And So It Begins
Reiko and I were married on September 1, 2000. Later, I learned from her ex-husband that this was the exact same week that her alimony from her previous marriage would end. I had always wondered why she wanted to move so quickly when we had been planning the wedding for April 2001. Over the next several years she became less and less engaged with any of my friends or family. BBQs and get together with my friends was something she no longer wanted to do after we got married. Every Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving she always had an excuse for not joining my family for traditional dinners. At the last minute she would say she either made plans with someone else, without ever telling me, or she would say she wasn’t feeling well. It was amazing how she did get better just moments after my family get togethers had already started. This was all part of her and her parents elaborate scheme to alienate Keisuke from me and my side of the family after Keisuke was born.
Reiko found out she was pregnant in August of 2002. She had gone to visit her parents in July and told me when she returned. She had been to Japan every summer since we were married. I had even joined them in 2001. This time, upon her return, she said she needed to stay in another bedroom to adjust to the time change. I thought nothing of it. But then a few days turned in to a few weeks, then a few months, and then finally it had been nearly six years. It was clear she really didn’t want me around. I worked hard to provide for us, which included an adorable daughter she had from a previous marriage, even when the mortgage business was very hard to make a living in. Those of us who had been in the mortgage business for decades really had a rough time beginning around 2006. She and I wanted to be sure her daughter got the best education available. She attended one of the best private schools in the state. She played piano and wanted to learn to play the violin so I made sure she got the best available instructors. I made sure to attend every event she participated in from school soccer and basketball games, her concert performances and recitals, to taking her and her friends to the movies. For her 8th grade field trip she was to go to Washington DC. I felt I needed to stay home to work as the mortgage business had slowed down. But Reiko and her daughter begged me to be a chaperone. Her daughter told me that she did not want to go unless I went too. I didn’t want her to miss out on such an incredible opportunity to visit our nation’s capital, so I dropped everything to go with her. I don’t mean this to be some sort of “I am so great for doing this”. This is only me doing what every good parent would do. She was my family. She even came to me a couple years after Reiko and I got married and asked me “What do you want me to call you?” I asked her “what do you want to call me?” She said “Dad”. I told her that if she was ok with it so was I. I took my vows and my responsibilities seriously. My family’s well-being was very important to me.
In early 2008, after several years of this façade of being in a marriage, I had had enough. I told Reiko that we needed to see a counselor but she refused. Looking back, it was not surprising. She had been planning the abduction for quite a while. I had begun talking to a friend who was a family law attorney. She was surprised I had stayed in the marriage for as long as I did. You always think you want to stay in a marriage for the kids. I know I did. But you can’t try to get things right again if you’re the only one trying. In March we started the divorce. Just as I was about to file for divorce, she served me with divorce papers. Unlike some people, I was actually very happy about it. I knew I was finally going to get the time I wanted with my son. But she had other plans. Later that month I moved out of the house.
Being concerned for my son’s safety, and after I learned of numerous news stories related to Japan’s permissive acceptance of international child abductions, I had gotten a Temporary Restraining Order to keep my son in the area, as I had strong concerns that if she went to Japan again for a summer vacation, she would not return. On June 13, 2008, I obtained a third California Superior Court order whereby my wife was to turn over Keisuke’s passport to the Japanese Consulate and neither of us was to remove our son from the “County of Orange, State of California, or the United States of America.” As per the court documents and my attorney, I immediately notified the Japanese Consulate in Los Angeles that afternoon. When I told the Consulate of the order given by the California Supreme Court, the Japanese Embassy stated “We don’t care”. When I made mention that I had concerns for my son’s safety and of his possible abduction by his mother, I was told “They are Japanese citizens and are free to go wherever they wish.” I told him my son was born in the United States, not in Japan. For any future reference, any lawyer who tells you that you that it is your responsibility to contact a foreign government’s embassy to get them to take back a passport, fire them on the spot because they have absolutely no clue what they are talking about.
Two days later was Father’s Day. I picked up Keisuke early Sunday morning. I had asked him what he wanted to do today. He said “I want to go see Pastor John.” Pastor John was my pastor. Keisuke was finally able to meet him a couple weeks prior. Before this Reiko would whisk Keisuke away to Bakersfield for the weekend or she said she was going to her own church. I had learned later from her pastor that she hadn’t even been to the church for months. She even lied in her sworn deposition and said that she was employed at the church. Just like everything else about her, she was a Christian fraud as well. So, Keisuke and I went to my church. After church we went out to lunch, and then went to his favorite place, the Discovery Zone. He loved dinosaurs. The Discovery Zone has a great interactive game with dinosaurs. At 6:30 that night I dropped him off at his mother’s. I said “Thanks for spending Father’s Day with me. I love you. See you tomorrow.” He said, “Love you too daddy!” Those were the last words I heard from my son. That night around 9:00 I got a call from Reiko. She asked if Keisuke was feeling ok that day. I told her he was great. She replied “Well, he’s been throwing up since he got home”.” I said, “Ok. Let’s see how he is doing tomorrow.” My days with him were Monday and Thursdays. I knew I was going to Bakersfield in the morning but was going to be back in time for my dinner time with him that evening. She had set her final plan in motion.
The next day I drove up to Bakersfield to get a copy of her previous divorce papers. Reiko had told me a few things and made some very disturbing accusations about her ex in her first marriage and the divorce. I wanted to see for myself. So, I went to the Bakersfield Court house and got a full copy of those divorce papers. When I saw the full transcript of those papers, I was blown away. Her accusations were pathetically despicable. Reiko has a very sick and disturbing thought process. If any such accusation she was claiming against either of us fathers happened, no mother in their right mind would have lived under the same roof with a father for a single minute. Yet she stayed under the same roof with her first husband for another 1 ½ years! She stayed under my roof for over 6 more years! This was solid proof enough to show she is an unfit parent, a compulsive liar, and has serious mental issues. Maybe those kinds of things happened to her as a child, but none of it ever happened here in the US. Maybe that’s why her parents sent their only children to live in the US at ages 13 and 14 even though neither spoke a single word of English. I would never cast away my children to another country, especially at such an important age. I later learned that the Child Protective Services fully investigated her accusations and threatened to file charges against her for her false claims in her first divorce unless she recanted. If our divorce hearings would have pressed on, she undoubtedly would have been facing the same charges. It takes a very sick and devious mind to make such accusations. On my way back from Bakersfield that day I received a call from Reiko around 11:30 in the morning. I let it go to voice mail. I listened a couple hours later. Her message was said “Hi Randy. This is Reiko, Keisuke is still throwing up. We will make it up another day this week. Thank you.” It had already begun. I learned later that she made that call from the Seattle Airport.
My next day to have Keisuke for the night was the upcoming Thursday. Reiko had said she had a follow up doctor’s appointment in Los Angeles and that I was going to pick him up at noon that day. I showed up and knocked at the door. There was no answer. I figured she was out running some last minute errands before her appointment. I ran some of my own errands and came back again. Still no answer. I called her cell. It was going straight to voice mail. I called and came back to the house numerous times for the next few hours. Around 4:30 I called her friend Lisa Blanton and asked if she had heard from Reiko. At first she was saying she hadn’t. But then her answers started getting very odd. I asked what was going on. She said “I can’t tell you any more” and hung up. I immediately called my attorney. My attorney called Reiko’s attorney. Reiko’s attorney told my attorney that she couldn’t say anything because she had been on the phone with the State Bar Association about it. My attorney called me back and told me to get in to the house by any means possible. I jumped the fence and entered through the back sliding glass door. All the furniture was gone. I checked the closets and all the clothes were gone. I knew then that Keisuke was gone.
I contacted the police and FBI. After speaking with me, the Santa Ana Police went to Lisa Blanton’s house. She confirmed that Reiko called her from the airport that previous Monday, June 16th to tell her that she was leaving the country and to find a home for all her animals she had left at the house. The police questioned her attorney as well. The final report by the police department mixed the names of Lisa Blanton and the attorney. This made for some problems when dealing with the court afterwards. The bottom line is that a few people knew Reiko was committing a federal crime and did absolutely nothing to prevent it. Reiko was able to sneak out of the country, never having turned over Keisuke’s passport as per the orders of the California court. In spite of three California Superior Court orders stating “Minor child is not to be removed from the County of Orange, the State of California, or the United States of America” Reiko had gotten away with kidnapping my son. She had assistance here in the US and in Japan. Her father, Ken Nakata, is a retired pilot with Japan Airlines with connections in Los Angeles. He knew how to get through the system. I called Frank Brandes, the former mayor of Pleasanton California, and the person Reiko lived with when she first came to the United States. He said that he had gotten an email from them but hadn’t heard anything else. When the Orange County District attorney asked to see the emails he said he had received, he refused. This wasn’t surprising.
In October 2007, prior to Reiko abducting Keisuke, her parents, Ken and Miyuki Nakata had come from Japan to visit. This was strange because they hadn’t visited us in nearly 7 years and I was told her mother was too ill to travel. They stayed til January 1, 2008. Three weeks later her parents returned. Again this was very odd. It was a matter of weeks after that I was served with the divorce papers. While I was still living in the house, I was always cordial and respectful to her parents. Ken had told me that Rieko’s mother had stomach cancer. I was so sorry and even cried for her. No matter what the issue was with their daughter, I still cared deeply for her parents. It is obvious now that her mother did not have any such cancer because she is alive and well 8 ½ years later.
I moved out of the house a couple weeks after being served the papers and moved in to a home just a few minutes up the street. I didn’t want to go through a big elaborate and expensive divorce. It just didn’t work out. She could go her way and I could go mine. All I wanted was to finally have time with my son. I thought it would be a simple process. Soon after I moved, her parents flew back to Japan. Reiko abducted Keisuke just a few weeks later. This was all part of their elaborate plan. The evidence is pretty clear that her parents first came over here in October to plot a plan to flee the country. They never spoke English when I was around, even though they all spoke English, with the exception of Reiko’s mother. They also made sure Keisuke wasn’t in the room just in case a 4 year old unexpectedly said something he wasn’t supposed to. I have no doubt her parents went back to Japan to get their house ready for Reiko and Keisuke to get there. Her parents came back again to help her pack and get the abduction and escape plan in place. Then they returned to Japan for the last time to wait for Reiko and Keisuke to fly to Japan. It was calculating. It was and is evil. Reiko, her daughter, and Keisuke were now living with Reiko’s parents, Ken & Miyuki Nakata, in Yotsukaido, Chiba Japan. I called their home number numerous times. I wanted to talk to my son. But they always had the phone go to the answering machine. One day I called and she did answer the phone. Immediately I said said I want to talk to my son. She hung up. The next day the number had been disconnected.
When I moved out of the house, I took all the financial records with me. Her attorney contacted my attorney and demanded I return the bank records. I made copies of everything and gave them to her. I soon found out why Reiko did not want me to see the bank records. She had numerous insurance policies that I didn’t even know about. She had been transferring money from our account to an account she held with her mother. The evidence was there showing she was cash advancing her credit cards to the tune of $6000-$11,000 on a regular basis. She had even bought a car using the equity line after telling me her parents were buying it for her. She then sold that car before fleeing the country. I had found that Reiko had systematically stolen over $220,000 from our Home Equity Line of Credit and all savings. At one point she had withdrawn over $20,000 from our account and had opened two separate bank accounts in her own name. Again, this was a long thought out process. About a year prior to her kidnapping Keisuke, Reiko had encouraged me to go back to school to get my degree. I was now a full time student along with working full time. She said she would take care of the bills so I could concentrate on work and school. In my wildest dreams I never thought my wife would be embezzling every last cent I had. Reiko’s daughter contacted me in November 2015 and admitted she knew her mother had stolen all the money.
Finally realizing that Japan, nor the US government, was going to do anything to bring my illegally abducted son home; I finalized my divorce on June 16, 2010. This was 2 years to the day that Reiko kidnapped Keisuke. The deep depression caused by such a selfish and heinous act of abduction is hard to explain. I couldn’t sleep but I was so tired. I was lucky to get 2-3 hours at best. I would cry for hours at a time. I was paralyzed. I thank God for the family and friends I have who were there for me. You truly do find out who your real friends are when something like this happens. I am blessed with an incredible immediate family, my church family at the Rock Community Church, and a handful of very close and dear friends
Time for Action
I knew it was going to be difficult but I knew I had to do something. After a couple years of misguidance, I came to know other fathers whose only mission was to get our abducted children home. Captain Paul Toland, Dr. Christopher Savoie, Douglass Berg, Jeffery Morehouse, and I co-founded BACHome, Bring Abducted Children Home (www.BACHome.org). Together, we led the charge to raise awareness of Japan’s human and parental rights violations. We made numerous trips to Washington DC to speak to members of congress on the atrocious behavior of Japan with regards to its continued sanctioning and turning a blind eye to the abduction of our children. Working with other incredible parents of abducted children we were able to seek and obtain sponsors and co-sponsors for two House Resolutions. I am most proud of the efforts and assistance we provided to the House of Representatives and the US Senate, where I was a consultant for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee to pass The Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction and Return Act, which passed unanimously by the House and Senate.
The Goldman Act was a major accomplishment, but that only was to help in the return of abducted children. In 2011 I had a thought that we needed some sort of protection to reduce the risk of our children being abducted from California. I tried my own state assemblyman and state senator. I made numerous calls but neither would give me the time of day. I finally reached out to State Senator (now US Congresswoman) Mimi Walters. I met with her staff in August of 2011. I provided documentation and other ideas I had to help protect children from being abducted from our state. I left the meeting thinking nothing was going to happen. In December I received a call from Senator Walter’s office. They had drafted the bill and wanted me to review it before submitting it to the state legislature. The only thing they asked was if it was ok to name the bill after my son. I testified before the State Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committees. In August 2012 Keisuke’s Law was passed unanimously in the state senate and assembly. On August 28th, Keisuke’s Law was officially signed by the Governor of California. I know other parents from around the country are using this model to present to their own state legislatures to help protect children in their state.
A Hopeful Trip Turns to Despair
In October 2015 I decided to take a gamble and try to make contact with Keisuke in Japan. I, along with my best friend of over 40 years, made the trip to Japan in hopes of making contact with my son after over 7 years of his mother’s selfish and illegal act of kidnapping him. When on a long 12 hour flight, many thoughts go through your mind: Will he remember me? What has his mother told him? Will he be excited to see me? What do I do if he rejects me? All the scenarios go running through your mind. When I arrived in line to go through customs, I could see people were getting through the lines pretty quickly. When I handed my passport to the agent, I was getting strange looks and it took a few more minutes than I had seen others going through. I thought nothing of it at the time.
After a few days of driving around the area, we decided on a place and time to try to see Keisuke. It was a Wednesday. I had learned of the school he was attending. We went to a public park across the street from Keisuke’s school hoping to catch a glimpse of him. As time passed, I saw a police officer on a bicycle ride past and stare at my friend and me. A few seconds later a car load of police officers drove by and stared. I turned to my friend and said “They’re here for us”. Sure enough, they were. We didn’t speak any Japanese and they didn’t speak a word of English. As this began I received a phone call from Greg Gardner at the US Embassy in Tokyo. I told him what was happening. He immediately got a person on the phone who could speak Japanese to the officers. At the same time the officers got someone from the precinct who spoke English. We had broken no laws. We were in a public park on public property. We gave the officers all the information on us. I told them that I hadn’t seen my son in over 7 ½ years. We gave them the hotel we were staying, the room number, the hotel phone number, and my cell. After about 20 minutes, the person from the precinct said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had contacted Reiko. Reiko’s reply was that neither she nor Keisuke wanted to see me. I knew Reiko didn’t. That feeling was mutual. But I highly doubt Keisuke would say that.
Knowing there was nothing more I could do, nor would I be able to see Keisuke, we returned to the hotel. The officers were very kind, understanding, professional, and even drove us back to the train station. I was devastated, angry, and heartbroken to say the least. The emotional toll was as hard as it was the day I learned Keisuke was abducted. All I wanted to do was to get out of that country. Thankfully my friend knows me very well and we got through the night.
The next day I met with Greg Gardener at the US Embassy in Tokyo. When we met, I gave him a letter Congressman Chris Smith had written on my behalf, to give to the Embassy for them to forward to the Japanese Foreign Ministry. In the letter Congressman Smith stated he was “looking forward to my Insights into whether Japan’s handling of abduction issues had changed since Japan had signed the Hague Convention.” The Embassy forwarded this letter, along with its own request for the Ministry to assist me in making contact with Keisuke. I was told that the Foreign Minister was not pleased with the letter at all. This was no surprise. As expected, the Foreign Ministry did not lift a finger to assist me to finally have contact with Keisuke. Nothing had changed in Japan. Japan is still the Black Hole it has always been. The Japanese government and their racist family court system do nothing for anyone who is not Japanese.
A few days later we went to the airport for our trip back home. I had gone to the United Airlines kiosk to get my boarding pass. It would not dispense my ticket. I finally got someone from United to assist me. I then got two tickets. One was my boarding pass. The other was a notice to meet a United Airlines staffer at the terminal desk. My friend and I said our goodbyes as he was departing from another terminal. When I got to the terminal gate, I was motioned to follow a United Airlines agent to another room. He told me he was on the phone with the Yotsukaido police department and that he had been instructed to detain me. I told him that I wanted a reason why. I had broken no laws whatsoever. The agent passed this on to the police department. The police told him again that I was to be detained. Again I said I demand an answer as to why. We went through this a third time. Finally I showed my phone to the agent and told him to tell the police that my next call was to the US Embassy for harassment and racism. The agent then said “They want to know if you are going home.” My reply was “Really? I am standing at the terminal gate of United Airlines. The terminal says UA Flight 33 Non-Stop Narita to Los Angeles. I have a ticket in my hand with my name on it with an assigned seat of 17C. What do you think?” I was able to board and head home. I did not get to see my son and I was harassed by a Yotsukaido police department when I tried to leave.
Our Embassy has no jurisdiction and the Foreign Ministry is unwilling to bring Keisuke back to his naturally born country. Because of Reiko’s illegal abduction, warrants for her arrest have been issued by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Orange County District Attorney, FBI, and Interpol. Japan is knowingly harboring and protecting an international fugitive who has illegally abducted a United States citizen. I will never give up trying to contact my son. Keisuke will know the truth of what his Japanese family did to him. They deprived a son of his father. They denied a father of his son.
Although the US State Department says there are less than 75 cases of abducted American children in Japan, these numbers are grossly less than the true numbers, which are into the thousands. Japan is one of the top three offenders of International Parental Abduction in the world. Even though Japan did become a signatory of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of the Child in 2014, it still has not lived up to the spirit or intent of the Convention. Japan continues to be the Black Hole for International Parental Abduction. To this day, there is still not a single abducted American child returned to the United States with the assistance of the Japanese government or its court system. For a country that is so technologically advanced, Japan is worse than a third world country when it comes to the basic norms of parental and children’s rights. The United States has gotten children returned from third world countries such as the Middle East. The same cannot be said of Japan. It is hard to comprehend how the United States can get more American children back from countries like Iran or Saudi Arabia, than it ever has from Japan.
I have tried all I can to communicate with Keisuke since the day I learned of his illegal abduction. I have sent birthday and Christmas cards, only to have them returned as “Refused”. I called his grandparents home numerous times before Ken and Miyuki Nakata changed their phone number. I flew over 2000 miles to try to make contact with him. Only to learn that Reiko had been given a heads up I was coming and went into hiding for 10 days. Every step of the way, Reiko Nakata Greenberg Collins, her parents and family has done everything it could to prevent Keisuke and me from having the relationship every loving father and son deserves.
As Paul wrote to the Philippians “Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what it ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize.” Phil 3:13-14 It is my hope and prayer that Keisuke, and all of our abducted children, learn the truth as to what their abducting parent has done to them and will seek out to be reconnected and reunited with their mothers and fathers who truly love and miss them every single day. Keisuke, there is not a day that goes by that you are not in my thoughts and prayers. I miss you every single day. So I press forward every day towards that goal, for seeing you again is my greatest prize. I love you Keisuke, with all my heart and more than anything in this world. We will be together again, one day.