Japan votes to adopt child abduction treaty

Featured Japan World - May 22nd, 2013
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Japan’s parliament has voted to adopt an international treaty on child abductions, after decades of pressure from Western nations.

Japan is the only country out of the Group of Eight industrialized nations (G8) yet to ratify the 1980 Hague Convention, which requires nations to return children to the countries where they usually reside and sets out procedures for handling cross-border child custody disputes following the collapse of an international marriage.

The upper house voted unanimously for Japan to join the treaty, following a similar move by the more powerful lower house last month, bowing to pressure from the United States.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan aims for final ratification by the end of this fiscal year in March 2014.

Prior to Japan’s approval of the convention, foreign parents, mostly men from North America, Europe and elsewhere, have been left without any recourse after their estranged Japanese partners bring their children back to Japan, reports AFP.

Japanese policies do not recognize joint custody and courts almost always order that children of divorcees live with their mothers. That parent is under no obligation to give the other parent access to the child.