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Hatoyama warm to ratifying child custody convention

Last updated on February 28, 2010

[Via Breitbart] “Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama suggested on Thursday that he is positively considering Japan’s accession to an international convention to deal with problems that arise when failed international marriages result in children wrongfully being taken to Japan by one parent.

“Now that the world is beginning to regard Japan as a peculiar country, it is important to draw a conclusion as soon as possible regarding the Hague Convention to show that that is not the case, and I so instructed (ministers),” Hatoyama told reporters.

Complaints are growing over cases in which a Japanese parent, often a mother, brings a child to Japan without the consent of the foreign parent, or regardless of custody determination in other countries, and denies the other parent access to the child.

The convention provides a procedure for the prompt return of such “abducted” children to their habitual country of residence and protects parental access rights.” Click here for more.

In addition, The Economist writes: “In effect, the country (Japan) allows a Japanese parent to breach custodial arrangements for a child being brought up abroad and abduct her back to Japan. There the courts invariably rule against the foreign parent’s claims. The instances of Japanese marrying a foreigner have been climbing fast, and in Japan now represent 5.6% of all marriages. International divorces represent a relatively higher proportion, meaning more children who are vulnerable.

Some 200 cases have been recorded of children of overseas nationalities abducted to Japan. The figure may be much higher if cases of marriages involving other Asians rather than Westerners are included. Britain has tracked 38 cases since 2003, usually involving a Japanese mother bringing her child to Japan. No case, says the British embassy in Tokyo, has been resolved to the satisfaction of the British parent. Click here for more.

[Via Japan Today’s repost of Japan Inc.’s Terrie Lloyd’s article]

Currently, Japan is known as a haven for disaffected Japanese spouses who, in getting divorced, abscond with their kids back to Japan. Once in Japan, they can dare their foreign spouses to try getting the kids back—something that despite around 13,000 international divorces a year in Japan and more overseas, has NEVER happened.

The reason for this astounding statistic, that of zero repatriations of abducted children from international marriages after the kids have been abducted to Japan, is entirely to do with the attitudes of the Japanese judiciary and their wish to maintain 19th century customs in the face of international pressure. Japan has ratified many parts of the Hague Convention treaties over the years, but in terms of repatriation of kids, they have been claiming for 20 years now to be “studying” the issue. That’s Japan-speak for “we’re not interested in making any changes.” Click here for more.

Previous BT articles on parental kidnapping and Japan.

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