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Family Law

New article on Japan and International Child Abduction

The current issue of Metropolis Tokyo has an update on Japan's practices that favor international child abduction. The article is based in significant part on my input.

Part of the article reads as follows:

"As we reported 12 months ago, no Japanese court has ever caused a child abducted to Japan by a Japanese parent to be returned to the child’s habitual residence outside Japan. Part of the problem is that Japan is not a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which works to ensure the prompt return of abducted children to their country of habitual residence.

There is no reason to hope for change any time soon: Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it is still studying the document, more than 25 years after its inception. Japan continues to be a haven for international child abduction, and I see no sign of any improvement,” says Jeremy D. Morley, a New York attorney who specializes in international child custody cases. The problem, he says, goes much deeper than simply the ratification of a document.

The Hague Convention requires that each signatory country have effective courts that can issue prompt, fair and non-discriminatory orders that are then promptly enforced,” Morley explains. “For this reason, Japan would likely be in default of the convention shortly after its effective date.”

In addition, Japanese custody laws differ substantially from those of other developed countries—another reason that consideration of the document is taking so long, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“In custody matters, the Japanese system merely rubberstamps the status quo,” Morley says. That means the parent that has physical possession of the children is guaranteed legal custody, and since parental child abduction is not a crime in Japan, the result is a system that indirectly encourages abduction. “It is ‘finders keepers, losers weepers’ in its rawest and most cruel form,” Morley says."



For the full article go to http://www.international-divorce.com/japan_children.htm

From International Family Law posted 2007-01-18.

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