I have mostly been following the Savoie case through the vernacular press, and not very closely at that. The impression I had was of a renegade American causing trouble in a quiet neighborhood. I did, however, make the point several times that a big issue was that Japan doesn't participate in the Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Also, the way divorces are handled in Japan is somewhat absurd. Usually it goes like this: Couple splits up. Father never sees the children again. I didn't realize until I read the article above that the father had been awarded custody in America and the mother had run back to Japan with the children. I have yet to find any sympathetic ears in Japan. I believe I heard a TV commentator say- and don't quote me because I just caught he saying it while I was doing something else- that it would would be difficult for Japan to sign the treaty because it might interfere with raising Japanese children. I don't mean children who are Japanese. I mean that she implied it would be hard to make them Japanese if custody was divided.
On the domestic front, this story was on the news and I said it was a real issue that Japan refuses to participate in this treaty. I was met by; "Wow foreigners like to get divorced." I would imagine that anyone who has been in Japan long enough can tell you that a divorce is preferable to many of the marriages here. Nevertheless, that is all apart from the issue of human rights and Japan's continued penchant to opt of treaties that don't seem Japanese enough.