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Saturday, March 12th 2011

U.S. presses Japan over parental child abductions

U.S.-Japan relations may be hampered by Tokyo's failure to become a signatory member of the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.  Japan is the only member of the G-7 that has failed to sign on to the 1980 convention.  Japan's refusal leaves non-Japanese citizens without significant redress when their children are abducted by their Japanese former spouses.  Currently there are approximately 70 active U.S. cases of abduction involving Japenese citizens; thus, leaving American parents with little to no access to their children.

 Although signing on to the convention requires the political committment of the Japanese government, perhaps the biggest hurdle rests on tradition and social norms.  It is common for Japanese courts to avoid involvement in family law matters and often fail to enforce custody agreements even between Japanese nationals.  It is common for the father to lose all contact with his children after a divorce.

Nevertheless, the U.S. has turned up the pressure to join the rest of the G-7 countries and the other 70+ states that have signed on to the convention.

Washington Post article

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