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Japan lower house OKs bill to allow joint custody after divorce

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But domestic violence victims worry that the new system could hinder them from severing ties with their abusers.. ETC blah blah

I'm getting the concerns (and one is that the sky could fall on my head) but but the positives (for the children) far outweigh the potential negatives. Japan: welcome to the Club of Enlightened Countries.

Gone are the days of children being basically kidnapped by one selfish parent (usually the mother) or for dads being told to basically bugger off.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

I expect it will be completely toothless, just like the Hague Convention, which Japan will continue to flagrantly ignore.

-3 ( +17 / -20 )

This will be interesting. The trend is good however.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Gone are the days of children being basically kidnapped by one selfish parent (usually the mother) or for dads being told to basically bugger off.

I doubt it.

The abduction method can still be used by a parent unwilling to agree to joint custody — unfortunately.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Gone are the days of children being basically kidnapped by one selfish parent (usually the mother) or for dads being told to basically bugger off.

Actually, more of the cases I've known personally have been the father totally shutting the mother out. I have a friend who had to stand across the street from her child's school to see him after the divorce...

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Ruddy hell and about time too. I am grateful that I now have my dar son living with me. I didn't see him for three years and he was told ghastly lies about myself and my family by my ex.

Thee are so many out there though who don't get a positive outcome, it must be horrendous for them.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

A choice of joint custody is a step in the right direction, but couples divorcing in Japan many years ago could willingly choose to co-parent. One parent would receive full custody and simply allow the other parent to remain involved in the child’s life. Some parents would choose that route. 

A problem remains, however, when a distressed divorcing parent desires to remove the other parent from the child’s life. That distressed parent is not going to choose joint custody and can resort to a false claim of domestic violence, which can easily be done in Japan, where no evidence is required to file a domestic violence claim and enter a government-run shelter for several weeks.

A distressed parent will often use the children as a tool to injure their spouse’s heart — which, in itself, is a form of child abuse, but perhaps not one recognized in Japan unfortunately.

Your spouse disappearing into a shelter with your children most certainly would not be desirable if you’re an innocent left-behind parent who loves the children deeply and has dedicated significant time and energy to their growth.

I have no problem with adults who feel a need for the safety of a shelter. But, all too often in Japan, a parent will enter a shelter with children and use the shelter to separate the kids from the other parent. Then, after years of separation from the other parent during required mediation or a family court case, judges will grant legal custody to the parent who has physical custody so as not to disrupt the life of the child. In Japan, those who have physical custody secure legal custody, and the shelters can be used to get that initial physical custody.

In 2011, Time magazine published an article titled “Japan is a Haven for International Child Abduction.” In the decade since, Japan has ratified the Hague treaty (2014) and will soon be offering a choice of joint custody (effective 2026).

However, in practice, joint custody in Japan will be an option only if both parents agree to it. If one parent will not agree, the other parent (generally the one not in physical custody of the children) will be ruthlessly left behind.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Under joint custody, consensus between parents is unnecessary to make decisions on day-to-day matters, including what to feed children and whether to vaccinate them.

Parents must reach consensus on important matters, such as education and long-term medical treatment, but if they cannot do so in time in an urgent situation, one of the parents can decide on their own.

As it was unclear what would constitute an urgent situation, lawmakers urged the government to give examples in its guidelines.

They are just asking for trouble here. To suggest that day to day matters and vaccinate, or what to feed a child is not an "important" matter is ludicrous. I am a carnivore, and if my spouse is a vegan, or becomes one, we are going to have "important" matters to discuss!

See how I neatly managed to come up with an off the wall example of what COULD happen

But the examples here of what determines "important" or otherwise, better be defined clearly.

It's a step in the right direction, but there are too many loopholes for either side.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The "elephant" in the room not mentioned at all, is what about making child support mandatory, not just in the joint custody cases, but ALL cases involving children.

Who is going to be responsible for clothing the child? Who pays the medical bills? There must be a defined hierarchy as to who pays what and how much too!

In the rush to appease the world, they are literally creating a major clusterfruck that is bound to fail before it even starts.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Asiaman7 - spot on. I was about to write what you wrote almost word for word!

This is a classic example of a government wanting to be seen doing something whilst not actually doing anything.

My wife ran off with the kids and went into a shelter claiming abuse, no evidence needed. I was then awarded custody based in part on her abuse of me in front of the kids ( the judge dismissed all her claims), and partly because of her lack or parenting. Sadly that was overturned in high court ( the ruling was that the kids are “ok” with her).

Now back in court to change custody as the kids hardly go to school and the cops went to their place 3 times last year….

4 ( +12 / -8 )

50 Years Too Late.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

"Proponents of the joint custody system say it allows both divorced parents to take part in child-rearing and that the new rules would bring Japan into line with other nations. Critics, however, have expressed concerns over the protection of victims of abuse or domestic violence."

Now, this is just a suggestion, but how about NOT allowing joint custody in the case that a parent has been charged with abuse? Seems like a fairly simple way of silencing the critics, unless of course that is not actually a concern at all and they just don't want things to change, as is the case in most other things.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I will never comprehend how a parent would without very good reason ask the other parent to disappear.

A child is not a toy, and made of the two. What I say seems so obvious but the fact parents divorce does not change what children are.

As for the everyday life, it is called negotiation. If something is not illegal, why would you remove the other parents right to do that way (vaccination, or whatsoever).

Every step in the street is a négociation and people don't want to do that to what they call their children...each parent to pay half as a standard for instance. No need for a judge for any mature adult.

Welcome to the 20th century Japan !

Kramer vs Kramer was 45 years ago.

I am currently divorcing, and my children's general interest is my first interest prevailing other any of my own wishes when mother decides on her side which since it is not kidnapping is always fine to me. She does the same. Please parents do the same, stop being selfish.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Just the first kick of a very small can down a very long road.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Good news to hear

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ummm, why shoul it take 2 years to implement this? Foreigners with kids with Japanese nationals have been begging for this right for decades. Talk about domestic violence? That's the go-to excuse that Japanese women use to keep their foreign exes out of their lives. I have been through it personally and I have organized a group with hundreds of other foreign men with the same stories. This is good, but come on, 2 years to make this law go into effect? Ok.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I often date Japanese women with kids and do not want to see the dad in the picture.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

travelbangaijinApr. 16 11:58 pm JST

I often date Japanese women with kids and do not want to see the dad in the picture.

And that makes it okay for dads to have less rights than moms and for kids to be denied a parent by default?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

This problematic bill that far-right parties who want to reduce social security hastily push it without even enough simulations will increase troubles after divorce.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The "elephant" in the room not mentioned at all, is what about making child support mandatory, not just in the joint custody cases, but ALL cases involving children.

I’m not sure we should be ordering monthly payments for nearly two decades to a parent who absconds with a toddler and consistently fails to show up for the one hour of monthly unenforceable visitation ordered by the court.

(I have actually reviewed the court judgments in the very real case presented above.)

Perhaps child support subject to significant and enforceable visitation might be a winning formula.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Asiaman7Today  05:57 am JST

I’m not sure we should be ordering monthly payments for nearly two decades to a parent who absconds with a toddler and consistently fails to show up for the one hour of monthly unenforceable visitation ordered by the court.

(I have actually reviewed the court judgments in the very real case presented above.)

Perhaps child support subject to significant and enforceable visitation might be a winning formula.

I completely understand the sentiment but if that's done, it's the child who suffers, not the ex. The rates for divorced mothers who end up in poverty is quite high, for many easily discernible reasons. While you may have no issue with your ex living in poverty, that's a less than ideal situation for the children, even if she doesn't have primary custody.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In cases where child abuse or domestic violence by one of the parents is suspected

Suspected! Not proven, not actually happening, a feeling. Just raise a doubt and bam this means nothing. Japan and their loopholes!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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