Japan parliament to possibly approve child custody treaty in May

Japan’s parliament will approve the country’s participation in an international treaty on settling cross-border child custody disputes possibly in May, lawmakers said Tuesday.

The Liberal Democratic Party, headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, agreed to endorse a set of bills needed for Japan to join the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction during the ongoing ordinary Diet session.

The convention sets rules for the prompt return of children under 16, taken or retained by one parent following the failure of an international marriage, to the country of their habitual residence.


Japan approves plan to join child custody pact

An official says Japans Cabinet has approved a plan to join a global child custody pact.Yusuke Asakura says that Prime Minister Naoto Kans Cabinet endorsed the move Friday. It came after intense foreign pressure on Tokyo to revise policies some say allow Japanese mothers to too easily take their children away from foreign fathers.Japan is the only Group of Seven nation that hasnt signed the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.

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Strong Words from Campbell on Child Custody Cases concerning US and Japan

There are about 70 cases of American parents who are kept from seeing their children in Japan, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell met with several of them in a group earlier Tuesday. He called their situations “heart-breaking.”

In some cases, Japanese mothers living overseas have fled to Japan with their children and kept the fathers from having any contact with the kids, even if court rulings abroad ordered joint custody.

“This situation has to be resolved in order to ensure that U.S.-Japan relations continue on such a positive course,” Campbell told reporters in Tokyo. “The United States government strongly believes that these children have a right to enjoy the love of both parents and the benefits of both cultures.”

Campbell’s comments are the strongest to date on this issue, with Tokyo coming under increased international pressure to sign on to the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, which is designed to address such international custody disputes.