Left-behind parents in Tokyo have intensified efforts in advance of Secretary of State Clinton’s July 8 visit to Japan:





International Parental Abduction Open House


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State Washington, DC
May 21, 2012

Thank you, Janice. Let me start by saying I’m sorry you’re here. I really truly am. I’m sorry that you’ve had this terrible experience of being separated from your child or your children. One day is too long, years is just unthinkable. There’s really not much that I or any of our officials can say that will fill the anger and frustration, disappointment, the big hole in the center of your hearts, but we wanted you to come today so at least you would know what we are trying to do to help you be reunited.

I have worked on children’s issues my entire adult life and when I got to the State Department, I became much more familiar than I even had as a Senator or First Lady with the growing problem of abducted children. The world in which we live where we are all so much more mobile and there are so many opportunities for people to move quickly and there are so many countries that still yet fail to understand the human costs of shielding abductors; so, I decided that we would redouble, triple our efforts to do everything we possibly could. Assistant Secretary Janice Jacobs was eager to partner with me to try to figure out a path forward.

I appointed the first ever Special Advisor for Children’s Issues Ambassador Susan Jacobs and she has been literally on the road, going from country to country; she just got back from the UK, Tunisia, and Morocco. We have also increased our collaboration with the FBI, Interpol, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and many nongovernmental organizations who are working with us on this critical matter. We have also made it a priority even amongst our senior officials who do not have direct responsibility, so when they are meeting with officials in a country where we know there are abducted children it’s raised at the highest level. I have personally raised it time and time again; I’ve raised specific cases, I know President Obama has as well on occasion. During the last three years the State Department has doubled the number of officers handling abduction cases and I can attest to they come to work every day thinking of what more they can do that day to get your children home.

I know many of you speak with them on a regular basis and we welcome your input, your ideas that perhaps could lead to a successful outcome. We are pursuing every available avenue and we’re also trying to prevent abductions in the first place from occurring or reoccurring through our Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program and we are pushing The Hague Abduction Convention; we’re making slow but steady progress. When we started there was a huge void in Asia, countries had not adopted the convention were moving them forward, were getting closer to full accession in a couple of places.

We believe that The Hague Convention is the best tool for deterring and resolving abductions so we want more and more countries to join. We pursue this separate and apart from every other diplomatic issue that we have with any country, because we think this crosses boundaries this is such a universal matter, and there are cases of abductees in our country and so we make it very clear that we expect reciprocity we expect people to work with us just like we are trying to work with them. So there are a lot of efforts taking place and you’ll hear in more detail today about them and I encourage you to ask every question, make every point that you possibly feel is important to you because we want to be your partners in bringing about the return of your child or children.

I guess the final thing I would say is that I cannot pretend to understand the pain and frustration that you individually suffer it’s just unimaginable to me and I can certainly appreciate the sleepless nights and the internet searches and the conviction that something more could be done and needs to be done right away; if there is, we want to hear, but I can tell you we rack our brains, we do everything we can think of to do. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good and other ideas that doesn’t mean we can’t be more effective because that’s part of the reason we invited you here is to give us your constructive criticism and your best thinking; but I want you to know this Department is one hundred percent committed and the people you’ll meet today and you’ll talk to led by Janice and Susan are absolutely trying in every way they can to reunite you.

So I encourage you to not only get the most out of today, but to stay in touch with us, to keep providing any information, ideas that you have and to know that we’re going to be there with you as your partner in trying to end what has been for each of you a very painful time. So Janice and Susan I guess you’ll come up and tell everybody what’s next on the program and I’ll get a full readout and report and I’ll look forward to continuing to work for you and with you. Thank you all very much.




DoS and Child Abduction

Monday, April 16th, 2012

To the attention of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, the Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and all employees in the State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues:

This letter was received by Congressman Smith’s office during the week of the introduction of H.R.1940, the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction, Prevention and Return Act.

March 26, 2012


Dear Congressman Smith:

By now you are aware that Japan has agreed to sign the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction (the Hague treaty).  By now you are also aware that while Japan has “agreed” that it will sign the treaty, it does not seem to have any intention to actually honor it.  This fact can be gleaned from Japanese press articles and Parliamentary sessions that extol the virtues of several “exceptions” the Japanese plan to implement upon their joining of the Hague.

The ambiguity of these loopholes reveals that Japan’s accession to the Hague will be, at best, a misrepresentation of the country’s true intentions and, at worst, an outright fraud.


U.S. Department of State disregards the welfare of abducted children

On May 24, 2011 while sitting as Chairman for the Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights Subcommittee, you remarked that parentally abducted children lose half of their identity and half of their culture and “are at risk of serious emotional and psychological problems [including] anxiety, nightmares, mood swings, sleep disturbances, aggressive behavior, resentment, guilt and [fear]” and that these struggles continue on into adulthood.

Despite the litany of childhood problems you detailed in your speech, I deeply fear that the U.S. Department of State (“State Department”) has failed to research, or even acknowledge, the harm that can befall a child who has been parentally abducted.

For years, several organizations, including the American Bar Association and the U.S. Department of Justice, have maintained that parents with narcissistic personality disorder and/or sociopathic personality traits are more likely to kidnap their children than those who are emotionally “healthy”.  While countless researchers have examined the long-lasting consequences of being raised in these circumstances, it appears that the State Department has chosen to ignore this research in its entirety.

In 2011, the State Department Office of Children’s Issues met with parents of children who have been abducted to Japan.  At this meeting there was a guest speaker—a child welfare “expert” hired by the State Department to convince a group of grieving and traumatized parents that they should not worry about their children so much because abducted children are “resilient”.  Aside from the fact that this “expert” seemed to completely ignore all of the research that led to the implementation of the International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act and the Hague treaty in the first place, the State Department’s flagrant disregard for the pain and emotional damage that these children suffer was unconscionable—to say nothing of the feelings of the parents who were seated in that room while having to listen to that discussion.  It is reminiscent of the radiation scandal where the poisoned victims were told that the version of chromium they were exposed to was actually “good for them”.  It is positively unthinkable.


Living with an emotionally unhealthy parent

Children who are raised with an emotionally unstable parent do not reach adulthood unscathed.  Indeed, children who have been parentally kidnapped are often raised in an emotionally abnormal environment without the benefit of a healthy parent to counter-balance the abductor’s erratic or destructive behavior.  Several researchers have examined the emotional fallout experienced by children who have been raised with parents who suffer from narcissistic or borderline personality disorder, and they have found that the impact of this damage is both deep and long-lasting.


Narcissistic personality disorder

Several publications have described that narcissism is a personality trait that increases the risk of parental abduction.  Narcissists often rationalize their violation of court orders and feel no remorse if they bend the rules to benefit themselves.1

A child of a narcissist can suffer severely because narcissists have “limited or no ability” to recognize their children as separate individuals with free will and needs of their own. Children who are raised by a narcissistic parent often feel extremely lonely and isolated because the parent can, to the outside world, appear to be self-confident and self-controlled, but in private can unleash a battery of constant criticisms and have difficulty controlling their anger.3  Eleanor Payson, a licensed family therapist, describes this nightmare as “a private one that can only be stopped by outside validation”.4  A child raised by a narcissistic parent must grow up quickly, repressing his or her true feelings in order to serve the narcissist’s needs.5


Borderline personality disorder

Bill Eddy is an attorney, mediator and clinical social worker.  He is an expert in child custody issues that arise when someone divorces a spouse with narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder.  He explains that parents with borderline personality disorder often “desire the elimination of the other parent as much as possible”.6  Researchers have found that a borderline parent will often use “I’ll never speak to you again” as a primary method of solving interpersonal conflict, and the child will thereafter feel forced to agree with his parent’s opinion, even if his opinion or recollection is not the same.7  These parents “enmesh” themselves with their children8 and rather than being allowed to feel, the borderline parent convinces the children how they are supposed to feel.9

In Eddy’s experience, parents who kidnap their children are unwilling to share parenting with the other parent and “decide they were above the law”. 10  The risk of abduction is exacerbated by a borderline’s impulsivity and the fact that they feel superior to a court’s orders.11

Borderline parents hold their children captive to onslaughts of verbal abuse followed by the silent treatment.  They criticize and belittle their children, causing the children to suffer great confusion, pain and silent anger.12  Life with a borderline parent can bring “constant chaos” and is typified by the borderline’s verbal abuse, unpredictability, denying the child’s perception of events, the need to dominate, threatening to get her own way, making abusive comments and setting unrealistic expectations.13  Denying the feelings and needs of others and trying to get the child to engage in illogical arguments only exacerbates the pain, loneliness and confusion.14  While it is impossible to discover exactly how many international abductions have been committed by narcissistic or borderline personality disordered individuals, this research cannot and should not be ignored.


The State Department is obstructing justice and minimizing a federal felony crime

Through their complicity, the State Department is unnecessarily prolonging the pain of these abducted children and their parents.  The State Department needs to acknowledge that crimes have been committed by these Japanese nationals and that the Japanese government has done nothing to rectify the situation.

The Justice Department has acknowledged that parental abduction is damaging and that “the worst damage is imperceptible to the eye, occurring deep within the child, leaving traces that last a lifetime”.15  The State Department should be admonished for using taxpayer money to pay a child welfare “expert” to cajole left-behind parents to think that parental abduction is not such a bad thing after all because kids are “resilient”, and to offer up such fiction in front of the F.B.I, the very agency that should be assisting these bereaved and aching parents in the recovery of their children.  The State Department needs to be severely questioned as to why it is devoting its efforts to obstructing justice rather than fighting for it.


Thank you for your time and attention.


Amy J. Savoie, Ph.D.



1  Payson, Eleanor D., M.S.W.  2002.  The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists.

Royal   Oak, Michigan: Julian Day Publications, p. 19.

2  Payson, p. 30.

3  Payson, pp. 16, 30.

4  Payson, p. 16.

5  Payson, p. 66.

6  Eddy, Bill, LCSW, JD and Randi Kreger.  2011.  Splitting: Protecting Yourself   

   while Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  

  Oakland, California: New Harbinger Publications, Inc., p. 263.

7  Roth, Kimberlee and Freda B. Friedman, Ph.D., LCSW.  2003.  Surviving a 

   Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust,  

   Boundaries, and Self-Esteem.  Oakland, California: New Harbinger

Publications, p. 120.

8  Eddy, p. 249.

9  Roth, p. 121.

10 Eddy, p. 248.

11 Eddy, p. 249.

12 Lawson, Christine Ann.  2000.  Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping  

    Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship. 

    New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., pg. 207.

13  Mason, Paul, MS and Randi Kreger.  2010.  Stop Walking on Eggshells, 2nd 

    Edition.   Oakland, California.  New Harbinger Publications, Inc., pg. 61.

14  Mason, p. 109.

15  The U.S. Department of Justice, from the publication The Crime of Family

Abduction, a Child’s and Parent’s Perspective, First Edition.  May 2010.


The U.S. State Department has released the following partial listing of efforts made by high level State Department officials during 2010 to raise the international child abduction issue with high levels of the Japanese government.  While there are well over 20 specific events listed in this document, some of them including efforts by Secretary Hillary Clinton, this list is not comprehensive and does not reflect all diplomatic efforts being made on this issue with Japan.

State Dept. Document

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton brought up the international child abduction issue in public remarks in Washingiton on January 6 after meeting with Japanese Minster of Foreign Affairs Seiji  Maehara.  She mentioned that “next week, senior officials from the U.S. Government will meet with American parents whose children were wrongfully, and in some cases illegally, taken to Japan.”



http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=pol_30&rel=j7&k=2010052101141 (in Japanese)