This seems to be the first case that a Japanese abductor has been detained by U.S. law enforcement.

The approach described here would probably be more effective for left-behind parents instead of Japan signing the Hague Convention.

Michael Elias is a former U.S. Marine who served in Iraq whose two children were abducted to Japan by his Japanese wife.

Akio Yokota Diary

October 6, 2011

Link to audio version, read by Masako Suzuki Akeo:

Final entries in diary of Akio Yokota, a left-behind Japanese father who committed suicide on September 11, 2011, provided and translated by Masako Suzuki Akeo.

Akio Yokota Diary


Restless mind Today  

 2011年08月31日15:00 死にたい。

I want to die.


I am thinking to try on this Saturday.


Already I got the medicine.


If I fail to die, I resign myself to my fate and I should live.





Somebody left a 2 year old girl who was injured. Is she abused?

http:// news.mi iew_new 2&media _id=88


Why was she abused?


I can’t understand their feelings.


Are children in fault?


I wish such stupid parents would die.


Lack of confidence 



I think my death will be suited in this real world.


I have lived for my son but I knew it is impossible for me.


When I work in my work place, I make many mistakes. My life is unstable.


I think my health and mental problems are the reasons



I should leave my will.


I’m near the end of my life-span.


Today I feel worse than yesterday.





Somebody put the new born baby in a rice farm.

http:// news.mi iew_new 0&media _id=4


Please do not do that anymore.


I question someone’s character. Please think about us who cannot raise our children and.


Please stop giving the mother sole priority and child custody in the court.


After I read this news, I thought we do not need to keep giving the mother sole priority and custody


The method


始業式前 中1女子が飛び降り?

Before a school opening ceremony, a girl in the second grade of junior high school jumped to her death.

http:// news.mi iew_new 3&media _id=4


I can understand the feeling of someone who commit suicide.


I am same as them.


I am thinking of the method.


If I jump to my death, will I be unconscious?


In my case, I want to use medicine and hang myself.


I want to die as soon as possible.


I have visitation on next week and I want to hug my son.


However, I am not sure if I’ll be alive until the next visitation.


Leave the chair on today



Justice Minister Eda.


Who is the next?


Will The Hague Convention and Domestic Child Abduction start over again?


I wish the next Justice Minister will not be a Feminist.


Please consider Child Abduction.


Child Abduction is Kidnapping.


Opinion from other people



Somebody put the new born baby in a plastic bag and put the baby in a rice field.

http:// news.mi iew_new 0&media _id=4


I copied and paste this story on my



I wish this situation becomes less



If they can deliver the baby in this world,

they could put the baby up for adoption.





If you give up your pregnancy, I can respect your decision.


If somebody has same problems like this, please let them know these website.

★赤ちゃんを救う会★  Save The Babies

http:// www2.od /~cae26 630/wa004.html

★環の会★ Circle Meeting

http:// http://www.wa- no-kai. jp/

★小さないのちを守る会★ Save the Children

http:// http://www.chi isana.o rg/

★愛の決心★ Cords of Love

http:// http://www.jes us-fami doption.html

★ベビーライフ★ The Baby Life

http:// http://www.bab ylife.o rg/inde x.html

★ISSジャパン★ ISS Japan

http:// http://www.iss

★アクロスジャパン★ Across Japan

http:// http://www.geo cities. jp/mama s5papas /

★慈恵病院紹介の24時間相談所です。★ round the clock counseling in the Jikei Hospital

http:// http://www.jik ei-hp.o rikago/3-1.htm l

0120-783-449( 悩みよ 至急 )

24時間無料電 round the clock toll free line


Please spread to everybody


I could understand the baby is very cute since I got my son.


How much I love my son. I cannot think that my son came from by body.


This is a gift from god


If I am not related to my son by blood, my life does not change.


I have seen my son’s growth.


I do not care about blood relationship.


The other day the news announced very sad story between foster child and foster parents.


I think newAdopted Child System is better than Traditional Adoption by Mutual Consent.

I think the new Specialized Adoption System should be put into use more, rather than the traditional one.


If somebody wants to put the child somewhere they should send them to an adopton center.


If a child find out the truth about their past they will be shocked about that situation


However it wouldn’t matter if they have a strong relationship with their new parents


I found this article on a website.


This mother was minor. She was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. She could not tell to anybody and she missed her period.


She wanted to forget her situation but her tummy was getting bigger.


She contacted an organization for Adopted Children Center.


She moved to this center quickly.


Then she delivered the baby. It was too late to have an abortion.


She has never seen her own baby.


The Caesarean scar left a reminder of the assault.


When she saw her scar, it made her sad.


I think this baby maybe happy in the future, a rich family may take him and he has a good life


Do not throw away children.


God cannot control a parent-child problem. We should do this in the real world.


No more positive



We have been separated for one year now. I have memories of when my son and I lived together alone.


I recall the day when my wife asked to come back to live together with us.


I agreed but 2 months later she abducted my son.


Now the situation is opposite and she lives with my son and I am alone.


I asked her to live together again. But she ignored.


She refused to give me her email address and phone number , but I know her number anyway.


I am thinking about many things but I do not see a food outcome.


Now I am checking how to kill by myself,


I have general anesthetic and a muscle relaxing fluid.


But I do not use of that one.,,,,,,,, because…….. the police will investgate of my hospital where I work.


I tried to use a towel to hang myself from a thick pipe earlier, but all I heard was q squeaking sound.


I thought to myself why de cannot I die.


If I die, I would not be a problem for everybody anymore.


How long should I suffer from this problem


I have prepared a list of people to contact when I die.


What is happiness?


My happiness is raising my son.


I am wondering if I can live together with my wife and son again.


My wife is still adamantly saying no.


Really please help me.


I wish she would accept me like I accepted her one year ago.


I am wondering, if I know her cellphone number can I send a message to her?


I wish I can find somebody to harass her by sending a lot of emails to her cell phone and make her wake up.



In this situation my son is never going to be happy.


I got a phone call from my mother in law.



Before going to my work, my mother in law phoned to me this morning.


She said that when Natsumi and kaede were biking, they had a car accident.


Then I got day off and went to mother in laws house.


She did not say hospitals name.


Anyway I will go there.


I wish just kaede will be ok.


I will tell he is ok or not latar.




They were in her house.


Mother in law said that they were fine.


My wife said to her that she does not want to see me and go home.


The next visitation will be as usual.


Then I asked to her why you phoned to me. So she replied I panicked and contacted you without my daughter’s permission.


I didn’t expect you to come here.


Your son was fine. But your wife got bruises and scratches.


Then she asked me.


Why did you come here when we are still in mediation?


Were you concerned about your wife or were you only worried your son ?



I replied both!



I felt helpless, when I left from their house.


I cannot control my emotions and I feel so angry and frustrated.


I only wanted to see my son for a few seconds. They said no, i was shocked, I felt dazed and weak like in was about to pass out.


Today’s matter 



I decided to give up by Today’s matter.


I want to die.


I pressured of my neck with towel.


I heard the sound that my neck of the bone was cracked.


However, I could not be unconscious and only my face and my tongue were numbed by this.


Hanging myself is not suited about me.


Why can everybody hang themselves very easy?


I heard the diet member hanged himself today.


I envy him.


My life is hopeless.


I cannot expect anything good from the Hague Convention. Furthermore, the Domestic Children Abduction Problem is hopeless.


Really it is difficult to live in japan.


My neck is in pain.


If I became be unconscious, I hope I leave this world.


I hate me.


Please kill me.


TV news announces about many murder cases. I can die instead of them,


Please help me. Please…..





I am not o.k.


I felt lots of generation gap in my work place. Everything bothered to me, car accident, new work place, more office work, etc.


Furthermore, trauma is coming again, I cannot think about anything. So I could not sleep for 2 nights and I got diarrhea.


This situation is same as after child abduction.


I got off my work today.


I want to die. I think I’ll attempt suicide again.


I am tired of everything






I think some of people believe what I’m saying about my story on mixi.


I met my son today.


I asked him who is dad. My son did not look at me and he was against me.


He knows this situation.


Is he worried about me?


I saw my wife for the first time in 10 month.


She was same as before.


However, I thought that she became to be more fashionable.


The other day I mixed Dormicum and Horizon and administered intravenous fluids. So I stayed in a hospital for 2 days.


I was thinking to die at that time.


I was hoping to not use general anesthetic.


Although the police would investigate how I got this medicines and I would bother my work place, this is my only way.


To everybody, I would like to keep MIXI like this.


To everybody.


Good bye

This is “from the trenches” and tells what it’s really like in Japan when you are denied access to your kids by your spouse or ex-spouse.
October 4, 2011, from The Japan Times Online:

Left-behind dads take desperate measures

Richard Cory‘s battle to be reunited with his kids exposes role of bureaucracy in ‘land of the abducted son’



“In September of 2010, The Japan Times published a two-part series by a man under the pen name Richard Cory telling the extraordinary tale of his divorce and custody battles over his three children with his Japanese ex-wife . . . essentially custody by capture.” — “Divorce and the Welfare of the Child in Japan,” Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal, June 2011

My story, the Richard Cory story (Zeit Gist, Nov. 3, 2009; Sept. 21, 2010; Sept. 28,2010), demonstrates perhaps more than any other reported the role Japanese public servants often play in facilitating the removal of children from loving parents, usually fathers, who desire to parent their offspring. It’s a story that everyone, particularly foreigners who might not be aware of Japan’s sordid reputation as the “land of the abducted son,” should read and seriously contemplate before settling in this country.

Fathers are generally the victims of parental abduction, but loving mothers have been left behind too, and if you dare think that your spouse can’t simply decide five, 10 or 15 years down the road that he or she no longer wants you in your child’s life, you’d better go back and read the signs so prominently displayed at Narita airport: Yokoso Nippon! — Welcome to Japan.

Shortly after the first Cory article was printed, I finally decided to share the story with a fellow that I had become increasingly conversational with at the gym. This apparently single man in his 20s then opened up about a secret of his own: His son had been abducted a year earlier by his Japanese wife.

In his case — and I have reviewed the ruling — the family court investigators had recommended visitation of one hour a month, but the judge overseeing the case instead wrote in her decision: “Since one hour is relatively short, once a month is seen as not sufficient to build a healthy father-child relationship, so the rate of twice a month is deemed befitting. Furthermore, if the father’s Japanese language skills improve, expansion of visitation rights and definitions are naturally possible.”

Overlooking the prejudice based on Japanese ability, a judiciary filled with women who not only think but are willing to write that two hours a month is adequate for a healthy father-child relationship more than demonstrates the utter lack of respect afforded fathers in Japan. Would she, or any other judge, dare pen such an abomination about mothers? And how would Japanese react if, for example, a judge in an English-speaking country limited a Japanese parent’s contact with his or her own child based on the parent’s less-than-fluent English skills?

Moreover, for those of you who might think that one to two hours a month actually refers to “one to two hours,” let me direct your attention back to those signs at Narita airport. Real or fabricated excuses for not making the child available for visitation are common. This fellow’s wife would kindly let him make the two-hour journey to see his son, and then, immediately prior to the scheduled meeting, phone his lawyer and claim to be a bit under the weather. How much of this state-tolerated abuse would you endure before you finally threw in the towel?

Many foreigners claim that they would leave Japan for the more evolved parental protections offered elsewhere — what is commonly known as “jurisdiction shopping.” In fact, as the end of 2010 approached, I was contacted by a long-term resident of Japan considering such a maneuver. This American father claimed that his two young children were being abused by their Japanese mother, and even though he loved all that Japan offered, he also saw his marriage going down the same path as mine.

In my case, officers at the ward’s Child Guidance Center (jidōsōdanjo) made at least three offers to put my daughter in a shelter to protect her from an increasingly abusive mother in the three months leading up to her abduction — offers declined because she was scared to be alone (the center would not allow her father or her brothers to enter with her). However, after the abduction these same officers refused to make any efforts to protect my daughter or her brothers from their mother.

In mid-December, the man who had contacted me quit his job, transferred his money overseas, and then he, his wife and two children flew out of Japan on what appeared to be a typical Christmas visit with his family. The day after Christmas, he took the children to a secure location and then told his wife that he and the children would not be going back to Japan. And they didn’t. They quietly disappeared, and she returned alone shortly after the new year.

Now, it should be noted that judges outside Japan generally have no tolerance for the unilateral removal of a child from the habitual residence, i.e., where the child has lived during the previous six months. This was demonstrated ever so clearly in the Carter v. Carter case.

This dispute involved an American man and his Japanese wife. They met while he was stationed in Japan on a military assignment and were married here in 1994. A year later they moved to the States, and in 2002 while in Nebraska, where they had lived since 1999, they welcomed their son into the world. A few months later, Mr. Carter was assigned to a position at the Yokosuka Naval Base, and the family lived there for the next 2½ years. After Mr. Carter’s assignment ended, he returned to Nebraska with his son and filed for legal separation and permanent custody.

However, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that the state did not have jurisdiction because the boy had lived the previous six months in Japan, and furthermore awarded attorney fees of $10,000 to Ms. Carter for being “forced to leave her home in Japan to defend this lengthy and meritless jurisdiction dispute.” In the end, this naval officer most likely sank his own ship after returning to Nebraska when he advised his wife in an email that she “should be looking for an Omaha-based attorney.” Because she found one.

Those who are not Japanese might expect their embassy or department of foreign affairs to provide protections. My own court-mandated divorce mediation has continued since January 2010, and my wife has refused to allow any visitation with my sons, now 11 and 8. Over the past 18 months, the U.S. Embassy has made three requests for welfare visits with the boys, and each request has been turned down by the mother.

In fact, the most recent request was made by my congressman, who asked the U.S. State Department to confirm the safety of the boys. The State Department contacted the U.S. Embassy, which contacted the mother’s Japanese lawyer. In its response to my congressman, the State Department wrote that the mother’s lawyer stunningly claimed to be “unaware of (Mr. Cory’s) lack of contact with the children” but assured the embassy that “the courts have been monitoring the children’s wellbeing as part of the proceedings.”

At my next mediation session, I asked the family court investigator present what had been done over the past year to monitor the wellbeing of the children. I was then told that court officers were not monitoring the children, but they could ask the mother how the children are doing and possibly for a photo, even though she would be under no obligation to provide one and any information she gave would not be verified.

ASfinal option for left-behind parents to reestablishing links with their children is often the use of costly private investigators. Being a public servant — an English teacher at a junior high school in Tokyo, to be exact — my wife was able to take advantage of a very generous medical leave that allows public servants to take a year away from work at 80 percent pay for a variety of “medical” conditions, such as teacher burnout, followed by two additional years at no pay, if desired.

Although my wife was making every effort to keep herself and the two boys hidden, she was still showing up for bimonthly mediation sessions at the courthouse, during which we would never actually see each other.

So it didn’t take long for me to pony up ¥85,000 for a new team of private investigators to follow her home after one of those sessions. Although this new team came highly recommended on websites and by others in the left-behind-parent movement, my disappointment continued upon receiving the written report of the surveillance: “At 1709 hrs, the train stopped at ——— station to meet the express. (Ms. Cory) stayed in the train and seemed not to transfer to the express. At 1711 hrs, the express arrived at the station and right before the express’s door closed, (Ms. Cory) suddenly jumped out of the train and into the express. At the same time, the investigator jumped out of the train, but before the investigator could jump into the express, the doors had closed and the express had started running.

“Investigators missed (Ms. Cory) this time, but both investigators are clearly sure that (Ms. Cory) did not detect the existence of the investigators. This means that (Ms. Cory) probably assumes tailing by someone regularly, or if she detected the investigators, she has been trained and/or advised by a pro.”

Adding this ¥85,000 to the ¥261,650 that I had already spent on investigators brought my new total to ¥346,650.

After her one year of leave at 80 percent pay ran out, my wife returned to work, and I hired a third private investigator that one left-behind-parent website claims “many users rave about.” The charge was ¥50,000 up front and ¥50,000 on success. After almost two months of no success, I received the following message from the lead investigator: “Due to the pricing system, I will take care of your case in my vacant time while handling other cases at the same time. I’ll give you an update on any developments.” As an incentive, I offered an additional ¥50,000, for a new total of ¥100,000 payable on success, and out of frustration approached a previously used firm, offering it ¥120,000 payable only on success. This second team accepted the offer and found the boys on their third attempt a few days later.

Although I do not have physical custody (kangoken) of my sons, I still have full legal custody (shinken) of them, so I contacted the boys’ school to arrange a meeting with the vice principal. The vice principal contacted the mother, who of course strongly objected to any meeting between the vice principal and me. The vice principal then said that because the physical custody holder had asked the school not to disclose any information about the boys, the school would have no choice but to obey her request.

I then contacted the board of education, which concurred with the vice principal’s decision. Finally, my own lawyer piped in: “Actually, the kangoken holder can demand the school not to disclose any information about the children to the other parent even if the other parent has shinken.”

My now 14-year-old daughter has not seen her brothers since her rescue in April 2010, so I took her over to her brothers’ residence one weekday afternoon to deliver a birthday card she had made for the older boy. Even though there are no restraining orders against me, the mother was away, and I itched to see my sons, I stayed two blocks away as my daughter went to the second floor of the apartment building and rang the doorbell.

No one ever responded, but as my daughter was walking away from the building, a policeman rounded the corner like he was in a mad dash to win stage six of the Tour de France. He screeched to a halt in front of the building and raced inside. We observed from a distance, and then calmly walked away disappointed.

My daughter and I are moving on with our lives, but daily annoyances still continue. After abducting the children, my wife requested the post office to forward her mail to her parents’ home. As can be guessed, the post office occasionally makes mistakes, delivering her mail to me and apparently mine to her. Monthly credit card statements, salary summaries, financial papers and renewal notices occasionally do not arrive. During a visit to the post office to complain, I was told that the post office would “do their best” to correct the problem.

A year after my wife had left the home, the problem continued, so I visited the post office again, wondering why the mail-forwarding request did not expire after a year. I was then informed that it indeed had expired, but she had renewed it, which she can continue to do yearly in perpetuity from any known residence of mine, till death do us part.

Richard Cory is a pseudonym. Japanese translations of the three previous Cory Zeit Gist articles can be found Send comments and ideas