NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Christopher Savoie of Franklin wants Americans to know that it was the "love of his kids" that launched a desperate mission that has landed him in a Japanese jail, said a reporter who spoke with him Thursday.
CNN's Toyko correspondent Kyung Lah said that she was allowed to speak to Savoie for 15 minutes in an interrogation room in Yanagawa, Japan. No recording equipment was allowed. The interview had to be conducted in Japanese in the presence of a police officer.
He wore a T-shirt for the Nashville School of Law, where he is a student, Lah said.
"Savoie wanted to talk," Lah told NewsChannel 5 chief investigative reporter Phil Williams, who's been closely working with the CNN journalist.
"He really wants to get his message out, and he really wanted to express, especially to the American viewing public, that he really feels that international laws in this case really have to be changed."
CLICK HERE to watch Williams' conversation with Lah.
Savoie told Lah, "I'm so scared. I don't know how long I'll be in here. I want Americans to know what's happening to me."
The Williamson County man was arrested Monday after he allegedly grabbed his children, 8-year-old Isaac and 6-year-old Rebecca, who were abducted from him in Tennessee.
His ex-wife, Noriko Savoie, took the children to her hometown near Fukuoka, Japan, in violation of court orders from a Williamson County judge.
After the abduction, a judge gave Christopher Savoie full custody, and Franklin police issued a warrant for Noriko's arrest. But Japan isn't a party to the international Hague Convention and, as a result, does not recognize family court orders from the United States.
So what was Savoie thinking?
"There was a police officer sitting next to him the entire time," Lah said. "We had to do the entire interview in Japanese so that the police could understand. And he had to be very restrained in how he answered the questions."
Savoie told Lah: "I didn't do anything wrong. Children have the right to see both parents. It's very important for my children to know both parents."
As seen in a clip from the documentary "From the Shadows," non-Japanese fathers say they feel they must sometimes go to desperate measures just to get a glimpse of children who've been taken to that country. Japan doesn't recognize family court orders from other countries.
"In Japan, the way it normally works, if there is a divorce, one parent basically gets all the rights, the other parent essentially disappears," Lah said. "So, it's a very different system culturally and legally."
Lah told NewsChannel 5 that such jailhouse interviews are considered extremely rare in Japan.
"He did break down, tears did well up in his eyes when he talked about his kids and his wife Amy in Tennessee," the CNN correspondent added. Amy is Christopher's current wife.
"This is certainly wearing on him, Phil, and he looks very tired. But he is trying to keep everything together so that he can move forward in his legal process."
Savoie knows that he may never see them -- at least, until they are adults.
His message for them: "I love you Isaac, Rebecca. Your Daddy loves you forever. I'll be patient and strong until the day comes that I can see you both again."
"He wants his kids to know that he loves them and he feels it is an imperative right for children to have access to both parents -- and that's what really drove him," Lah added.
That legal process could take at least 10 more days before Savoie finds out if prosecutors plan to proceed with the case.