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Hi Blog. CRNJapan.net contacted me yesterday with a very useful checklist of things to do to legally protect yourself against child abductions IN . Along the lines of Debito.org’s “What to do if…?” page, this is one-stop shopping (if not a little paranoia-inducing) info site if you feel your relationship with a Japanese spouse is on the rocks.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again because it is a harsh reality:
As Japan’s Family Laws stand now, nobody — regardless of nationality — should get married to a Japanese and have kids. Because if you divorce — or even separate — somebody will quite likely lose them completely.
Remember, in Japan there is no protection against abduction, no joint custody thanks to the koseki Family Registry system, no real guarantees of child visitation, and generally whoever kidnaps the kids gets to keep them even if you go to Family Court here. More at crnjapan.net.
Excerpt sans links follows:
Just In Case: A Parental Abduction Preparedness Checklist
The Japan Children’s Rights Network in response to the ever increasing number of International Parental Abductions to Japan has released a preparation guide for all of those in intimate relationships / Marriage with a Japanese citizen. This guide is the “get your affairs in order” guide to making sure that when and if your Japanese significant other abducts your child you are prepared. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions / additions.
Here is a checklist of things to do if you are about to get a divorce, or if you are worried that the Japanese parent might try to take your children at some time in the future. (Some of this applies generally to all kinds of child abduction and is advisable to do anyways, even if you are not worried right now.) Some applies only if you are in Japan, and some applies only if you are not.
Make sure to store all information in a safe place where the child’s other parent cannot get to it, such as a safe deposit box that only you can enter, or a friend or relative’s home. Also, to help ensure that others do not misuse this information, you as the parent should be the only person to keep this information about your child. You should be wary of gadgets and gimmicks that purport to protect your child or any sort of data-collection or registration services that store information about your child. There is no substitute to collecting and storing this information yourself.
The List (a pre-divorce checklist)
1.Make sure that your marriage is registered on your Japanese spouse’s Family Registry. (koseki).
2.Make sure that you are registered on the Japanese spouse’s Family Registry. (koseki) as the parent of each of your children. (You can order these from outside Japan with forms from here.)
3.Get copies of Japanese spouse’s Family Registry. (koseki) and a current Residency Registration (juminhyou) from the appropriate local government office. Note that foreign spouses are never listed on the actual juuminhyou, but if you ask, they may list you in the remarks section. Make sure to request this so that you have proof that you were living together. (Some government offices still wont do it, but many will.)…
9 comments on “CRNJapan’s checklist for avoiding J child abductions during marital problems”
Man, this is just horrible. Japan has gotten so bad that such a site like this has to be made…man. If I marry Japanese, I would try to keep the marriage as good as possible, but I know for a fact that its something that just can’t be helped if the marriage is bad. At 19 years of age, I am most likely the youngest regular poster here, so I am not qualified to speak on this, but I am glad and saddened by this. If it happened to me, I’d be thankful for this site to get me as prepared as I can to fight for my kids, but it truly is terrible that such circumstances has arose for this site to occur. Sorry, repeating myself. Shutting up now.
Thanks for the useful information! Everyone who is married (even happily) would do well to bookmark or print this out.
Hopefully someone with a bit of responsibility in the current gov’t will see how this makes them look like a banana republic.
Thank you Alan. I cant imagine anyone saying that any better. Feel free to repeat yourself as often as you like.
When I divorced, my lawyer told me i would lose my kids because A)I’m a man and B) that I was a “gaijin.” And this was a highly educated lawyer… His job was to make the finacial loss easier and make sure I gained access to the children. I got visitation rights four (4) times a year. Not days, not weekends…. four “times.”
Allen said it best. It’s truly sad to see this problem getting this bad. It’s endlessly frustrating to witness.
What’s happening to that country? I so looked forward to building a new life and family there. Now? I don’t know. My respect goes out to those who are there, you’re made of sterner stuff than I.
I have the utmost gratitude to this website for being such an eye-opener. My spectacles are no longer rose-tinted.
“His job was to make the finacial loss easier and make sure I gained access to the children”.
Sorry to say, there’s no way he can “make sure” you get to see your kids.
“I got visitation rights four (4) times a year. Not days, not weekends…. four “times.””
Again, sorry to say, the reality is more like 0 (zero, nada, zilch) times… :-(.
In civilized countries, custodial parents would lose custody over this – not in Japan…
With hindsight I m not sure things have got worse, they just haven’t got better and Japan [clings] to past ways. Back in 1988 everyone said to me, “Japan? Great place to visit or work for for a year, but live or settle there? You ll have no rights….”
22 years later, not much has improved.
Your advice is spot on. It is a much greater risk than an inexperienced person might imagine marrying and having children with a Japanese woman or man. And this is NOT because of some head-cracked perception that is negative towards Japanese as people. It is because if and when the relationship runs into trouble or runs aground, which is always a risk in anyone’s married life, then the temptations offered by the Japanese judicial system to entice women to put the alienated man out of reach of his child are truly great. Civil rights, parental rights, legal protections … are poorly enforced, NOT enforced, or not conceived to exist at all. Relationships that bring such unequal, nuclear-powered options to the table can hardly withstand that kind of pressure. You can very very easily end up stunned with your dreams destroyed.