Since press coverage on dad CHRISTOPHER SAVOIE has been domininated by a pro-America, pro-father slant, little official word has come out regarding the real story regarding his citizenship and background as a husband and father. But now a lot of the back story is starting to come together. It turns out that Dad isn't even an American citizen anymore! Exerpt from CNN (major points highlighted in bold):
TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- The case of a Tennessee man jailed in Japan for trying to snatch back his children from his estranged wife is not as clear-cut as it's been made out to be, authorities here said Wednesday.
A Tennessee court awarded Christopher Savoie custody of his son, Isaac, and daughter, Rebecca.
The father, Christopher Savoie, apparently became a naturalized Japanese citizen four years ago, listing a permanent address in Tokyo, they said.
And while he and Noriko Savoie, a Japanese native, divorced in Tennessee, the two never annulled their marriage in Japan, Japanese officials said.
Also, the two children at the center of the case hold Japanese passports, they said.
"His chances of getting his children back home to the States, I think, are pretty slim right now," Jeremy Morley, Savoie's lawyer in the United States, told CNN's "AC 360" on Tuesday night.
Wonder what our pro-America/pro-daddy crowd will think of THAT! He gave up his American citizenship! That's downright, uh, un-American!
Here's another piece from CNN that explains the Japanese perspective on this issue:
YANAGAWA, Japan (CNN) -- Wearing a Nashville School of Law T-shirt, Christopher Savoie walked into a second-floor police interrogation room. In one corner, a stopwatch was running to hold him to the 15 minutes allotted for the interview.
A Tennessee court awarded Christopher Savoie custody of his son, Isaac, and daughter, Rebecca.
"I'm so scared," he said.
Savoie chose his words carefully, lest police Officer Toshihiro Tanaka cut short the rare interview Savoie was granted with CNN on Thursday. There were so many rules: No recording devices. No tough questions. Speak only in Japanese.
"I want Americans to know what's happening to me," Savoie continued in Japanese. "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."
But Japanese authorities disagree.
They have charged Savoie, 38, a Tennessee native and naturalized Japanese citizen, with kidnapping his two children -- 8-year-old Isaac and 6-year-old Rebecca -- as his estranged wife, Noriko, was walking them to school Monday in Yanagawa, a rural town in southern Japan.
He headed for the nearest U.S. consulate, in the city of Fukuoka, to try to obtain passports for the children, screaming at the guards to let him in the compound. He was steps away from the front gate but still standing on Japanese soil.
Japanese police, alerted by his estranged wife, arrested him.
The Savoies were divorced in Tennessee in January after 14 years of marriage. The marriage has not been annulled in Japan, and the children hold Japanese passports.
Christopher Savoie had visitation rights with his children, but after he returned from a short summer trip, his estranged wife fled to Japan with the children, according to court documents. A United States court then granted sole custody to Savoie.
Japanese law, however, recognizes Noriko Savoie as the primary custodian, regardless of the U.S. court order.
A 1980 Hague Convention standardized laws on international child abduction. But Japan is not a party to that agreement. Savoie was out of luck.
If a child in Japan is taken against the wishes of the recognized Japanese parent, the person who took the child is considered an abductor.
"Japanese people think she's the victim here," Savoie said. "In the States, my ex-wife is the one who's in the wrong."
U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley recognized this case as a difficult one. Even though the United States has strong ties with Japan, on this particular issue, the two nations' points of view could not differ more, he said.
In Yanagawa, those who have heard about the abduction case tend to side with the woman.
"They belong with their real mother," said one woman, herself a mother of two children.
Savoie's attorney, Tadashi Yoshino, knows the cultural divide will be hard to overcome.
"He technically may have committed a crime according to Japanese law but he shouldn't be indicted," Yoshino said. "He did it for the love of his children."
Savoie, a law student who already has a Ph.D. and a M.D., will spend 10 days in jail while Japanese prosecutors sort out the details of the case.
In the interrogation room, Savoie appeared exhausted. Tears welled in his eyes. He glanced over at the police officer, then paused to regain composure.
"I love you, Isaac, Rebecca," he said. "Your daddy loves you forever. I'll be patient and strong until the day comes that I can see you both again. I am very sorry that I can't be with you."
He was grateful be able to get the words out. Moments earlier, the interview had almost ended after Savoie blurted out in English: "I love you," a message intended for his current wife, Amy, in Nashville.
Then, as is Japanese custom, he bowed. And from the other side of the glass barrier, he gave a thumbs up, mouthing the words, "Thank you."
Here's another typical article, in this case from CBS news.
I won't even bother to reproduce it here. Check it out yourself if you're interested.
Suffice it to say we have all the melodramatic effects we've come to expect: 1) the crying second wife who swears Dad is a "very good man" (but a man who nevertheless is perfectly fine with "shoving" traumatized kids into a car and stripping of them of their mother, only to be replaced with the next wife); 2) only the position of dad's friends and families is even considered.
But look at what some of the "unofficial" word is from the street level:
"There is so much more to this story than what the American news is letting you see. He should have never had the kids to begin with. I am sure she felt the only way to protect the kids was to move to Japan because the redneck government in TN wouldn't allow her custody. In such a conservative place, when else has the mother not been awarded custody - only when the mother is foreign. "
"And just to add, he is not a hero and no one should have looked at him that way. You cannot run off to another country to commit a crime. Two wrongs don't make a right. Imagine for a moment that an Arab woman came to the US to take her kids away from an American man. Would she be labeled a hero here?"
"I have done work in TN and I can unabashedly say they are bigotted rednecks who are more concerned with church attendence rather than behavior. I am not prejudice, I am a victim of it....You said Noriko should have her case heard in US courts for due process however in the TN court system there is no due process for Japanese women who have been discriminated against for as long as people have lived in TN. There is a huge cultural difference between Japan and America. We cannot judge them for what has worked for them for longer than this country has existed. I am sure we wouldn't want their values imposed on us which is exactly the reason why we can't impose our values on them. "
"You should know that the children are Japanese citizens. It could be argued that keeping them here would be kidnapping. I have been to TN and most of them that I met are rednecks. The ones that weren't rednecks weren't originally from TN."
"What makes this man a "hero"?!! Just because he is a man or is it because he is an American??! If he is a good father, why didn't he think about the damage that will happen to the kids when he snatches them from their mother's hand and "force" them in his car?? If he is a reasonable man how come he didn't expect to be stopped by authorities before he reaches the consulate?!! And why didn't he seek other options rather than kidnapping the kids?! And on the other hand, do a few tears make the current wife - who just got into this family's life - a better mom than their real mother??!The media is evil sometimes!!"
"I think it cannot be stressed enough the psychological trauma that man delivered to his children. His son didn't even seem to want to leave and we have no idea if his daughter wanted to leave as they were snatched and shoved into a car. It was a violent abduction. It is the reason he was arrested."
"You left out that we don't follow the court orders of Japan and most other countries with regards to family law matters and most other court orders. The Hague Convention on CHILD ABDUCTION has nothing to do with custody disputes between divorced people. I would also argue it takes extreme arrogance and hypocrisy to judge the Japanese legal system. What made you right? Your opinion? It is a totally different culture that most people will never understand. For their people, it works. "
"Guys, it's game over. It's been reported that he was arrested in front of the US consulate because the consulate didn't let him in, since he denounced his US citizenship. (Japan doesn't allow its citizen to hold more than one citizenship.) All of what he did in the US while hiding his Japanese citizenship is now in question."
"What did he expect going to the American embassy as he is now a Japanese citizen?It is obvious that we have here a Mr Savoie, skilled in cheating and manipulating administrations, people and most of all his first wife and kids.He does not deserve to hold the latter."
"Chistopher Savoie is a shady man. He cheated on his wife and was remarried to the mistress a month later. He isn't even American anymore. He renounced his citizenship and is Japanese law. He is subject to all Japanese laws now. He is slimey"