Mexican man convicted of abducting daughter from separated wife in Niigata

Posted on July 6, 2011. Filed under: Child Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Japanese Family Law | Tags: , , , , , , |

Jul. 06, 2011 – NIIGATA —

A Mexican man was found guilty and given a suspended jail term Tuesday for forcibly taking his daughter from his separated Japanese wife last November by breaking into her home in Niigata on the Sea of Japan and injuring her mother who tried to prevent him.

The Niigata District Court sentenced Nathanael Teutle Retamoza, 33, to two years in prison, suspended for four years, for his behavior aimed at taking the 1-year-old girl to the United States, at a time when the Japanese government is preparing for legislation to help settle international child custody disputes.

The ruling said it was ‘‘selfish’’ for Retamoza to act on his urge to see his daughter, from whom he had been separated for two months, without heeding the sentiment of his former wife and her relatives.

It also noted that he prepared for the abduction well in advance as he booked U.S.-bound air tickets for himself and his daughter beforehand.

However, the court said the prison sentence is suspended as the man regretted inflicting on his former mother-in-law injuries that required two weeks of treatment and received punishments in the forms of nearly eight months of detention and abandonment of his daughter’s custody.

According to Retamoza’s lawyer, the couple divorced after the incident and the mother was awarded sole custody of the daughter. Also after the incident, the court served a restraining order on him following the wife’s claim of abuse.

In a similar case, an American man was arrested in September 2009 in Fukuoka Prefecture on suspicion of abducting his son and daughter in a bid to reclaim them, as his ex-wife had taken them from the United States to Japan.

But prosecutors did not file criminal charges against Christopher Savoie.

To deal with cross-border parental abduction cases, Japan decided in May to join the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which sets procedures for settling international child custody disputes.

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4 Responses to “Mexican man convicted of abducting daughter from separated wife in Niigata”

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The following is a comment from the Japan Today about this article.

Scotch Jul. 06, 2011 – 08:50AM JST

I know all about this as he is a friend of a friend. What is also missing is that during his “divorce” while imprisoned he some how managed to get broken fingers, infections in the cuts of the broken fingers, was coughing up blood for weeks before being allowed to see a doctor, was not allowed to speak to anyone about his treatment (luckily managed to get one letter out after months of trying), and was only allowed communication through police censorship or his right to legal council would be withdrawn. Oh and his “abuse” to his wife was that he had a row with her for her refusing to do anything. She stayed at home and didn’t work. So he suggested she studied or got a part time job. Turns out having an argument is considered abuse in the Japanese legal system.

This is a comment from the Japan Today about this article.

ScotchJul. 06, 2011 – 09:53AM JST

Think before you start assuming that he hit someone. As for the mother looking after the child. She wasn’t the only one looking after the daughter. She had free time. Lots of it. Did this mean she did house work? No. She didn’t do anything. But again that isn’t the point. The point is an argument over a small matter like that is not abuse.

As for both parents being a part of the childs life. Well that was the issue. She was refusing to let him see his daughter or speak to her on the phone. If she let him be the loving dad he always was there wouldn’t have been an issue.

I love Japan. But things like this just make me think the judicial system is one of the most racist in the world.

In May, Japan said the same thing they have said a number of times. They have still not signed the Hague treaties on child abduction/ protection. So one cannot trust that they have decided until they have signed.

There are a number of problems with this story. Why did it take so long for the media to report on this story? It happened in November of last year. Why isn’t the Mexican government complaining more? Does this judge know about the 1000’s of other abduction cases? If so why is it selfish for the father to take his son home to Mexico. That is the excuse Japanese women use when the come home to Japan. We have been hearing for over 10 years Japan will sign the Hague. The GOJ can’t be trusted to sign and/or ratify this convention. Judges needed to be educated on this issue because I am pretty sure most judges know nothing about the UNCRC, the Hague, and the problems related to international child abduction, and denial of access to loving parents.


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