Japan, one of the remaining holdouts, inches closer to signing international child abduction agreement

As discussed in a previous post, international child custody/child abduction cases involving parents from the United States and parents who hail from other countries are becoming increasingly common. To illustrate, statistics from the State Department indicate that there have been 230 international child abduction cases involving over 321 children opened over the course of the last 17 years.

Fortunately, the parent of an abducted child typically has viable legal options if the country to which their former partner has fled is a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention.

In essence, the Hague Convention is an international treaty designed to cut down on international child abductions, meaning children who are kidnapped and taken to fellow signatory countries are promptly returned.

Interestingly, Japan, one of our key allies, has not yet signed the Hague Convention despite expressing interest in doing so for several years.

This is significant because the issue of Japanese women returning to their native country with their children and without permission from a court is becoming more of a problem for U.S. fathers. Why? Japanese courts do not recognize foreign family court orders, rarely authorize visitation and almost never grant a foreign father custody rights.

Fortunately, it appears as if change may finally be on the horizon.

Just last week, the Cabinet of current Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan declared that they were officially behind the country signing the Hague Convention.

However, the move – which would radically alter the current method of handling international child custody disputes – has to ultimately be approved by the parliament.

In fact, it’s entirely possible the parliament could prove resistant to such a move.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about child custody or visitation, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

Japan joins international child custody pact (The Huffington Post)