Iraq War veteran Michael Elias served overseas in 2008, and during this time he couldn’t stop thinking about returning home to his wife and two children in New Jersey. When he finally came back from the conflict, he was immediately thrust into a bitter child custody battle, Fox News reported.

His marriage fell apart soon after he returned home, culminating in a December 2008 incident where his wife fled the country, against a court order, with the couple’s two children, according to the news outlet.

“It’s not that they won’t do anything. They can’t do anything,” Elias told Fox News. “They’ve had some dialogue, but it’s like beating a dead horse. Every time, they [Japan] say they are willing to cooperate, but it’s been three years. How much longer are they going to be willing?”

CBS News reported that Elias is powerless to bring the children back home after his wife left with a boyfriend and the children to Japan. Despite pleas from State Department officials and the Iraq veteran, it is likely that they will be unable to secure their passage back to the U.S.

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