Comparative Study of Justice Thesis

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¶ … Justice

"Each country has different views on parenting, and we are studying how to resolve the issue"

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada (Okada, as cited inYamaguchi, 2009).

"Japan to keep TN man in custody longer for snatching own children," the October 10, 2009 headline of an article published in the Tennessean, written by Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press writer, sets the stage for this comparative study of justice paper. After attempting to bring his two children back home to the United States where he, not his ex-wife, Noriko, has legal primary custody, Christopher Savoie, of Franklin, Tennessee, was incarcerated in Yanagawa, located in the southwestern part of Fukuoka, Japan. In this comparative study of justice paper, the researcher evaluates and discusses components of this child custody case, noting that according to some, the court system in Japan, contrary to the legal system in the United States (U.S.) does not offer a due process. Savoie, initially informed that he could serve up to five years in a Japanese prison if convicted of the crime of kidnapping minors, asserts that he did not realize he had violated Japanese law.

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On September 28, 2009, Japanese police arrested Christopher Savoie during his attempt to reunite with his two children and transport them back to their home in the United States. Shorty after Savoie picked up Isaac, his 8-year-old son, and Rebecca, his 6-year-old daughter, as they were walking to school, Japanese police arrested him. The October 10, 2009 Tennessean article explains that while visiting with the children during her normal visitation schedule, Noriko Savoie, Savoie's ex-wife, fled to Japan from Nashville, Tennessee.

The Japanese authorities report that Christopher will remain in the city jail for an additional 10 days in the city jail before officials determine whether or not to officially file and charge him with the crime of kidnapping minors. Figure 1 portrays a picture of Christopher Savoie and his children, Isaac and Rebecca.

Thesis on Comparative Study of Justice Assignment

Figure 1: Christopher, Isaac and Rebecca Savoie (Lah, Cooper, Ahmed & Sanchez, 2009, ¶ 2).

Yamaguchi (2009) explains that this particular represents an increasing number of international custody disputes currently occurring in Japan. Japan "allows only one parent to be a custodian - almost always the mother. That leaves many divorced fathers without access to their children until they are grown" (Yamaguchi, 2009, ¶ 8). Japan's stance contributes to current international concerns following a reported a recent rise in of incidents in which Japanese mothers transport their children back to Japan, their native land, and then refuse to permit the their foreign ex-husbands, the father of their children visit them.

In the article being reviewed, Amy Savoie, Savoie's current wife, remained in Franklin, Tennessee during the ordeal. She asserts: "It's a court system over there unlike what we have here; there's no due process at all" (Yamaguchi, 2009, ¶ 5). Amy Savoie also told news reporters: "They [Japanese officials] enable the children to reside with the Japanese native as long as possible, so they can say, 'Well, the children are here now and they have adjusted, so it would be disruptive to return them'" Amy Savoie said (Yamaguchi, 2009, ¶ 7). She perceives that the Japanese of authorities Christopher an extra 10 days in jail as a delay tactic to keep the children in Japan.

In response to the United States, Canada, Britain and France urging Japan to sign the 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction., already signed by 80 countries, Tokyo argued that by signing the convention, Japanese women and their children may not be protected from abusive foreign husbands. Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, however, reported that officials had been assessing the matter.

Noriko Savoie and the children are currently living with her Japanese parents in Yanagawa. Noriko refused to speak with the media. Beginning in 2001, when married, Christopher and Noriko Savoie lived in Japan, where Isaac and Rebecca were born. During 2008, they moved to the U.S. In January 2009, while living in Tennessee, Christopher and Noriko divorced. During August 2009, Noriko secretly transported t the children to Japan.

According to the news article being critiques, Savoie could face up to five years in prison if convicted. This strict stance stimulated the international focus (Yamaguchi, 2009). In a later article published October 16, 2009 in the Washington Times, Yamaguchi reports Japanese officials released Savoie from jail on October 15, 2009, after he served 18 days.

Kyung Lah, in Tokyo, Japan, Aaron Cooper, Saeed Ahmed and Carolina Sanchez (2009), in Atlanta, Georgia, all reporters for CNN, assert in the article, "American jailed in Japan for trying to reclaim his children," that if this particular custody battle had been fought out in the U.S., Christopher Savoie may have been perceived as a hero. "But this story unfolds 7,000 miles away in the Japanese city of Fukuoka, where the U.S. legal system holds no sway" (Lah, Cooper, Ahmed & Sanchez, 2009, ¶ 3). Savoie's ex-wife, Noriko, according to this source, considered the "victim" in Japan is considered a fugitive in the U.S. And would be arrested if she returned to the United States. Contrary to U.S. law, Japan law does not perceive parental child abduction is as a crime.

According to another article the researcher reviewed for this paper, by Lah, Cooper, Ahmed and Sanchez (2009), after her divorce from Christopher, Noriko agreed to live in Franklin so she could be close to the children. During the summer, the courts permitted Noriko to take Isaac and Rebecca to Japan to visit their grandparents and other family members who lived there. During this time, however, Noriko threatened to take the children to Japan permanently. In March, during a court hearing, Christopher requested a restraining order to prevent this from occurring. A temporary order was issued, but was lifted following a hearing. Circuit Court Judge James G. Martin III noted in his order regarding this case: "If Mother fails to return to Tennessee [after summer vacation] with the children following her visitation period, she could lose her alimony, child support and education fund, which is added assurance to Father that she is going to return with the children," (Lah, Cooper, Ahmed & Sanchez, 2009, ¶ 8). Following that ruling, as Martin had served as mediator in the case prior to becoming a judge, Christopher Savoie attempted to have Martin recuse himself. The courts denied that request.

Noriko did not return the children to the U.S. after their summer vacation, so in turn, they missed their first day of school. When Christopher called Noriko in Japan to find out why the children were not returned in time to attend school, Noriko retorted that the children were safe with her in Japan. "After Noriko Savoie took the children to Japan, Savoie filed for and received full custody of the children, [Christopher's attorney, Paul] Bruno said. And Franklin police issued an arrest warrant for his ex-wife, the television station reported" (Lah, Cooper, Ahmed & Sanchez, 2009, ¶ 15). Japan, however, does not subscribe to the 1980 Hague Convention on international child abduction, T[t]he international agreement [which] standardizes laws, but only among participating countries" (Lah, Cooper, Ahmed & Sanchez, ¶ 16). Although Japanese civil law purports that they do not regard either parent's nationality, that courts resolve custody issues considering the best interest of the children, foreign parents have seldom succeeded in regaining custody.

Japanese family law follows a tradition of sole custody divorces. When a couple splits, one parent typically makes a complete and lifelong break from the children. In court documents filed in May, Noriko Savoie denied that she was failing to abide by the terms of the couple's court-approved parenting plan or ignoring court-appointed parent coordinators. She added she was "concerned about the stability of Father, his extreme antagonism towards Mother and the effect of this on the children." (Lah, Cooper, Ahmed & Sanchez, 2009, ¶ 19).

Comparative Study of Justice Considerations

Mark Stevens (2004), Assistant Professor of Criminology California State University

Fresno, explains in the journal publication, "An introduction to comparative criminal justice," that the study of comparative justice and law constitutes a practically new field, approximately 30 years old. The purpose may include discovering more successful crime control policies or testing theories under diverse circumstances, Stevens stresses that the goal of both comparative justice aims "to remedy American ethnocentrism (the view that American ideas apply naturally to other parts of the world)" (Stevens, 2004, ¶ 1). Published works in comparative research typically fall into three categories:

1. Single-culture studies (the crime problem of a single foreign country is discussed),

2. two-culture studies (the most common type), and

3. comprehensive textbooks (which cover three or more countries). (Stevens, 2004, ¶ 1).

The article this paper examines serves as the focus for the most common type comparative justice study, a two-culture study. It proves important to criminology in general, and specifically to comparative justice as it points out that the noted difference in child custody/kidnapping laws challenge not only the U.S. And Japan, but also other countries and Japan.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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