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NC5 Investigates: Abducted to Japan

Nations Press Japan To Resolve Child Custody Issues

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Ambassadors from the United States and seven other countries urged Japan on Friday to quickly resolve a growing number of international child custody disputes.

The call came a day after Japanese police freed Christopher Savoie, a Franklin man accused of snatching his own children.

In a meeting with Japan's justice minister, the ambassadors called upon Japan to sign the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, an international agreement that was created to protect children in cross-border custody disputes.

In a joint statement, the ambassadors said:

The left-behind parents of children abducted to or from Japan have little realistic hope of having their children returned and encounter great difficulties in obtaining access to their children and exercising their parental rights and responsibilities.

Japanese law allows only one divorced parent as custodian - almost always the mother - leaving many fathers without access to their children until they are grown.

Japanese police on Thursday released Savoie, who was arrested Sept. 28 after his Japanese ex-wife told police he grabbed their two children, ages 8 and 6, as she was walking them to school, forced them into a car and drove away.

Prosecutors said they were suspending any case against Savoie, clearing the way for him to leave the country.

(Portions of this story include AP material. Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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