Abducted to Japan: Hundreds of American Children Taken


"I was at work one day and I got a phone call from my neighbors saying 'Are you moving back to the States?'" Toland said, recalling how his neighbor told him there was a moving van parked outside the base housing he shared with Futagi and then 9-month-old Erika. "When I got home, my wife and my daughter and all our stuff was gone."

Futagi would later commit suicide, in 2007. At that point, Toland began negotiating with his former wife's family for Erika's return. But Futagi's mother, Akiko Futagi, quickly took guardianship and cut off all contact between father and daughter.

The most recent image Toland has seen of Erika is a picture snapped in 2009 by a private investigator as she walked to school in northern Tokyo.

Futagi told ABC News that Toland had refused to contribute any money to the upbringing of his daughter.

"Actually he doesn't pay anything to bring her up," she said.

But Toland was able to provide ABC News with documentation showing that, as recently as 2009, he had attempted contact with Futagi to put money into a bank account for Erika and that, he says, Fugtagi refused.

When asked whether she would allow Erika to visit her father in the U.S., Futagi responded, "no passport."

When pressed on whether she would allow the visit if Toland were to get Erika a passport, she replied, "That's another problem," before walking away.

ABC News spoke with more than two dozen fathers whose American children were abducted by their mothers, and now live somewhere in Japan. A common thread among some was the request for large sums of money in exchange for even just a Web chat with the child.

The fathers by and large, have refused to pay.

In Sawyer's case, his ex-wife sent him an e-mail one day after she spirited Wayne away from their Los Angeles home, demanding $3,000 if he wanted to see his son via Web video.

Sawyer called it extortion. His ex-wife called it an attempt at getting child support.

"If Scott wants to see him [Wayne] on the website, I say 'It's okay every time, every day,'" she said. "It's okay. But pay child support. Just a responsibility as a father."

As she spoke, Wayne, a precocious little boy with reddish-brown hair and a striking resemblance to his father, played nearby with a soccer ball and picked up sticks with a neighborhood child.

"And after he grown up for example … my son want to see my ex, his father, it's okay," she said.

New Jersey attorney Patricia Apy, who specializes in international abductions, said getting an abducted child back from Japan is "a daunting proposition."

"But I believe in order to do that there's going to have to be a concrete commitment on the part of the United States Department of State and the Congress of the United States, obviously, and the administration to work together to have a protocol for how they're going to deal with the cases," Apy said, "and deal not just with the treaty issue but also deal with individual cases and placing pressure on the Japanese government to become actively involved in a resolution."

Wounded Marine Fighting for Contact With Abducted Children

Apy is currently fighting for the return of two children taken to Japan from their father – a 26-year-old former Marine sergeant, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq four years ago.

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