Japan Signs Important Child Custody Dispute Convention

Japan signs important child custody dispute convention

Imagine that your child’s other parent has illegally taken your child overseas. Because the nation that your co-parent has fled to does not observe The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, there is little chance that your child will be returned to you. There are few scenarios more devastating for any parent than this one.

Thankfully, one nation has responded to international pressures urging it to sign this convention. Because Japan has finally signed the Hague convention, international child custody disputes involving parents who illegally flee to Japan with their children now have a better chance of being resolved justly.

For years, Japan’s reluctance to sign the Hague convention resulted in abduction of children by one of their parents, who then sought refuge in Japan. Now that Japan has signed the treaty, these kinds of cases will be more readily resolved according to the convention’s guidelines.

Starting April first of this year, Japan’s Foreign Ministry will be required to search for children involved in cross-border custody disputes who have been illegally taken to Japan by one of their parents. After an abducted child is located, the Japanese government is now obligated to take various steps to resolve the case. These steps may include arbitration or relocating the child back to his or her country of origin.

This development is a welcome step in ensuring that justice is done in regards to international child custody disputes. Hopefully many parents will benefit from this significant shift in approach to these cases by the Japanese government.

Source: The Asahi Shimbun, “Japan finally signs Hague convention governing international child custody disputes,” Jan. 25, 2014


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