact that she is also Japanese national by birth who has spent every single minute of her life on Japanese territory. That trumps any additional citizenship.

        Her biological father, however, has not only attempted to strip her of her Japanese citizenship unilaterally… he failed by the way… he also publicly mentioned just this week… which this English article does not mention but all the Japanese articles directly quote him… his desire to uproot her from everything… her friends, school, and the family who cared for her her whole life… and put her in a foreign home and school in Hawaii, where she’ll have to start her life over and live with a brand new step-mother stranger while he hops around the world and various states… evidenced by both his past moving behavior and the nature of his job in the military.

        Neither he nor his new wife speak a lick of Japanese and she speaks Japanese junior high school level first year basic English.

        This guy is thinking about the kids best interests? Ri…ght.

        If she was forced into such an intolerable situation as a young teen, I wouldn’t be surprised if she too develops a mental illness from that stress of separation from her home country and friends and does something drastic like take her own life.

  • Eric

    There is still absolutely nothing about this in the Japanese-language press.

    • wellabove

      Learn to read and watch Japanese news better. I found at least four articles in five seconds. Including a few major outlets, like Yomiuri TV. And they published before Japan Times did.

      • Shawn Sato-Veillon

        So what are they saying?

      • wellabove

        This is manufactured non-organic news. A press release. Toland visited Japan and made a statement to a lawyer’s association, which automatically generates a news article or two about the event because the press are invited and encouraged to attend the event.

        They all say the same thing, which is reporting on his statements. The only difference between this article and most Japanese ones I read is that this English one mentions Hague, which is irrelevant and confusing the English readers because Hague has nothing to do with a 100% domestic case where the teenager is Japanese, born in Japan, and lived their entire life in Japan.

  • kimpatsu

    The reality is that the Japanese courts are racist, and presume that any Japanese is necessarily a superior parent or guardian to non-Japanese. Until the bench is replaced with more liberal judges, this problem will remain endemic.

    • wellabove

      Tell that to the United States courts: the Maryland Courts, in 2012, ruled against Toland’s appeal and confirming prior (U.S. and Japanese) judgements, ruling against a white American male.

      • kimpatsu

        Same ruling for different reasons. The US courts ruling in Toland’s favour BECAUSE HE IS WHITE would be racist, not agreeing with the Japanese courts for different reasons. This is a question of motive.

      • Toolonggone

        That was the matter of legal jurisprudence.

      • wellabove

        Obviously, you didn’t bother read the case.

        The U.S. judge ruled that Japan’s custody laws did not “violate the fundamental principals of human rights.” To quote: “The sole issue before the Court is whether Japan’s custody laws so violates fundamental principles of human rights as to justify employing § 9.5-104(c) &hellip.” to which is concludes that the appointment of Ms. Futagi as the child’s legal guardian did not violate Mr. Toland’s fundamental rights.

        U.S. Judge Salant disagreed with Mr. Toland, and spent some time explaining the differences between guardianship, custody, and how parental rights are not absolute and what is in the best interest of the child take precedence, as well as other prior matters.

      • Toolonggone

        Right, the US court had no little or no room to dispute the Futagi’s guardian case– by principle. They have no obligation whatsoever to consider cultural context that differs from the US–unless otherwise notified by either or both side(s) . Indeed, Toland’s case is not alone in this.

      • wellabove

        I’m not sure what you’re replying to, because that’s not what I wrote.

      • Toolonggone

        You just don’t seem to pay close attention at all.

      • wellabove

        What a great retort! :-)

      • MBA

        Actually, the Toland case is totally unrelated. It is only he and his acolytes who say that it is.

        Tolands case does not relate in almost any way to almost 100% of all abduction cases. He essentially abandoned his daughter, and years later re-cast his story as an abduction case, and Etsukos’ voice was silenced to defend herself. The Washington State Supreme Court Justices went into clear detail to explain that to him and the rest of the world in their written decision. Those Supreme Court Justices essentially called him a fraud for trying to falsely cast his case as an abduction case. Read footnote #7 in their decision.

      • Toolonggone

        >The Toland case is totally unrelated.

        To what!? I don’t get it. Clearly, you are missing the point. The US Court system is pretty weak in dealing with international cases–regarding that abduction by non-Americans is rampant across the nation–despite the presence of Hague Convention. The State Supreme Court did not see merit in taking the case, primarily because abduction occurred in Japan–not in the US.

    • wellabove

      Tell that to the United States courts: the Maryland Courts, in 2012, ruled against Toland’s appeal and confirming prior (U.S. and Japanese) judgements, ruling against a white American male.

    • wellabove

      Tell that to the United States courts: the Maryland Courts, in 2012, ruled against Toland’s appeal and confirming prior (U.S. and Japanese) judgements, ruling against a white American male.

    • wellabove

      Tell that to the United States courts: the Maryland Courts, in 2012, ruled against Toland’s appeal and confirming prior (U.S. and Japanese) judgements, ruling against a white American male.

  • bwprager123

    Paul Toland’s and his daughter’s rights have been violated by the Japanese state for nearly 10 years now. Life for children in Japan before the Hague Convention and after the Hague Convention is unchanged. Children have no rights, and no defense under the law. Psychopathy in this area therefore proliferates. We will see and hear of lots of hand-wringing about how hard Japanese officials are working to change this, but we must read the fine print; this earnestness is all public gesture, and free of substance. It needs stressing: this is due to the absence of and resistance to protections for the rights of children and parents under Japanese law, and because the United States and Japan have tolerated and condoned Japanese child abduction at every stage of the US-Japanese alliance – from San Francisco, 1951, to the renewed treaties of 1960, 1970, and beyond. Japanese state officials in the courts, Justice and Foreign Affairs Ministries, etc have avoided responsibility by positioning the kidnapping of children as a private issue between relatives.The same and similar means were used to keep Japanese orphans out of Japan after the war and colonial-era occupation policies ended, despite best efforts of Chinese governments to issue the documents the children needed in order to return them home. The same or similar treatment was given to children born in Korea under Japanese colonial rule, when Japan was trying to turn Korea into a permanent Japanese settler colony. Children were then and still are denied the right to have rights, and despite the use of powerful state instruments (the koseki, etc) to manage and control and prevent bleed-through of rights to children, the Japanese state still claims that these matters are “private” matters beyond the scope of the rule of law of the state. It doesn’t take rocket science to see that this issue, which leaves 3 million Japanese children, from toddlers to teens, without any on-going relations with their parent, is due to a brutal exercise of Japanese state power for its own sake, jealously guarded by subordinate units of the state apparatus, and condoned, ever unopposed in any significant result-seeking manner, by the United States Departments of State and Defense in deference to Japan, in order to maintain in order the political strangulation that they impose on their favorite East Asian vassal.

  • wellabove

    The Hague Treaty is not about determining who has or who should have custody of a child. The Hague Treaty is about returning children to their home country when they have been removed without permission THEN having that home country decide custody etc under its laws.

    According to U.S. court documents (TOLAND v. FUTAGI, 2011, MD), the child was born in Japan, has Japanese citizenship, and has lived her entire life in Japan. She hasn’t even left Japan for a vacation.

    The Hague Convention does not apply here. One thing that Mr. Toland does not mention here is that not just Japanese courts, but U.S. courts have agreed with the interpretation of where his daughter’s home is too: he lost his appeal to establish his biological daughter’s home as America in Maryland court in 2012, and he lost his prior cases too.

    • MBA

      The Toland v Futagi case in Maryland is filled with interesting anecdotes pointing to the extensive string of hypocrisy in Tolands many misleading public and legal assertions. All of which just leads to more credibility questions about him. In the mentioned Maryland transcript that is publicly available,one answer is clearly outstanding. Toland admitted in his sworn testimony that between the time that he was fined by a judge for abusing Etsuko in Japan, all the way until the time his testimony under oath in the Maryland Court, (which appears to be the first 7 or 8 years of the young Japanese girls life) Toland actually admitted under oath that he had never once asked for custody or access to his daughter, when he was cross-examined on the witness stand.

      The whole Maryland case was about a far-fetched idea he and his lawyer called “vacuum jurisdiction”. That legal “idea” is in no part about him re-uniting with his daughter.

      Just like the present case in Japan.

      The present case in Japan and the subject of this article is a “human rights” theoretical claim which he is using to bash the Futagi family again (14th time in court) and it is not an attempt to reunite with the young Japanese girl as a biological family unit.

      He has been clearly instructed by all of the Maryland (lower court judges) and the higher court judges,that he has never been precluded or somehow blocked from asking for access or custody in Japan to his bio daughter….he just never did it, and he continues not to do the one thing that he “claims” to be asking for. Each of his cases appears to be carefully chosen and focused on an intentional failure of some quasi-aspect of a simple thing. That appears to be one part of his goal. The other part is to sue Etsuko’s family over and over again, force them to spend more money in bogus court cases, and bash them publicly again. And of course portray himself as a victim and advocate. “My case is a test case for the real cases”

  • wellabove

    The Hague Treaty is not about determining who has or who should have custody of a child. The Hague Treaty is about returning children to their home country when they have been removed without permission THEN having that home country decide custody etc under its laws.

    According to U.S. court documents (TOLAND v. FUTAGI, 2011, MD), the child was born in Japan, has Japanese citizenship, and has lived her entire life in Japan. She hasn’t even left Japan for a vacation.

    The Hague Convention does not apply here. One thing that Mr. Toland does not mention here is that not just Japanese courts, but U.S. courts have agreed with the interpretation of where his daughter’s home is too: he lost his appeal to establish his biological daughter’s home as America in Maryland court in 2012, and he lost his prior cases too.

  • wellabove

    The Hague Treaty is not about determining who has or who should have custody of a child. The Hague Treaty is about returning children to their home country when they have been removed without permission THEN having that home country decide custody etc under its laws.

    According to U.S. court documents (TOLAND v. FUTAGI, 2011, MD), the child was born in Japan, has Japanese citizenship, and has lived her entire life in Japan. She hasn’t even left Japan for a vacation.

    The Hague Convention does not apply here. One thing that Mr. Toland does not mention here is that not just Japanese courts, but U.S. courts have agreed with the interpretation of where his daughter’s home is too: he lost his appeal to establish his biological daughter’s home as America in Maryland court in 2012, and he lost his prior cases too.

  • Yuki

    I know a lot of people on here are Western men who can easily put themselves in this man’s shoes.

    For a moment, put yourself in the girl’s shoes. She’s lived in Japan practically her whole life, she only speaks that language, she has school, friends, and all the family she knows there. She understandably says that she wants to stay there.

    What do you do? Send her halfway around the world to live with a man she’s never met, who she can’t even speak to?
    Definitely not saying what the mom did was right, but if she doesn’t want to be with him he’s gonna have to deal with it.

    • Shawn Sato-Veillon

      Do we know that the father wants to take her back to the states? I for one think she should grow up here, to adulthood (finish high school). The school system is better, in pretty much every way that I have seen. I would, however, want a psychological evaluation of both the in-laws and father to find any serious issues. It could be the father IS a drunk, or abusive. Afterall, there was a reason why the mother took off. That reason could have also been that she was just sick of the US and decided she wanted to go back, despite his refusal or inability (due to military situation). My own brother experienced something similar, although there was no child involved. In a way, I don’t blame her. But again, why did the mother commit suicide? Was she a good mother? Could it have been due to her own mother’s pressures? And now the girl is with that same woman? Poor girl. Really, no matter how you look at it, the girl is the biggest loser in all this.

      • wellabove

        According to the Japanese versions of this article which have superior detail than this one and do not mention Hague which is irrelevant, he mentioned during the press conference very directly that Hawaii would be Just As Good as Japan because Hawaii has many people and some schools that can teach her both English Japanese, and mentioned that she could live in his 4 bedroom home with his new wife that he married in 2010. And he mentioned that a mixed child would be better off in Hawaii than Japan.

        He has also tried to legally strip his child of Japanese nationality in the past in order to force her to America. He failed, of course.

      • Gojira

        “And he mentioned that a mixed child would be better off in Hawaii than Japan.”

        That is probably true. Although in this case it probably isnt now.

      • simplethinking

        “Afterall, there was a reason why the mother took off.”

        Yeah. The depression that she refused to have treated, which ultimately lead to her suicide a couple of years after the abduction.

        “That reason could have also been that she was just sick of the US and decided she wanted to go back”

        At the time, she was living on a US base in Japan. That is where the abduction took place. Hard to make an argument for homesickness for Japan, when Japan was literally a 5 min drive off base. I believe I also read that she had lived in the states for years previously and had become, or was working to become a naturalized US citizen.

      • MBA

        Simple thinking exposes another problem in this case, he quotes Tolands assertion that Etsuko had ” depression that she refused to have treated” without any source for that clinical diagnosis, but Toland himself.

        Unfortunately, that is only Tolands story that he put forward after she was found dead by hanging in a public bathroom on Halloween 2007. It is not the diagnosis of Dr Shigematsu as Toland or Simplethinking has conveniently inferred (although they did not name him) . Dr Shigematsu has stated an opposing opinion about the state of mind for Etsuko in a recorded interview. Not only is Tolands story and simplethinkings parroting of that statement a false assertion, but a conclusion is then reached by it…”which lead to the suicide”.

        This is nothing more than a false and misleading assertion made by Toland and repeated here by simplethinking in an effort to further besmirch Etsuko and her family after her untimely death.

        It is all intellectually dishonest and red herring that only Toland himself stands to benefit from

      • simplethinking

        I for one have never heard of Dr. Shigematsu, and so therefore cannot “infer” anything regarding him; nor is not mentioning someone I’ve never heard of an ‘intellectual dishonest’ act.

        That said, are you suggesting that a doctor cannot make an incorrect diagnosis? (This is of course assuming that *your* inference is correct; but I’m happy to assume your inference if for no other reason than the sake of argument)

        Are you also suggesting that subjects can’t possibly mask their state of mind?

        – What is Dr Shigematsu’s field?
        – What is the doctor’s area of expertise?
        – What was the level of interaction with the subject?
        – What was the relationship with the subject?

        “…besmirch Etsuko and her family after her untimely death.”

        ‘Untimely death’, of course, being used by you as a euphemism for suicide.

        In your experience, do stable people of sound mind generally hang themselves? Let alone in public restrooms?

      • MBA

        Simple thinking exposes another problem in this case, he quotes Tolands assertion that Etsuko had ” depression that she refused to have treated” without any source for that clinical diagnosis, but Toland himself.

        Unfortunately, that is only Tolands story that he put forward after she was found dead by hanging in a public bathroom on Halloween 2007. It is not the diagnosis of Dr Shigematsu as Toland or Simplethinking has conveniently inferred (although they did not name him) . Dr Shigematsu has stated an opposing opinion about the state of mind for Etsuko in a recorded interview. Not only is Tolands story and simplethinkings parroting of that statement a false assertion, but a conclusion is then reached by it…”which lead to the suicide”.

        This is nothing more than a false and misleading assertion made by Toland and repeated here by simplethinking in an effort to further besmirch Etsuko and her family after her untimely death.

        It is all intellectually dishonest and red herring that only Toland himself stands to benefit from

  • Toolonggone

    It was pragmatic decision. The court did not touch on his visitation rights in a different soil–which many US courts have trouble dealing with.

  • mizuno

    Japanese court system failed for years for visitation rights and too difficult to reverse the situation suddenly now. It is both domestic and international incidents that the one of the parent who abducts first wins the custody rights. Therefore, too bad for Toland but nice try. Someone needs to beat the system as the system is collaborations of each and every actions and decisions made. Do NOT forget that children are the ones victimized for this crime by the Japanese family court system and the parent who has taken advantage of the system. Kids can absorb and accept the environment and circumstances without questioning whatever, wherever, whoever and however surrounding them. PAS is the term for adults who can not provide the proper environment supposedly able and not being able to activate the right because of those who stop them from from providing and accessing to their own children. No wonder it is not psychologically accepted term but that is nothing more than kidnapping and brainwashing them.

  • Andre Leonard

    The daughter has said in a statement submitted to the Tokyo Family Court that she does not wish to be reunited with her father, according to Akira Ueno, Toland’s lawyer.

  • Andre Leonard

    The daughter has said in a statement submitted to the Tokyo Family Court that she does not wish to be reunited with her father, according to Akira Ueno, Toland’s lawyer.

    • R0ninX3ph

      Couldn’t possibly be that she was brainwashed by her mother before her death, and by her grandmother now at all… right?

      • wellabove

        Couldn’t possibly be that her father has been harassing the family with endless lawsuits which is causing stress of her grandmother and their ability to care for her… or it couldn’t possibly be that she has learned of some of the things and opinions her father has expressed publicly about her ethnicity and country at all… right? // see what I did there?

      • mizuno

        No. The most you can spend on any child is time.

        Grandmother did not have to come into this picture. Especially if emotionally uncontrollable of the situation creates more conflicts since one of the parent is already identified.

        It’s the kind of self-centered discipline that kills any constructive establishment of human being of any kind in any culture.

        Try seeking the line between the missing link. Who benefits from this conflict? Who suffers the most?

        Financial disability? Protecting the privacy when the child is kidnapped?

        You only look at the result of outcome and NOT nature of the cause.

      • wellabove

        We’re not talking about what you, an adult, thinks. We’re talking about how a child thinks. An adult’s logic is irrelevant. If a child thinks that an adult is hurting their caretaker, they will dislike that adult. It doesn’t matter if the adult is right or wrong. No “brainwashing”, or any other type of phony MRA PAS excuse, is needed. These EQ=0 biological parents don’t understand that the legal system can’t make your children love you.

      • mizuno

        i agree with you for certain points which you are trying to describe. The media reporter was chasing the grandma and broadcasting the issue. Who you describe as adults were just scratching the surface of the issue and the daughter/grandma became as a prime sample of such similar incidents of abduction.
        Conflict in this case made worse and continues to the point it is too late to stop fighting.
        Adults can Intentionally slow things down so that the child realize who they are without knowing their parent which is common technique too. When children becomes adult, this discussion becomes pointless. Sorry Charlie, it is almost too late to save her.

      • mizuno

        No “brainwashing”, or any other type of phony MRA PAS excuse, is needed. These EQ=0 biological parents don’t understand that the legal system can’t force children to love them. On the other hand, using the legal system to settle family matters can make a child hate a parent. Even if that parent “wins”.

        Above is based on your assumption. Not always true.

      • mizuno

        No “brainwashing”, or any other type of phony MRA PAS excuse, is needed. These EQ=0 biological parents don’t understand that the legal system can’t force children to love them. On the other hand, using the legal system to settle family matters can make a child hate a parent. Even if that parent “wins”.

        Above is based on your assumption. Not always true.

      • mizuno

        No. The most you can spend on any child is time.

        Grandmother did not have to come into this picture. Especially if emotionally uncontrollable of the situation creates more conflicts since one of the parent is already identified.

        It’s the kind of self-centered discipline that kills any constructive establishment of human being of any kind in any culture.

        Try seeking the line between the missing link. Who benefits from this conflict? Who suffers the most?

        Financial disability? Protecting the privacy when the child is kidnapped?

        You only look at the result of outcome and NOT nature of the cause.

      • R0ninX3ph

        I think you missed the point of my hyperbole.

        Yes, you have a point and I see what you did, but my point was more, how exactly can the testimony be treated as gospel from a child who has not known their father at all, and only known their Mother who left with her before she was 1 year old, and her Grandmother now who won’t let her father see her.

        Sure, listening to the child is definitely important, and I am not saying his “fatherly rights” trumps the childs wishes, but I am just skeptical that she has been raised in an environment that has been kind about her father.

      • wellabove

        Understand that what you were saying is actually not considered hyperbole in some circles. The Men’s Right Activists groups out there use those exact same words you did to deflect all responsibility away from the man. “Its all that evil bitches fault for poisoning the kids against me with all her lies!” You may be skeptical about the kid’s caretaker being kind to the father. But I am also skeptical about the father being kind to the family. If he paid his child support and stopped forcing his daughter’s caretakers to pay for excessive nuisance lawsuits and he stopped bad mouthing the Japanese family and Japan in general in public and denying his daughter the right to privacy so she can have a normal childhood… there are bounty hunters for hire that re-snatch these kids ya know… that would be a good start.

        Child abduction is a problem. Not just in Japan, but all around the world. However, just because it’s a problem doesn’t mean every deadbeat cheating chauvinist dude that joins these white American men scorned clubs should be believed.

      • Gojira

        “white American men scorned clubs” … a pity you couldnt keep your agenda to yourself, you actually have some reasonable points. I agree it is too late to forcibly change the girl’s custody; yes it would be better if he accepted that past injustice can’t be undone and instead attempt some kind of mediation/conciliation so that he can amiably work his way back into his daughter’s life. If anything he should be directing his litigation at the Japanese family law court itself and the individuals therein, invoking human rights violations as his case.

      • Gojira

        “white American men scorned clubs” … a pity you couldnt keep your agenda to yourself, you actually have some reasonable points. I agree it is too late to forcibly change the girl’s custody; yes it would be better if he accepted that past injustice can’t be undone and instead attempt some kind of mediation/conciliation so that he can amiably work his way back into his daughter’s life. If anything he should be directing his litigation at the Japanese family law court itself and the individuals therein, invoking human rights violations as his case.

      • wellabove

        There is a way back into his daughter’s life. The grandmother, through U.S. legal representation, has publicly stated he can see her in supervised visits if he pays the years of child support owed. He has refused to do this.

      • Gojira

        Agreed, he should do this out of principle – if the grandmother reneges, then at least he knows he tried. Sadly I feel he is wrapped up in the wider politics of this case, so an unexpectedly conciliatory approach would disappoint elements on both sides.

      • Gojira

        Agreed, he should do this out of principle – if the grandmother reneges, then at least he knows he tried. Sadly I feel he is wrapped up in the wider politics of this case, so an unexpectedly conciliatory approach would disappoint elements on both sides.

      • Gojira

        Agreed, he should do this out of principle – if the grandmother reneges, then at least he knows he tried. Sadly I feel he is wrapped up in the wider politics of this case, so an unexpectedly conciliatory approach would disappoint elements on both sides.

      • R0ninX3ph

        I think you missed the point of my hyperbole.

        Yes, you have a point and I see what you did, but my point was more, how exactly can the testimony be treated as gospel from a child who has not known their father at all, and only known their Mother who left with her before she was 1 year old, and her Grandmother now who won’t let her father see her.

        Sure, listening to the child is definitely important, and I am not saying his “fatherly rights” trumps the childs wishes, but I am just skeptical that she has been raised in an environment that has been kind about her father.

      • R0ninX3ph

        I think you missed the point of my hyperbole.

        Yes, you have a point and I see what you did, but my point was more, how exactly can the testimony be treated as gospel from a child who has not known their father at all, and only known their Mother who left with her before she was 1 year old, and her Grandmother now who won’t let her father see her.

        Sure, listening to the child is definitely important, and I am not saying his “fatherly rights” trumps the childs wishes, but I am just skeptical that she has been raised in an environment that has been kind about her father.

      • R0ninX3ph

        I think you missed the point of my hyperbole.

        Yes, you have a point and I see what you did, but my point was more, how exactly can the testimony be treated as gospel from a child who has not known their father at all, and only known their Mother who left with her before she was 1 year old, and her Grandmother now who won’t let her father see her.

        Sure, listening to the child is definitely important, and I am not saying his “fatherly rights” trumps the childs wishes, but I am just skeptical that she has been raised in an environment that has been kind about her father.

      • Gojira

        Yes a strawman.

  • Andre Leonard

    The daughter has said in a statement submitted to the Tokyo Family Court that she does not wish to be reunited with her father, according to Akira Ueno, Toland’s lawyer.

  • Andre Leonard

    The daughter has said in a statement submitted to the Tokyo Family Court that she does not wish to be reunited with her father, according to Akira Ueno, Toland’s lawyer.

  • Andre Leonard

    The daughter has said in a statement submitted to the Tokyo Family Court that she does not wish to be reunited with her father, according to Akira Ueno, Toland’s lawyer.

  • Andre Leonard

    The daughter has said in a statement submitted to the Tokyo Family Court that she does not wish to be reunited with her father, according to Akira Ueno, Toland’s lawyer.

  • Tim Johnston

    We all wish Paul the best luck in this case.

    His case has always been a tough one to consider.
    His wife committed suicide, Of course his young daughter should have been handed over to him by any country who considers the right of the child’s mental well being.

    The fact the Grandmother, Who by the way………Seems off her rocker!
    Hid Paul’s daughter from him for all those years, should be a criminal act.
    It’s a clear fact this child was bred to say the things the supposed article implies.
    Every Child would love their Parent unless they were brainwashed or had some history with that parent.

    And all of the 1,000’s of other U.S. Fathers in the same fight.
    Never give up!

    • wellabove

      “Every Child would love their Parent”

      Har har! What a load of greeting card crap. Sorry dad, try googling “i hate my parents for no reason” and browse through the literally 50 million results.

      And frankly, many of these kids _do_ have a reason. You just don’t want to believe it.

      The only statement more naive than that is “as long as a married couple are faithful and respectful and honest and nice to each other and others, they will never divorce.”

      • mizuno

        Are you an low teenager who must criticize everything on what others say don’t match to what think you know better?

        It is a matter of the timing, right?

        A baby who abducted without knowing parent(s) and kids who write on the internet that they don’t like their parents should not be considered in the same measurement.

      • Gojira

        Dare I ask, do you love your parents?

      • wellabove

        Yes, I do. But unfortunately I have met a lot of people who don’t, and aren’t afraid to say so. Sometimes their parents seem perfectly normal, stable and appear to be good parents. More often than not, though, the parents are divorced. And no amount of visitation rights fixes this.

    • MBA

      Tim Johnston says that Paul’s wife committed suicide.

      Did she really?

      Maybe Mr. Johnston can publish the medical examiners report.

      So thousands of people around the world are and have been asking questions like;

      Etsuko was abused by Paul Toland in front of the child and fined by the court for his actions.

      According to US and Japanese courts, Etsuko (and later her grandmother) have always had legal custody of the child.

      Etsuko won series after series of legal cases brought against her by Paul.

      Numerous US courts have ruled that Toland must pay the Japanese financial judgements he consistently evaded.

      US courts have ruled that Toland has from the beginning had options he never chooses to exercise in Japan.

      She was the dedicated mother of the child, she was the glue that held the family unit together, she tried to mediate with Paul but he would have none of it.

      She won case after case he brought against her. She had a high paying job and had American citizenship

      She was owed by court judgments almost $200,000 by Mr Toland in October 2007. All of which could have been paid immediately if she called the base commander.

      Why does a mother like that commit suicide?

  • Hendrix

    Unfortunately this guy is gonna lose the case, because the Japanese justice system is a joke and deeply racist… they will rule against foreigners especially in cases like this, also the Japanese couldnt care less if they became more alienated , they like it that way it gives them a sense of specialness.

    • wellabove

      If you read more closely, you’ll see it’s not just the Japanese courts he’s lost in. He’s lost in the U.S. courts too. And he owes years of child support, which he has run from. These are judgments made in the U.S. justice system, not the Japanese one.

      • Hendrix

        that may be so but i still stand by my point that the Japanese judicial system is inherently racist… plenty of other cases to highlight that..

      • wellabove

        And so is the U.S. system… and so are all systems… plenty of other cases to highlight that..

    • Gojira

      Yes his tactics are guaranteed to result in failure. He should have tried a more conciliatory approach years ago – he might have ended up in the same situation, yet he could at least claim that he has really tried everything. Whilst I don’t agree with the tone of “wellabove”, I do agree that stereotypical western belligerence made a lamentable situation unworkable.

  • Milli

    The mother abducted the daughter. In country or out, it is the same thing. When she killed herself, grandma had every obligation to return the child to her parent and no right to keep her. I am sure that this dad and every other parent in this situation is just thrilled with the to and froing in the courts. What a crock.

    • Gojira

      “grandma had every obligation to return the child to her parent and no right to keep her”… that is not how Japanese society works. You may disagree with it, but it is what it is. One thing that should come out of these cross-border abduction cases involving Japan – both the Japanese state and respective foreign consulate should make prospective international couples fully aware of how the law works in the event of a marriage breakdown, especially when children are involved. Yes it is bleak and unromantic but it may help prevent nasty outcomes like this – maybe not exactly this case given its unique history (wife’s suicide etc) but it might have forced the dad to pursue a more conciliatory approach from the outset.

  • Milli

    The mother abducted the daughter. In country or out, it is the same thing. When she killed herself, grandma had every obligation to return the child to her parent and no right to keep her. I am sure that this dad and every other parent in this situation is just thrilled with the to and froing in the courts. What a crock.

  • kimpatsu

    The author admits that this is the first and only time it’s happened. We need more cases like this to be statistically certain.

  • wellabove

    Perhaps this father should man up and stop being a deadbeat dad, fleeing to different states when judgements for collection come to pass. According to U.S. Virginia attorney representing the family, he owes years of back child support. And the supposed wicked grandmother has also stated that she’d let him see her if he paid his child support.

    To quote from a U.S. military publication, Stars and Stripes:

    “We welcome him to see her,” Dugger said. “Every time we tried to set it up, he’d walk away from it.”

    • Gojira

      Nice selective quotation:

      http://www.stripes.com/news/navy-officer-travels-to-japan-in-attempt-to-talk-to-daughter-1.95661

      “Clutching birthday presents and photographs, Navy Cmdr. Paul Toland waited anxiously outside his daughter’s school Friday to get his first glimpse of her in five years.

      What he had hoped would be a reunion turned out to be but a fleeting moment.

      “I called out to her in Japanese, ‘Erika it’s your papa. Can we talk?’ ”

      But, just steps from the apartment where she’s lived with her grandmother since Toland’s ex-wife died in 2007, Erika Toland kept walking, pausing to look back at her father and then entering the building.

      His 6,700-mile trip to Japan from his home in Maryland came down to an encounter that lasted roughly a minute.

      “I had hoped she would take more of an interest,” said Toland, 42, a medical administration officer in Bethesda, Md. He said he gave the gifts and birthday presents to Erika’s friends who had witnessed the encounter. “She’s going to remember that her dad came to see her for her birthday.”

      He had been grappling with an approach since arriving in Tokyo more than a week ago, worried about traumatizing Erika. But after years of failed attempts to see his daughter through the courts and with assistance from the State Department, Toland said he had no other choice.

      Toland claims Erika was abducted by his Japanese ex-wife, Etsuko Toland, from their home at a Navy housing complex in Yokohama in 2003 when he was stationed at Yokosuka Naval Base. Erika was just 9 months old at the time, and Toland has seen her only twice since then.

      “Really, this is the only way to see your kids in Japan,” he said. “Official channels fail in Japan. That’s why we’re relegated to this.”

      He claims his former mother-in-law refuses to allow visitation, although Judy Dugger, a Virginia attorney who represents the family of his ex-wife, said that is not the case.

      “We welcome him to see her,” Dugger said. “Every time we tried to set it up, he’d walk away from it.

      “He knows where the child is, and we’ve offered supervised visitation. He should file for custody in the Japanese courts,” Dugger said, adding a claim that Toland owes years of back child support.

      Toland denies Dugger’s claims and said he has given up on pursuing the case in Japanese courts because “it’s a pre-determined outcome.”

      “You don’t change things by complying with a bad system,” he said. “You have to resist.”

    • MBA

      Wellabove is pointing at the problem in this case. Which appears to be that Toland doesnt want the child. Period. He wants to be a media ‘escort’ and a professional victim.

      In a more precise segment of the Toland litigation saga, in 2007 very shortly (maybe 2 months) after Etsuko’s untimely and surprise death, the Futagi family offered to bring the 4 year old girl to within a hundred miles of Tolands then home in the US, establish regular visitation between him and the child with increasing regularity, take care of the legal paperwork, and then transfer 100% physical custody to him!

      But he rejected that deal. Because the family wanted to put Etsuko’s money in a trust for the little girl that he had no access to.

      It took US courts 4 years to garnish his wages for one of these frivolous lawsuits. Then it took US courts almost 10 years to force him to pay a small portion of the divorce settlement and a small portion of the fine for abusing Etsuko, and for a small portion of what appears to be the beginning of his near complete record of unpaid child support payments.

      In the bigger picture it looks like he may have spent 13 years of the childs life, and almost $400,000 in legal fees an over a dozen US vwxatious cases evading these judgements, and avoiding taking custody of his bio daughter.

  • Gojira

    Which article?

    • MBA

      This
      current toland lawsuit appears to be yet another vexatious
      litigation attempt to misdirect attention away from real cases and
      the true facts of his own case.
      In
      july 2014, the washington state supreme court ordered mr.Toland To
      pay some of his long list of various unpaid judgements that he owed
      etsuko (and after her suspicious death, going back to 2003 and 2005.
      (http://wwwDOTcourtsDOTwaDOTgov/opinions/pdf/880450DOTpdf)
      (at the time of her death, paul toland owed her almost $200,000 that
      he repeatedly refused to pay at all, starting with a $10,000 fine
      for his abusive and illegal acts against etsuko in 2003. (divorce
      decree, tokyo family court, sept 29, 2005, pages 221-223; 231-237))

      That
      washington state supreme court published decision also says ” 7
      we (the washington supreme court justices) also decline to address
      the matter of child abduction. We do not agree that when etsuko and
      paul separated and she took erika with her to live at akiko’s home,
      etsuko “abducted ” erika. Unlike the usual cases……
      Etsuko did not abscond with erika or secrete her away. …..She And
      paul proceeded thru mediation together. Where he had visitation
      rights that he did not fully execute……THERE Is a problem with
      international child abductions to japan, it is not an issue that we
      need address in this case.”

      there
      is no doubt that the etsuko futagi / peter paul toland case, is a
      true and factually documented case of a woman fleeing an abusive us
      man. Please see the documents at the tokyo family court -same as
      above.

      Recent
      public attention to has forced japanese police to re-open many
      closed “suicide cases” as homicide investigations and
      japanese families have insisted for decades that there are many more
      such cases. (please see japan times feb 3,2013 article)

      • Gojira

        Which article? Anyway, are you suggesting Paul Toland murdered his wife?