Japan Times: Canada, U.S. nudge Japan to join child abduction resolution framework


Hi Blog.  This story is from the Japan Times – Saturday, March 15, 2008, on a topic of import to Debito.org:  child custody after divorce–and Japan’s difficulty with accepting children brought back to Japan without the permission of both parents as abduction.  Comment from the submitter follows article.  Debito in Matsuyama


Canada, U.S. nudge Japan to join child abduction resolution framework

Staff writer


Canadian and the U.S. government officials and a law expert Friday
urged Japan to join an international legal framework to resolve
cross-border cases of child abduction by parents and others.

As the number of international marriages rises, there will be a
corresponding rise in divorces among multinational couples. The Hague
Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
states that children removed or retained from a signatory state by a
parent without the other’s permission must be returned promptly to the
original country of residence.

The convention can also help parents exercise visitation rights abroad.

Japan is not among the 80 signatories to the convention. When kids are
abducted to nonsignatory countries, it can take years to make any
progress, and sometimes all efforts are in vain.

Ottawa is dealing with more than 620 unresolved child-abduction and
custody-related cases, Bill Crosbie, the Canadian Foreign Affairs and
International Trade Department’s deputy minister for consular
services, said at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. Twenty-nine of them,
the highest number in any one country, are in Japan, he said.

The U.S. currently has 40 cases of international child abduction
involving Japan, the third-largest after Mexico and India, said
Kathleen Ruckman, deputy director of the U.S. State Department’s
Children’s Issues Office.

“What the Hague Convention is about to say (is) where the decision has
to be made about the child’s future,” said William Duncan, deputy
secretary general of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.


COMMENT:  Its interesting how the US government makes the intake requirements
for actual new cases to qualify as an “official” State Dept case of
child abduction to a foreign country in an effort to keep the numbers
low. But thank GOD that many people have met all of those criteria and
maintain the official cases with the Govt…same in Canada . Thanks to
the Govt of Canada for keeping the pressure on Japan!
Patrick B


2 comments on “Japan Times: Canada, U.S. nudge Japan to join child abduction resolution framework

  • From the Asahi:

    Japan to sign international parental abduction treaty


    Japan to sign international parental abduction treaty

    Japan will sign a treaty obliging the government to return to the rightful parent children of broken international marriages who are wrongfully taken and kept in Japan, sources said Friday.

    The Justice Ministry will begin work to review current laws with an eye on meeting requirements under the 1980 Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the sources said. The government plans to sign the treaty as early as in 2010.

    The decision was reached amid criticism against Japan over unauthorized transfer and retention cases involving children. The governments of Canada and the United States have raised the issue with Japan and cited a number of incidents involving their nationals, blasting such acts as tantamount to abductions.

    In one case, a Japanese woman who divorced her Canadian husband took their children to Japan for what she said would be a short visit to let the kids see an ailing grandparent. But the woman and her children never returned to Canada.

    Once parents return to their home countries with their children, their former spouses are often unable to trace the whereabouts of their children. In Japan, court rulings and custody orders issued in foreign countries are not recognized.

    Under the convention, signatory parties are obliged to set up a “central authority” within their government. The authority works two ways.

    It can demand other governments return children unlawfully transferred and retained. But it is also obliged to find the location within its own country of children unlawfully taken and retained, take measures to prevent the child from being moved out of the country, and support legal procedures to obtain the return of the child to the rightful parent.

    A court, in principle, must hand down an order for the return of the child to the place of habitual residence within six weeks of the claim.

    Sources said the Japanese government will likely set up a central authority within the Justice Ministry, which oversees immigration and family registry records. The ministry has decided to work on a new law that will detail the procedures for the child’s return.

    In 2006, there were about 44,700 marriages between Japanese and foreign nationals in Japan, about 1.5 times the number in 1996. Divorces involving such couples have more than doubled from about 8,000 in 1996 to 17,000 in 2006. (IHT/Asahi: May 9,2008)

  • I had a wave of dread today when I realized I was starting to forget my childrens faces after not seeing them since Dec 30th 2007 137 days. I am SO hopeful with the direction things are starting to turn, but change cannot come soon enough. Its time to INCREASE the pressure now not lay off. We need to make sure that Japan isn’t just trying to pacify us to make the attention divert off this issue. If there is a God I hope he is listening and I get to hold my kids again SOON! Emi Yamabe Borger I hope you let me see my kids again soon. I miss you Erika Marie Borger, Alyssa Lee Borger, and Collin Edgar Borger worse than I have ever missed anything or anyone in my life.. 🙁 Force change Force change Force change… Ryan Borger


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