Defiance of the Court: New Japanese Parental Abduction from Seattle Demonstrates the Need for New Preventive Regulation (Keisuke’s Law)


Japan is working on its statistical quota for the year, it seems. This is a story from today’s news.
A mother who has been given a court order to turn over her passports rushed to the Seattle airport and made away with her child. Destination? Japan. The father literally chased them trying to prevent them from departing by driving to the airport itself, but it was too late. They were already on board a flight, and arrived safely in Japan.
Obviously she should never have been allowed to board the airplane. If, tragically, she’d managed to slip through airport security, she and the baby should not have been allowed to deplane in Japan, but should instead have been put right back on a flight and sent back to Seattle to the father.

But no preventive measures were undertaken.

It is not rocket science to see that she ran away with her kidnapped child because she knew that she would be protected by Japanese authorities once she arrived in the country. There would be no recourse for the father if she could just get that baby to Japan.

This is child abduction sponsored by the Japanese state.

What will it take for this systematic abuse of the world’s children and families to come to full awareness?
I was moved to post this not only because of the tragedy of it, but also for two other aspects of the story:

1. The news story also refers to the abduction from Seattle of Mochi Morehouse, the son of  Jeffery Morehouse in 2010, the same year and season in which my Rui was kidnapped from New York.  Jeffery’s heart must ache tonight to hear of this.

2. California is set to pass and ratify Keisuke’s Law, a new law to add to the preventive measures available to state agencies to stop parental child abductors from getting away.  More about this legislation here and here. Keisuke’s Law was named for Randy Collins’ son, who was abducted from California. Testimony in the California legislature on behalf of Keisuke’s Law was given by both Randy and Jeffery, and can be seen here:

Having seen their children disappear into the Black Hole of Japan, both Jeffrey Morehouse and Randy Collins are activists in the fight against child abduction today. They both work under the banner of the anti-abduction group, BACHome.
Keisuke’s Law is precisely the type of legislation which Washington State, New York State, and 47 more states all ought to have, using Keisuke’s Law as a model on which to build resistance to Japanese and all other countries’ parental abductors. We in the United States must demand reciprocity of ourselves and the countries with which we share the world. Parental abduction is a crime with sad and grave consequences for all the victims involved.

State-sponsored Chld Abduiction to Japan must be stopped!

[Additional background to the case: the story follows a familiar pattern. In this instance, Ryoko Fukuda,  the Japanese mother,  made a charge of domestic violence and swore out an order of protection to keep the father, Arnold-Carlo Delizo away from his child. Upon investigation, the court found this charge of violence to be false and ordered a shared residential schedule and parenting plan for the child to divide time between both parents. Although Fukuda claimed that the father “chose not to see his child,” the court found that “Fukuda withheld the child from Delizo for a protracted time without just cause.” Fukuda contended that the final residential schedule was “outside the bounds of reasonable choices.  In particular, she objected to….joint decision making.”  A father actually having a part in decisions regarding his child is outside the bounds of reasonable choice according to this mother.  One find this to be a typical part of the abductors’ mentality in nearly every case. ]

Here is the news story:

Charge: Unhappy with parenting plan, Seattle mom took daughter to Japan

Mom latest of several such parents to face such charges in King County

BY LEVI PULKKINEN, SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF

Published 11:10 p.m., Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Seattle mom accused of fleeing the country with her young daughter during a custody dispute is now facing felony charges in King County.

Prosecutors there claim Ryoko Fukuda absconded with her daughter the day she was supposed to hand over the girl’s Japanese passport.

According to charging documents, the girl’s father rushed to Sea-Tac Airport in an attempt to retrieve her. But prosecutors say Fukuda and the child were already flying to Japan.

Writing the court, Senior Deputy Prosecutor David Martin noted Fukuda had been ordered not to take the girl out of the country hours before she did exactly that.

Fukuda and the girl’s father dated but had broken up by the time Fukuda gave birth to the girl, Seattle Detective Jason Stolt told the court. The girl’s father and Fukuda each took out domestic violence protection orders against the other; the man told police he didn’t learn his daughter existed until 2009.

A parenting plan was first ordered in 2010. The plan gave the girl’s father visitation rights and required that either parent let the other know if their daughter was going to travel out of Washington.

On May 16, Fukuda, 34, and the girl’s father met with a King County court commissioner to discuss Fukuda’s plan to take the child to Japan. The girl’s father objected to the move.

The commissioner ordered both parents to surrender their daughter’s passports to Fukuda’s attorney for safekeeping until a final decision could be made. Stolt noted Fukuda had the girl’s Japanese passport.

At 2 p.m. the following day, the girl’s father called 911 to report that his daughter failed to arrive at her Broadview neighborhood elementary school that morning. Nor was the girl or Fukuda at their apartment.

Meeting with police an hour later, the man said Fukuda had failed to turn over their daughter’s Japanese passport. He said he was concerned Fukuda was preparing to flee the country, and he worried he’d never see his daughter again.

Leaving the meeting with police, the man drove to Sea-Tac Airport hoping to learn whether his daughter had been flown out of the country. With the help of Port of Seattle police and State Department officials, the man determined Fukuda and his daughter left the country at 2 a.m. that morning.

The detective told the court he has since confirmed that Fukuda and the girl are in Japan.

Fukuda has now been charged with first-degree custodial interference.

If similar cases filed in recent years are any measure, prosecutors will have a difficult time getting Fukuda before a King County judge.

Similar charges filed separately against two other Japanese women alleged to have fled the Seattle area for Japan have gone nowhere so far.

In 2009, Mayumi Ogawa fled the country weeks after a Superior Court judge approved an parenting plan stating that her son would split his time between his parents. The boy’s father has since been awarded sole control of the child, Ogawa remains at large and charged with first-degree custodial interference.

Michiyo Imoto Morehouse, 44, was charged with the same crime in 2010 after fleeing the country with her son. Her ex-husband had been awarded sole custody of the child; she remains at large.

In recent years, U.S. authorities have seen an increase in the number of international custodial child abductions. Watchdogs on the issue say there are currently more than 1,000 such open cases involving U.S. parents whose children have been taken overseas.

Speaking with seattlepi.com in 2009, Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said custodial child abduction is on the rise.

Unlike the United States and 80 other countries, the Japanese government has not ratified the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction. The 29-year-old United Nations accord requires that member countries honor custody agreements made outside their borders unless doing so threatens the child involved.

Allen said that even when the country in question has signed on to the Hague Convention, a child’s return is not assured.

“The cases where we don’t get children returned aren’t just from places like Iran,” Allen said in March 2009. “There are a host of horror stories out there.”

Another recent case has had something of a happy ending.

After months of work, the Redmond mother of a boy whose father had taken him to Morocco was able to retrieve her son and return him to Washington. Still, the boy’s father, Mouad Aimane Elbou, has not faced the charge against him.


20 thoughts on “Defiance of the Court: New Japanese Parental Abduction from Seattle Demonstrates the Need for New Preventive Regulation (Keisuke’s Law)

  1. It doesn’t just happen to men but to women too and not just to whites but other races too. And it’s nobody’s fault but the non Japanese parent because he or she chose to have children with a Japanese person. The judge in any paternity or child support or custody hearing will remind you about your choice to have sex if you try to complain about the other parent. You just don’t get 100% control over everything in your child’s life even where they live in the best of circumstances and always have to worry if you choose to be with a foreigner. I am a woman, a mother, but like you I learned the hard way about having children with foreigners. When your child has been gone for 20+ years AND doesn’t want you back then you’ll know true heart ache. Although as a parent I don’t wish my pain on anyone. There’s nothing quite like learning that your grown child themself rejects you.

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    1. Kim S – Thank you for writing. This post was first posted nine years ago, in 2012. Rui was abducted from the U.S. to Japan in 2010. I want to say as sympathetically as I can that I believe all of us whose parent-child relationships have been destroyed in this way know the trauma you describe. I am sorry indeed that you’ve also had this unrelentingly bitter experience.
      I also want to say that I don’t want anything I’ve written on this blog to be construed as a claim that Japanese parental abduction only happens to “whites” nor just to men. (See the extensive back and forth comment discussion on this same page with another commenter). If those seem to be implied by my words, then it’s a mistake! And perhaps that’s not really what you meant.
      The rest of what you said here is worth a more thorough discussion:
      Here’s where I have to disagree a little bit (unless I’ve misunderstood you.). I don’t accept the categorical placement of blame on the non-Japanese parent who chose to have children with a Japanese person. Inasmuch as my “For Rui Boy” website-blog has any large themes, one is that Japanese parental abduction is a systemic and highly political crime. All of the pain and suffering and damage that it inflicts ensues from Japanese legal practices and codes of acceptability. We know it occurs on a mass scale in which millions of lives are affected. There is therefore a real, structural, social machinery that makes this enactment of brutal disregard for human well-being possible; and in my view, that violence *induces* child abduction. There is a specific set of inducements to this form of criminality, and it is ironically to be found in the structure of provision and defense of rights and their opposites in Japan. Where there are rights, authoriatarian Japanese practice imposes the absence of rights; where the Japanese State offers defenses of parental rights, it counters that with the complete non-availability of defense against their loss, all in one and the same system. This argument matters! The State torments and abuses ordinary people with these powers. And it functions as a “system” by blanketing the society with it while disavowing and denying that this is so. It appears to be incredibly effective at insinuating itself into the values and moral feeling of Japanese people. That’s the way it is with a bad ideology; it doesn’t merely exist in the world of ideas; rather, it burrows into people and imprisons them, internalized through institutions and the practices specific to them.
      The feelings of self-blame you expressed are sadly familiar to me as well. I suppose they’re inescapable, and we have to face up to our responsibililty. But it’s of the highest importance and absolute necessity that people like us, whatever influence we wield in our worlds, large or small, must not fall into false consciousness about ‘nationalities’ and ways of dividing the world into “people who belong” and “foreigners”. That is the type of thinking that underlies the regime of Japanese child-abduction-as-custody-determination. We didn’t create it, and neither did our former spouses. My ex-wife didn’t steal my son away and hide him because she was a “foreigner.” She became the subject of objects that impinged upon her and made her miserable, from which point it was only a short few steps to becoming a beastly and selfish human being who lived her overwhelming inner disgust and nervous illness through decision and action, slaughtering our son’s psychic health, tearing a gash into his head to extract his father-love from its place. She was given the “gift” of the opportunity to do this by suggestion of the Japanese State; and she took the bait gladly. They offered an alienated, damaged mother a solution to a dilemma. In that state of mind, she was excited by the possibility of violating Rui’s parental rights, of removing herself and Rui to the safe haven of Japan, blinded to the damage she was setting out to inflict, apparently a common enough state of mind for hundreds of Japanese to routinely act on it. It looked like a solution to her, the way suicide looks to someone who despairs of the suffering of life; it was a way out in which the subject grows inured to the damage and consequences. What are we and our children now, but the forever-damaged witnesses.

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  2. if the mother and the child were Japanese citizen, isn’t it also international crime to restrict the access to their country or lock them in the state? It is traditional to target one ethnicity or certain religious people, for example, they used to put some musilims after 911, while they are literally inncent. They should stop this kind of racism instead they should focus on fixing the problems that cause the tragedy to happen

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    1. Indeed. So let’s ask the question that is there to be answered. What are the problems that cause this tragedy to happen? Lax domestic violence protection; legally condoned child abduction masked as “custody determination”; exclusive, sole custody and NO shared parenting in Japan. These have nothing to do with race: they have to do with the rigid and thoroughly corrupted judiciary and state regulation in Japan. There would be no need to prevent adults from taking their children on trips to Japan if Japan were not today every bit the black hole for child abduction that it was 35 years ago.

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  3. They should make laws to protect women from their former abusers otherwise they will keep running off from the state if they can.

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    1. Of course they should. No sensible person could disagree with that, indeed! So the question then is, why does Japan have a terrible, internationally-known reputation for not taking domestic violence claims seriously, and not doing proper investigations, education and systemic work to reduce the high incident rate of it there? Japan and its people deserve decent human rights protections as do Americans and every other person. But rights protections today are in the hands of nation-states which are engaged in a race to the bottom.

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  4. The fact is that king county court restricted these mothers and children to travel even though the both mother and child are Japanese citizen, the court prohibited their freedom to attend cultural and religious activity in Japan because Japan isn’t signatory of Hague. If the court pressures individuals for national issue, it is racism and the fundamental of issue will never be solved, but gets worse.

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    1. The fault continues to lie with Japan in this. No child is safe from being abducted once it is taken within the jurisdictional boundaries of Japan. There is no mechanism by which to right the wrong; and no recognition that a child’s abduction does severe, permanent abusive harm. Every couple in Japan is faced with the same patriarchal authoritarian choice: remain in your marriage no matter how awful the circumstances, or you will lose your child forever, and your child will lose you.

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  5. Whomever wrote this article is wrong and biased about the first case mentioned above that the DVPO was never found as false but was terminated for the father to obtain visitation rights. The father was never involved with the child because he couldn’t afford to do so as well as some other reasons. Most of these cases are involved with DV and if the state never can help women in certain situations, this problem will continue or they can only try to limit Japanese women and children’s access to passports but this is more like racism if they restrict something on ethnicity bases.

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    1. The article was written to stereotype the child abduction because the author isn’t even knowledge of the case or there isnt investigation of the background. Why would a woman from a foreign country who must have had a big American dream take off like that? The is not about the Hague, but is that the state ignore the rights for women and minorities that they have to be pushed to do so. Japan isn’t a black hole. It is a civil.ized county and men oriented. Any decent fathers who claim for their paternity rights reasonably should be respected there regardless of where they are from.

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      1. But never will their paternity rights, nor the protection rights of the child, be respected. Japan is extremely patriarchal and nationalistic; and power simply does not lie in the hands of ordinary people to practice their rights. Rights without the capacity to realize them, are thereby not rights at all. For this reason, 150,000 children are abducted every year there. 150,000 new cases of children who can never recover a parent-child relationship. And parents wounded so badly by the callousness of this system, we can never recover. Japan abducts. Japan ruins lives. It does so with intention.

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    2. [Note from “For Rui Boy”: I am posting this comment here so that I can respond to it. I want to make it absolutely clear that the charge brought by the commener who calls him/herself “antiracism” is false. It is typical of those arguments made in defense of Japanese child abduction however, in that it charges us who write about it with fakery. For that reason, I want to post it here with the understanding that there are replies and responses to it that I think are worthwhile here on this page. Thank you for understanding!]
      Back to ‘antiracism’s post:
      There’s no investigation on Fukuda’s protction order by anyone and it has never determined as false. Indeed, to obtain a protction order, you need a valid evidence to be granted by the court and this mother had a ton and that’s how the protection order had been in the place. What’s kind of fake author is this?? Whole bunch of baloney.. that’s why there’s no author’s name here. Duh.

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      1. The author of the blog? That’s me. The author of the news story from which it is reported is at the beginning of that section.
        Important point that needs to be very very clear: in a Japanese family “court” (which is not really a court), there is no need to bring “valid evidence” as you claimed. You can buy any form of evidence you need in Japan if you want to abduct a child: psychologist’s reports, medical reports… all easily obtained there. Japanese family court does not require any standard of evidence (it’s not a court, that’s the reason…), just as it also has no enforcement capacity once it rules. It is incapable of rendering a verdict that it can then enforce. It relies instead on other elements of the Japanese legal apparatus to defend its aims. So for example, although it cannot determine that a child abduction has taken place (and if a parent leaves home and hides a child, it is not an abduction under Japanese law). It becomes an abduction once the case has been signed off as a “custody determination” if the parent from whom the child was abducted then in turn comes to try to join with the child, raise the child, be the child’s parent as before. Japanese family courts can do only one thing effectively: they can eliminate parents from the lives of their children and force children to endure the loss of their parent.

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      2. ” Indeed, to obtain a protction order, you need a valid evidence to be granted by the court.” In the United States, and in all other countries, this is true. In Japan, you do not need any actual or valid evidence. The evidence can be purchased from any psychologist or doctor who is willing to receive payment in exchange for a domestic violence report. The “professionals” such as psychologists who can be hired for this purpose do not have any certification requirements. They merely have to pass an exam and they will be able to hang a sign on the door and sell these documents to take to court; it’s a “living” for them. You may find one or two case histories and a description of this procedure and how it is done in this blog.

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    3. These comments were left a number of years ago, as was the post-article that I was sharing here. At the time (and it is hard to recall precisely) I couldn’t reply; the subject is so terribly painful to us. I’d like to say something about this comment now, if I may.

      The use of state powers that Morehouse and Collins were seeking above should not be construed as an ideal use; rather it’s a last ditch effort at prevention in a situation that is rife with dangers. If a parent is in permanent danger of losing his child, and the child in danger of losing his or her parent, for no more pressing reason other than that of the souring of relations between the two parents, then abducting them and preventing them from ever having relations with their family again is a criminally abusive, trauma-inducing act, and there has to be *some* means of preventing it. This prevention essentially does not exist now and that is why abductions continue to be the choice method of custody in some societies, such as in Japan, where the practice is flourishing still now.

      I am more concerned at this moment to respond to the accusations and presumptions of racism and sexism that the comment -writer made here. These are accusations that swirl around many or most of the discussions I’ve seen about the international abduction of children, and have a near-equally large role to play in in-country abductions of children as well. So let us try our best to be clear: excluding Japanese mothers and fathers from the right to raise their children is every bit as harmful as excluding American or European or African or other Asian parents from their children. That the Japanese state has policies that condone abduction and provide an environment in which abducting the children is a highly effective and therefore encouraged method of assuring that custody goes to the one who “abducts first” and is as prompt as possible about getting the case settled in their favor, means that the largest numbers of victims of Japanese family law practice are Japanese parents and children. That the family law further heavily favors families with Japanese state registration documents is another factor in encouraging international child abductions as means to obtaining sole custody of the child. If the Japanese state were interested in putting an end to this bitter, life-and-soul-murdering practice, then it could introduce shared parenting into the law, and in agreement with other countries that also have systems of shared parenting, it could then negotiate reciprocal methods of allowing children and parents to continue their parent-child relationships in cases of divorce. It would also relieve a great deal of the pressure on parents to abduct, and to break up their marriages once and for all by abducting the children, an ultimate and unflinching breach of trust, and a coldly evil act, making the recovery of amicable relations between the parents far, far more difficult to obtain. The victims of this crime are the parent of the child who is locked out, and the child who suffers traumatic stress due to the abduction. The less obvious but nonetheless real third victim of the crime is the mother or father who commits the abduction. This parent will and must suffer guilt, awareness of a lived lie, and will be mentally and emotionally handicapped in some way by the events for as long as she or he lives.
      So what I propose to you to consider is that all parents and children in any sort of proximity to these cases should be considered victims of a heart-breaking, severely destructive crime; and the cause and force behind the crime is the power of the state to exclude and punish the “outsider” for the supposed benefit of the “insider” – a set of categories that both have severe limitations.
      The more obvious criticism I bring to the point of view in the preceding comments is the blatant sexism of presuming that children need mothers but do not need the love of their fathers as well. Or that there is a choice to be made and it is “impossible” to have both. I am not a “men’s rights” activist, or advocate. I am however fully convinced that sexism, in an extreme form, that forces women into the exclusive, financially dependent home maker role and that forces men OUT of the home, excluded from family love and care-giving, to be work place slaves dedicated not to their lives and the lives of their loved ones but to the benefits that private interests wish to extract from them, is another root element of this regime of abduction which should have been rooted out long ago. That it has not is a testament to how little power the citizen, the worker, the family member etc have in decision making about how to live their lives under capitalism, or under this version of the capitalist economy. It is entirely unnecessary for parents and children to have their lives torn apart in this manner, unless you believe that the only thing that matters in this world is the extraction of value from the labor of others, coupled with the total management of their time to the extent that they become increasingly exhausted and miserable. That employment today has become so profoundly precarious, to the point that permanent work is no longer a privilege enjoyed by by-far the greatest share of humanity, that subsistence itself is now in question in the world’s wealthiest societies as well as everywhere else, is a further testament to the lack of interest that the state now takes in the well being of men, women and children. We live in a broken social order that has taken one overarching decision: you’re on your own. The study of child abduction has given me this window into understanding how deep the rot is.There are many entry points to this understanding.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Most of the *cases* involve DV, yes, because the Japanese family court does not investigate DV. It takes the claim of DV if made by a national it is well-disposed to, and uses it as a rationale for assigning custody to whomever makes the claim first in its offices (its version of a court room). As a result, virtually every contentious divorce and custody case that comes to a Japanese family court can and probably should involve a charge of DV (domestic violence) because there is nothing preventing an individual from making such a claim there; and it ensures a victory in the battle for a judge’s decision. Family courts in Japan are not really courts in the usual sense in which they are elsewhere. They have no access to passing on criminal charges or relying on accurate police investigations. They have no powers of law enforcement either. They are merely meeting rooms where a legal decision is imposed regarding child custody. Once they have done so, if there is an attempt by the parent who did not make domestic violence charges and therefore lost the case for custody, any approach by that parent to the child now becomes a matter for police involvement and is dealt with in the criminal court. The claim is that family matters are decided in family court, but criminal charges dealt with in a criminal court. Once the family court has declared custody, the parent is locked out of his/ her child’s life; that is to say, he or she is no longer a member of the child’s family and can be charged with a crime for approaching his or her child, just as any stranger can. This is the way of Japanese “family law” – it is completely in denial with respect to its role, which is, to put it simply, destruction and dissolution of families.

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