Foreign Correspondent - Japan: Sayonara Baby

Mother of two Regan Haight was married and living contentedly in mid-west USA until she returned home one day to find her children and her Japanese-born husband gone. They’d gone to Japan and they weren’t coming back. Regan Haight soon discovered that in Japan a combination of law and custom were heavily stacked against her. The system was on the side of her kidnapper husband. What could she do? Would she ever see her children again?

Living in Japan, Australian Chayne Inaba has been battling the system to try to get access to his daughter Ai and has tried to negotiate with his wife and her family but to no avail. In fact Chayne was beaten to a pulp in his own home and he has his strong suspicions about who was responsible and the message they were trying to send. He now stays a safe distance away from the house that’s now home to his daughter and former partner.

Japan has long resisted signing up to the Hague Convention that sets out the rules for these cases and while there’s been intense international pressure to sign and Japan has said it will, none of the so-called left-behind parents are holding their breath. And the courts aren’t prepared to break the mould either.

Foreign Correspondent’s Mark Willacy investigates the heartbreaking cases of the mums and dads trapped in a Kafkaesque hell, unable to see their children, stymied by a system on the side of the child snatcher. There’s Craig Morrey, left to care for his profoundly disabled son after his pregnant wife left him. He first saw his daughter fleetingly in a court-room when she was 6 months old. And there’s Alex Kahney who’s broke and is now packing his bags to return to Britain after 19 years, leaving behind everything he cares about – his two little daughters kidnapped by their Japanese mother.

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25 mins
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