Kidnapped by mom

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at

In 2006, Chris Gulbraa rode his bike from his home, where he lived with his mother and his brother in Kasugai, Japan. The 15-year-old was going to the airport and he had no intention of ever returning.
Five years earlier, his mother had fled to Japan from the US, essentially kidnapping Chris and his brother during a custody battle. The father, Mike Gulbraa, had run out of options because Japan doesn’t recognize parental rights if they’re non-nationals. But then Mike received a text message from Chris saying he wanted to come home.
Escaping to dad
After one failed attempt to escape Japan, Chris was under close scrutiny by his mother who’d fled the US with him over a custody battle. But he soon tried again to get back to his dad in the US. At one point, he was stopped at airport customs before boarding his plane. He texted his dad for help. The plan worked, and father and son are now reunited. Link - Children's Rights Council of Japan.
Update - Chris's brother Michael tells his side of the story.
This story was taken from the latest edition of The State We're In - Stealing children.
Click on image for slideshow