TOKYO — An American father was arrested in Japan after snatching his children from his ex-wife, who had taken the kids to her native country without telling him.
The back-and-forth exposes a simmering diplomatic dispute over Japan's traditional favoritism toward mothers in custody battles. While the father was apprehended by Japanese authorities, a U.S. court has issued an arrest warrant for the mother.
Christopher Savoie grabbed his two children – an 8-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl – while they were walking to school on Monday, forcing them into a car and driving away, Akira Naraki, a police spokesman in the southern city of Fukuoka, said Wednesday.
His former wife, Noriko, then called the police. Savoie, a 38-year-old technology executive from Franklin, Tennessee, was arrested just as he was about to enter the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka with his children, said Tracy Taylor, a spokeswoman at the consulate.
Savoie is chief executive officer of Franklin-based Tazzle Inc. Tazzle makes data sharing devices for BlackBerry mobile phones and has an office in Tokyo that looks after manufacturing in Asia, according to the company's Web site.