Update: Japan one step closer to signing Hague Convention treaty

By May 26, 2011Family Law

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Family Law on Thursday, May 26, 2011

In March, our blog wrote about the challenges facing American fathers fighting against the Japanese legal system for their child custody and visitation rights. Japan has a notorious reputation among family law experts for protecting its citizens even if they are acting in direct violation of another nation’s custody laws. For American parents whose Japanese ex-spouses or coparents illegally abducted their children to the Asian nation, there is often little hope for justice.

Earlier this month, however, the Japanese Cabinet endorsed a plan which would lead the nation to modify its international child custody policies. The Hague Convention-created in 1980-requires participating nations to respect custody decisions created in a child’s birth country. It also attempts to ensure that the rights of both a child’s parents are considered equal under international abduction laws.

Many advocates are ecstatic over the development, believing that this endorsement will set Japan on the fast track to officially approving the convention. However, other observers remain skeptical. The Associated Press interviewed one American professor living in Tokyo who claims that the move may be largely superficial. The Japanese parliament will still need to approve the Cabinet’s endorsement before the nation can join the international treaty.

Statistics from the US State Department emphasize the importance of this issue to many American families. As of January 2011, there were 100 active Japanese international abduction cases in the State Department’s databases. Over the past several decades, thousands of cases have come under the department’s radar. If Japan decides to join the Hague Convention, the likelihood of these cases coming to a resolution increases dramatically.

Source: Associated Press, “Japan approves plan to join child custody pact.” 19 May 2011