This story was inspired by a recent Metropolis article that ran back in January regarding international abductions in Japan. The reason I think it has become a focus of this piece and one of the stories on my canvas is that I once lived with someone who experienced this and saw first hand the trauma this issue can put someone through.
For those who know little of this issue here's a brief overview.
Family Law in Japan believes in a clean break system if a couple divorces. Believing that it is better for both parties to move on with their lives with no more ties to a 'mistake'. In practice that means if a couple has a child whoever does not have custody gives up (legally) all custody rights and access rights to their offspring. Usually its left to the couple to come to an arrangement about joint custody, and things end amicably. However in some cases there are problems when one party refuses to play ball. This becomes especially acute when the divorce happens in an international marriage. Usually the foreign spouse has no idea of the holes in custody rights in Japan, and finds out that legally there is no way to see their child again in this country unless they are prepared to engage in a costly and potentially decades long legal battle. For further details there is a website called Japan Children's rights network.
In the story a young family man, I believe from either Canada or America, is deserted by his wife and has his child taken away from him. He is told that he no longer has a child by his estranged wife's family. Caught in a maelstrom of panic and uncertainty the man contemplates whether to stay in Japan and fight a legal battle that could take decades to complete or give up and return to his home country.