Press Esc to close

US dad sues Japan Airlines after ex-wife left with son

Last updated: 17 April, 2011
Los Angeles, Apr 17, (AFP): 7:10 IST

A US man has sued Japan Airlines, claiming it wrongfully helped his Japanese ex-wife leave the United States with their son, despite court orders that the child remain in California.

Scott Sawyer alleges the airline and a US travel agency agency knowingly assisted his ex-wife, Japanese national Kyoko Sawyer, take their son Wayne to Japan in December 2008 when the boy was two years old.

"There is a long list of red flags that existed in this case that should have caused the airline and travel agency to do something," lawyer Mark Meuser told AFP yesterday. The companies were "deliberately turning blind eyes to the known parental kidnapping problem endemic to Japan and the warning signals surrounding this case," Meuser added in a statement.

Japan is the only major industrial country that has not signed the 1980 Hague Convention, which requires the return of wrongfully held children to their countries of usual residence.

When international marriages break up, Japanese courts rarely grant custody to a foreign parent, particularly fathers. Activists say thousands of foreigners, mostly men, have been barred at some point from seeing their children once the youngsters have been taken to Japan by the estranged partners. Sawyer has not seen his son since his ex-wife took him to Japan more than two years ago.

The lawsuit was filed this week in Los Angeles Superior Court, which in 2008 approved the divorce and granted shared custody of Wayne, who is now four years old.

Sawyer's ex-wife had been ordered to turn in her passport and to not travel with the boy outside five counties in and around Los Angeles, Meuser told AFP. But she left San Francisco on a flight to Japan after having obtained a Japanese passport for her son just days prior, Meuser said.

Meuser said there is no law requiring the airline and travel agency to check custody issues on travel from the United States to Japan, but said they should be held responsible nonetheless.

"They should have flagged everybody," he said. "Wayne has red hair. He's clearly bi-racial and he's going to a country known to have problems with parental kidnapping. They had all the warning signs."

Sawyer's lawyers said airlines and travel agencies should require parents traveling alone with a minor child to Japan to obtain legal approval from the non-traveling parent authorising the child's trip.

Go to Top

More from this section
Photo Gallery
A child disguised as PM Narendra Modi flashes victory sign after BJP's success in the state...

A child disguised as PM Narendra Modi flashes victory sign after BJP's success in the state...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flashes victory sign after BJPs success in Himachal and Gujarat...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flashes victory sign after BJPs success in Himachal and Gujarat...

Newly elected Congress president Rahul Gandhi arrives for the winter session of Parliament, in...

Newly elected Congress president Rahul Gandhi arrives for the winter session of Parliament, in...

BJP President Amit Shah gestures while being welcomed on his arrival at the party headquarters in...

BJP President Amit Shah gestures while being welcomed on his arrival at the party headquarters in...

Karnataka BJP BS Yeddyurappa flashes victory sign along with the party members to celebrate the...

Karnataka BJP BS Yeddyurappa flashes victory sign along with the party members to celebrate the...

Army personnel paying tributes to the mortal remains of Sepoy Koushal Singh during his last...

Army personnel paying tributes to the mortal remains of Sepoy Koushal Singh during his last...

Policemen and rescue workers inspect the debris at a damaged site after a fire broke out...

Policemen and rescue workers inspect the debris at a damaged site after a fire broke out...

Actors Arbaaz Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez and Tiger Shroff at the launch of Super Fight League...

Actors Arbaaz Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez and Tiger Shroff at the launch of Super Fight League...

Karnataka cricketer Karun Nair celebrates his century in the Ranji Trophy semi-final match...

Karnataka cricketer Karun Nair celebrates his century in the Ranji Trophy semi-final match...

Female giant panda cub Xiang Xiang sits on a tree during a press preview at the Ueno Zoological...

Female giant panda cub Xiang Xiang sits on a tree during a press preview at the Ueno Zoological...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.