MOFA now requiring consent of both parents for their child’s J passport renewal


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Hi Blog.  It looks like the GOJ has pinched off one of the essential avenues for Japanese overseas looking to abduct their children back to Japan after separation or divorce — the ability for a Japanese citizen to get their child’s J-passport renewed at any Japanese embassy or consulate without the consent of both parents.  Somewhat good news, although commenter Getchan below points out that there are still loopholes in this development.  Courtesy of SF.  Arudou Debito


To Parents with Children of Japanese Nationality:
Notice: Passport Application for Japanese Minors

Under Japanese civil law, those under the age of 20 are regarded as minors. When a Japanese minor applies for a Japanese passport, one parent/guardian must sign the “Legal Representative Signature” section on the back of the passport application. An application signed by one parent will be accepted under the assumption that the signature is a representation of consent from both parent(s)/guardian(s).

However, if one parent/guardian submits a written refusal to passport offices in Japan or Japanese Embassies and Consulates-General abroad, a passport will be issued only after it has been confirmed that there is consent from both parents/guardians. (This refusal should be written, signed, and attached an identification document proving parental custody of the minor applicant.) The passport for the minor will be approved and issued once the parent/guardian that did not consent submits a letter of agreement to issue a passport for the minor applicant to a passport office in Japan or Japanese Embassy/Consulates-General abroad.

Please note that in some countries, when both parents/guardians have custody of the child, and the child is taken out of the country by one of the parents without consent of the other parent, it is punishable by criminal law. There have been cases where a parent taking a child was arrested and charged with child abduction when he/she reentered the country, or that parent was placed on the International Wanted List of International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO). To protect Japanese citizens residing in countries with the above laws, the Japanese Embassy and Consulates-General in these countries will verbally ask the parent (s)/guardian(s) submitting the application if both custodial parents/guardians have consented for passport issuance of the minor applicant, even if there is no expression of refusal from the other parent.

If you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact the Consular Section at your nearest Japanese Embassy, Consulate General, Passport Office in Japan, or the Passport Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Passport Division, Consular Affairs Bureau
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan
April, 2010








10 comments on “MOFA now requiring consent of both parents for their child’s J passport renewal

  • They haven’t exactly closed the loophole…
    The non-Japanese parent will have to refuse in writing to Japanese Embassies / Consulates.
    So, the Japanese Embassy in Germany is in Berlin, and the consulate in Hamburg will still issue the Japanese passport, based on two facts:
    1) The non-Japanese parent failed to notify the Hamburg consulate.
    2) The Hamburg consulate will *verbally* ask, if the Japanese parent had obtained the non-Japanese parent’s consent.
    Who’s going to check the answer??
    Just saying…
    Nothing has changed, except some window-dressing… Anyone surprised?

    — Point taken. Thanks.

  • This is simply intending to stop Non-Japanese from taking their children out of Japan, in my untrusting speculative opinion.

    This is NOT intending to stop Japanese from taking their children out of America, in my untrusting speculative opinion.

    Situation 1: Japanese parent gives refusal notice here in Japan, foreigner tries to take his children abroad, JAPAN INPUTS THIS REFUSAL INTO THE DATABASE WHICH ALL JAPANESE PASSPORT ISSUERS CHECK BEFORE ISSUING PASSPORTS, thus Japan doesn’t issue the kids’ passports to the Non-Japanese parent.

    Situation 2: Non-Japanese parent gives refusal notice at Japanese Embassy abroad, THE JAPANESE EMBASSY MISTAKENLY FORGETS (OOPS) TO INPUT THIS REFUSAL INTO THE DATABASE WHICH ALL JAPANESE PASSPORT ISSUERS CHECK BEFORE ISSUING PASSPORTS, thus Japan issues the kids’ passports to the Japanese parent.

    Call my untrusting speculative opinion wrong now, but it will be proven right if 6 months from now a Non-Japanese parent reports, “Hey, I gave the Japanese Embassy the Refusal letter, here’s a notirized copy of that, here’s a video of my handing that letter to the Japanese Embassy, but 6 months later they STILL issued my kids’ passports to my ex-wife and thus helped her abduct my ’50/50 custody’ kids off to Japan!”

  • good of course also to see the family register which foreigners are not on also being reqd as proof…
    with foreigners not being on the juuminhyou it would seem very easy for a japanese parent to say that she/he was the only custodian.

  • OG Steve wrote:
    “This is simply intending to stop Non-Japanese from taking their children out of Japan, in my untrusting speculative opinion.”

    I don’t see any way that it could be used to stop that though. The non-Japanese parent in such a scenario simply needs to apply for a passport of his/her child’s other nationality, which this law will do nothing to prevent. The Japanese parent may have difficulty doing this.

  • @Kaoru

    “The non-Japanese parent in such a scenario simply needs to apply for a passport of his/her child’s other nationality, which this law will do nothing to prevent. The Japanese parent may have difficulty doing this.”

    Impossible! At least the German Embassy would not issue passports for my kids, unless the mother signs the documents in the Embassy. None of the Hague signatory countries would!
    And in the hypothetic and unlikely event – how would the NJ parent get out of Japan without being stopped at the airport? Swim to Korea?

  • Dear MoFA, Proposed Soultion:

    Whenever passports are issued for minors, BOTH parents need to come and show their IDs and their proof of parenthood. If both parents don’t come, the passport can’t be issued to a minor.

    (The non-Japanese person’s proof of parenthood is written on the Gaikokujin Touroku Shoumeisho.)

    (@Adamc – Even non-Japanese people can get their names put on the Juuminhyou, in the remarks column = Bikou Ran = 備考欄)

    Anyway, MoFA, if you’re going to continue with this new idea of yours, here’s an additional clause needed to make sure everything is fair: when you receive the Refusal Letter from a parent, you need to give that parent an Official Receipt, so that later when you “accidentally file the Refusal Letter from Non-Japanese parents into the circular file (the trashcan) and mistakenly issue the Japanese parent the kids visas anyway” the Non-Japanese parent will have proof that you goofed and can sue you. How’s that? 🙂

    — “Make sure everything is fair”? You’re assuming good faith on the part of the GOJ.

    As opposed to the frequent strategy of political window dressing for the sake of deflecting international criticism.

  • To all the neigh-sayers out there – this is a step forward. We need as many as we can get. It will be a long process, but one step at a time! Even having the J government implement this (even with some holes) is a huge step. They basically are saying – “yeah our way was wrong, and we are trying to get with the program.” Remember nothing is perfect, but at least it is a start.

    We should be showing them our support!

    Eric Kalmus
    The Japan Children’s Rights Network

  • crustpunker says:

    At the US Embassy in Osaka I was required to physically have my newborn baby daughter AND my wife with me when we were getting her (baby) a social security number/ applying for a passport.

    In my opinion, [Japan] cannot control, redefine, adapt or otherwise deal with ANY kind of change to its archaic systems. Why is it so hard to implement a law that requires the physical presence of BOTH parents when renewing?…

    — Well, you know, “Daddies are busy with work and they can’t take time off to come to the embassy…”. I can think of lots of excuses, should the international bodies concerned with the Hague Convention ask any questions. Again, good faith?

  • shirly yoshizawa says:

    How about the abondoned children here in the philippines there is a posibility or chance to become a citizen in japan? i’ve been in japan embassy last month. i have many question about the situation of the abondoned child, but the answer of the consul we need the acknowlegment of the japanese parents…( but, how can i get this ackowlegment paper to the father of my son? and i tried to send a letter for how many times including our marriage contract, birth certificate of my son and also my birth certificate with japanese translation but sad to say i don’t have any answer from him.)so how can we give a good future to our children if we don’t have work here in the philippines. if we are looking for a job there is a discrimination or age limit so its hard for us being a single parents. Anyway, we can work here as a (YAYA)or(LABANDERA)we can earn 1,500 Php a month even 3,000
    Php. we rent a small room we pay the water bill, electricity bill it is not enough.

  • @ Shirly, I ve advised Filipinas in the exact same situation as you that the most effective thing to do is simply find out where your ex works and threaten to-or actually go-to his place of work.

    The potential loss of face in front of his boss and colleagues will convince most deadbeat J dads to sign.

    (The tax office threatens late payers with the same thing, sending a letter with a cute animated illustration of someone blushing with embarrassment on being confronted at their place of work, while the cartoon boss looks on angrily).


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