Japan a victim too, when Japanese children abducted out of Japan

September 18, 2009

Below is a translation from the Sept. 3 Mainichi Newspaper about Japanese children being kidnapped from Japan and the lack of recourse parents have because of Japan not being a signatory to the Hague Convention:

Marital Breakup and Child Abduction in Japan

7 million yen (US$76,000) to return child

Japan has not ratified the Hague Convention

No Conflict Resolution

9 cases since 2001

A specialist says this is only a small part of the problem. There are many child abductions to one parent’s home country after an international marriage falls apart and a child custody battle ensues. Because Japan has not ratified the Hague Convention, the left behind parent gets little assistance from that parent’s home country and is forced to spend large amount of money on lawyers fees to seek the return of their child. However, this is only a small part of the problem as many cases go unreported.

Mikiko Otani, of The Japanese Bar Association of Attorneys at Law of the Committee on Family Law. Legislation Japan Federation of Bar Associations, has investigated child abduction cases from the past. Since 2001, there have been 9 cases involving 12 children that were born in Japan and abducted overseas by the other parent.

To U.S.: 5 children
To Philippines: 3 children
To U.K.: 2 children
To Pakistan: 1 child
To Brazil: 1 child

An English father abducted his 2 children to England without his (Japanese) wife’s permission. If he had divorced in Japan, his wife would get custody of the children and he would never see his children again.

In another case, a Filipino mother abducted her children during the mediation proceedings. A Pakistani father returned to Pakistan with his child. He said he wanted his child to be raised in an Islamic culture, and he has not returned to Japan since.

Japan has not ratified the Hague Convention.

The left behind parent has only one choice, which is to hire a lawyer overseas. One Japanese parent spent 7 million yen to return child back to Japan.

American, British, Canadian and French consuls report 168 active child abduction cases to Japan. They have publicly requested the Japanese government to ratify the Hague Convention.

Before, Japan is accused as being the victimizer. Now, Japan is also a

Mikiko Otani said, as a result of divorce, some of the children end up developing mental problems. Japan does not have enough lawyers knowledgeable about such cases. Many of the cases are left unsolved. And the 9 cases is only a small part of the problem.

Mainichi Newspaper
September 3, 2009

Translated by Masako Akeo Suzuki

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