Imprisonment of foreign parents in Japan not new

September 30, 2009

While the Christopher Savoie case is big news right now, it is not unique, and reflects a possible pattern of Japanese authorities selectively arresting foreign parents in Japan for something Japanese parents would not be arrested  for.

The first publicized arrest and imprisonment by Japanese authorities of a foreign parent trying to reunite with his or her children in a contested custody case occurred in 2000, when Dutch father Engel Nieman attempted to leave Japan with his daughter.  Nieman, who was still legally married to his Japanese wife at the time, and shared equal custody rights with her under Japanese law, was imprisoned for several months.  He met with Children’s Rights Council of Japan in Tokyo after he was released, and as far as we know, still is unable to have any contact with his daughter since his arrest and imprisonment.  Here is an old link from the Japan Times with details about his case:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/member/member.html?nn20001213b2.htm

Backup link:

Parents driven to ‘kidnap’ …

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