Lower house OKs Japan’s ratification of int’l child custody pact

April 23, 2013


Lower house OKs Japan’s ratification of int’l child custody pact

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously approved Japan’s ratification of an international treaty to help settle cross-border child custody disputes, paving the way for passage through the Diet in late May.

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction sets out the rules and procedures 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 if requested by the other parent.

The lower chamber is set to endorse a bill stipulating the domestic process for the children to return to their habitual residence soon, setting the stage for the legislation to clear the Diet in late May with approval by the House of Councillors

Japan’s Constitution stipulates that a treaty will be given Diet approval when the upper house does not vote on it within 30 days as the lower house has more power.

A central authority to be established in the Foreign Ministry will locate children upon request. It will ask for the cooperation of local governments and police when necessary.

Exemptions for returning a child will be given in cases of child abuse or domestic violence, according to the bill.

Japan is the only one among the Group of Eight nations yet to join the pact that has 89 signatories. The G-8 comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.

The United States, Japan’s key ally, has been urging Tokyo to join the treaty as soon as possible, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told U.S. President Barack Obama in February that Japan is close to participating in the treaty.

April 23, 2013(Mainichi Japan)

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