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Japan joins the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction

Petaris

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Hi all,

Lately I have read some posts here about how fathers, especially foreign fathers, are usually not allowed to see their children anymore after a divorce from a Japanese woman. Just today I ran across this bit of news from the BBC about Japan joining the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.

From the article:
Its [Japan's] policies have been blamed for making it easy for Japanese mothers to remove children from foreign fathers.
The Hague Convention aims to protect the rights of both parents, and it seeks to ensure that custody decisions are made according to the laws of the country which provided the first residence for the children.
The important part there seems to be where the child was born, not where they are currently living.

Then further down in the article you see this:
It would mean a change from the expectation that families should largely work things out for themselves, to the state enforcing agreements on access and child-support payments.
Bills to change Japanese law - which has no concept of joint custody - are expected to be submitted to parliament by the end of the year.

So once these bills and, I am assuming, eventually the laws are submitted there seem to finally be some recourse for foreign parents.

Do you think that these laws will eventually work their way into the domestic scene? If so that could change the way it works now quite a bit.

You can read the article here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13465814
Anyway, in light of recent posts here I thought the forum members might find this of interest.
 

thomas

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Just a little update on this issue (we have had another, more recent thread on the Hague Convention, but it turned into mud-wrestling and had to be locked).

Boy returns to Germany under Hague pact, in first for Japan

A 5-year-old boy was reunited with his father in Germany last month under the Hague convention, the first case in which a child was returned from Japan to another country in accordance with the treaty on cross-border child custody disputes, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

The child, born to a German father and Japanese mother and who lived in Germany with his parents, was taken to Japan in June by his mother after she left her husband, according to a ministry official.

At the end of August, the father applied for help from the ministry through the German government to return the child under the treaty. After negotiations, the mother voluntarily took the boy back to Germany in mid-October, the official said.

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which took effect in Japan last April 1, stipulates rules and procedures for the prompt return of children under 16 to the country of habitual residence taken or retained by one parent, if requested by the other parent. [...]

Hague Convention applied in Japan for the 1st time

The child who was returned to Germany is a 5-year-old boy born of a German father and a Japanese mother. The father applied to the Japanese Foreign Ministry for assistance in line with the convention after the mother returned to Japan with the boy in June. Ministry officials mediated talks between the parents, and the mother agreed to temporarily return the boy to Germany. She took him back to Germany herself.

The cross-border dispute over the boy's custody was settled through parents' negotiations in this case. But in some others, parents living abroad have filed petitions with Japanese courts for the return of their children. There are at least 2 such cases currently active -- one in Tokyo and the other in Osaka. Some children have been returned to Japan under the treaty.
 

Petaris

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Its too bad that it seems like the boy being returned to Germany seems to be the exception rather than the rule. :(

Japan seems to have signed the Hague Convention for political reasons only, to alter how they are seen globally, rather than to actually follow its requirements.
 
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