Japan Enacts Law Needed to Ratify International Child Custody Pact

Japan enacted Wednesday a law needed to ratify an international treaty to help settle cross-border child custody disputes, paving the way for implementation of the pact in Japan possibly early next year.

The House of Councillors at its plenary session unanimously approved the legislation, which stipulates domestic implementation procedures for the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The parliament endorsed the treaty late last month.

After completing all domestic procedures, Tokyo aims to join the convention with 89 signatories by the end of this year. The pact sets out rules and procedures for the prompt return to the country of habitual residence of children under 16 taken or retained by one parent, if requested by the other parent.


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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U.S. should up child custody pressure with Japan

Japan and India are among America’s key allies. Yet to scores of embittered parents across the U.S., they are outlaw states when it comes to the wrenching phenomenon of "international child abduction."

The frustrations of these "left-behind" parents run deep. They seethe over Japan’s and India’s noncompliance with U.S. court orders regarding children taken by the other parent to the far side of the world, and many also fault top U.S. leaders for reluctance to ratchet up the pressure for change.

"If they really made it an issue to solve these cases, I believe they could be resolved tomorrow. . . . They don’t have the will," said Christopher Savoie of Tennessee.

Savoie was arrested in Fukuoka last year and spent 18 days in custody after a failed attempt to reclaim two children taken from Tennessee by his ex-wife in violation of a U.S. court order.

More than 80 nations have signed an accord aimed at curtailing such incidents, but only a handful of Asian countries are among them. Of the continent’s nonsignatories, Japan and India pose the biggest problem for the U.S. — accounting for more than 300 cases, involving more than 400 children, opened by the State Department since 1994.

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