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Japan, U.S. discuss ways to resolve custody disputes

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Japan has argued that signing the convention may not protect Japanese women and their children from abusive foreign husbands.

Of course 100% of the cases involve this assertion. Let's not forget that it's not only foreign men that the courts automatically rule against, they rule against foreign women also. So this thing about always ruling in favor of the mother is just crap, it should read always rule in favor of the Japanese spouse.

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Any court worth its salt would protect anyone against abusive spouses -husband or wife- regardless of nationality. Japan's government is insinuating that Japanese wives are protectionless against foreign husbands.

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Thank you for pointing out the fact that "courts rule against foreign women also"。 I'm a living example of it, unfortunately. 3 years and 7 months now.

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lostrune2, let's not forget that the "typical" japanese husband is so charming and protective of his wife..ahem..(sarcasm)

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come on Jpn its the 21st century we are all hoping to try to join the 20th century & start acting yr part in this world, 2nd largest economy & laws from the stone dont bloody mix! But dont do it for us foreign types do it for yr OWN PEOPLE & we will all benefit.

How about? Anybody listening, anybody home....................

that some teeth sucking I hear..............figures!

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Firstly, putting Christopher Savoie up as a post child for this issue might not be the best. As was widely reported at the time, the gentleman in question possibly had Japanese citizenship in addition to any US citizenship. As such, at least in Japan, he would have been treated as a Japanese national.

Looking at this issue in a broader sense, however, the US (and other countries) should take a more aggressive attitude with Japan. Indeed, due to the lack of cooperation from Tokyo in the past (just visit the FBI parental kidnapping homepage to see the tip of the iceberg), foreign countries need to coordinate their efforts to get Japan to change. For example, what about flagging the passports of all Japanese nationals who are married to US citizens in the US. Another option might be surveillance using ankle bands (as are used with prisoners on parole). Anyway, the basic idea would be to keep tabs on these people and intercede on behalf of the children in instances where attempts at flight from prosecution/court orders were attempted. Indeed, if any politician in the US had the gumption to try such a daring plan, half of the bureaucrats in Tokyo would suffer whiplash as their necks snapped back so quick.

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The headline is misleading. It should read, "Japan (once again) refuses US calls to abide by international norms"

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At the end of the day the reason this country will collapse is because it refuses to live in the 21st century. Its basicly a high tech china, you cant compare japan to the US or Europe because they are light years behind. Not just issues like this but also welfare issues and finance issues. This country is heading down the drain and no one has the guts to stop it.

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Wow next the US will be asking the Japanese to change their laws to follow the UN Convention on the rights of children! Japanese laws are so entrenched and their purpose is to discourage divorce.If they start giving Japanese children the right to see their foreign parents they will have to start giving them the right to see both of their Japanese parents too. That I believe is a step way too far for them right now and is at the root of the problem

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Japan has argued that signing the convention may not protect Japanese women and their children from abusive foreign husbands.

I don't know how many times I have seen this statement in JT. It's their choice to sign the treaty or not, and they don't have to swallow what the US says on this matter. But, they definitely need to start re-thinking the family values seriously.

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"It's their choice to sign the treaty or not, and they don't have to swallow what the US says on this matter."

Ummm, it's the UN's charter. Japan needs to join the world comunity and stop acting like a third worlder where children are kidnapped and taken into seclusion for year on end.

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Of course, they shouldn't do this just because America wants them to. They should do it because they want to. Just in the same way that they should not let in skilled workers or migrants just to make themselves look 'internationalized' and give themselves a pat on the back. Do things only when you mean it instead of being two-faced.

However, I just love it when a country gets a taste of their own bitter medicine. Apologies to the individual victims, but I have no sympathy for this country and selfish society as a whole.

As others have said, it's not always the mothers that get custody. Fathers get custody too, if they're the Japanese spouse of if they are influential (eg Koizumi). There are probably lots of other parents who have lost their children, but because they're Chinese or Filipino or Thai, etc, they don't get any airtime. How about these people? Are they worth less than westerners?

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The United States urged Japan on Friday to resolve a growing number of child custody disputes between citizens of the two countries,

I hope more countries in the World would follow step...

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My understanding is that custody disputes in Japan are problematic in domestic cases as well. It's not just an international issue. The court generally favors women when children are involved, and can deduct money from the man's salary without his consent, but does not seem to have the power to force the woman to comply when it comes to shared custody, visitation rights, and such things. Like many situations in Japan, there is a law to be complied with, or an agreement to be carried out, but nobody to enforce the law when someone doesn't comply.

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It is so unfortunate for the children who are most affected by situations like these. It is also a SAD thing for the women to lie about situations. They know that the laws of their homeland (Japan) will protect them regardless if their statements are true or not. The easy way is to cry "domestic violence," - the automatically they are granted custody. What Japan needs to do is make a thorough investigation on that matter, and not just take the word of the complainer. Hard proof evidence must be presented.

I am speaking from a experience. To this day, my child is the one that is affected... In the end, the excuses, the lies, and brain-washing - will backfire.

Japan shouldn't make excuses either. They seem to be Numba One for excuses.

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Japan dose not care about anyone but there own, so if you have a Japanese wife make sure she give up her citizenship for yours. It the only way to protect you for this type of crap.

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U.S. officials urged Japan to sign the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, which seeks to ensure that custody decisions are made by courts in the country where children are born, and rights of access of both parents are protected.

The real reason is that if Japan signs the Hague, then the entire world would learn first-hand how backwards, arbitrary, and draconian Japanese Law has become. It's depressing and it's pathetic that Japan has to be the last country to sign and internationally accepted convention whilst spouting bunk arguments like the "abusive foreign husband" one.

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I agree there should be some sort of settlement to this issue however, there is also the issue of child support. If the US is so dead set on resolving this issue they must make strict guidelines as to how and how much child support should be paid to the EX. This agreement must also include fair visitation rights and the cost of airfares should be taken into consideration when determining the amount of child support payable. Raising a child is not a right, it is a responsibility, both emotionally and financially. Sadly, too many of these Jap trouts just run off with the kids and say, "Truck you, gaijin!" then run back home to their right wing parents, who defend their selfish actions and cut the fathers out of the picture.

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. Raising a child is not a right, it is a responsibility, both emotionally and financially. Sadly, too many of these Jap trouts just run off with the kids and say, "Truck you, gaijin!" then run back home to their right wing parents, who defend their selfish actions and cut the fathers out of the picture.

So true.

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abusive husbands!?! Lies, lies and more damned lies!

@Disillusioned - you write pure truth friend.

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Japan has argued that signing the convention may not protect Japanese women and their children from abusive foreign husbands.

I know a case where it is the Japanese farther that disappeared with the two children leaving the foreign mother in the lurch.

Also let's not forget Japanese wives can be abusive too - very weak argument for not signing the Hague convention

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Come now people, I recently heard that the Japanese had begun making plans on creating a commission that would discuss the possibility of whether or not they should consider creating a focus group on the question of whether it would be deemed proper, at this time, to consider the possibility of creating a standing government aligned position paper that would necessitate the gradual formation of a diet-led group of underlings that would discuss this very subject. Headway is being made people. Relax!

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Japan discusses way to resolve custody disputes

by reintroducing sakoku and making international marriages illegal.

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This is a giant step if it is true. Unfortunately, the writer of this article uses the typical "Abuse" line that truly diminishes those women who are truly abused. What this reporter also fails to mention is that unlike Japan, the US takes spousal abuse seriously. There are laws to protect these women in the US. There is also a requirement of evidence and proof of such abuse. More often than not, the "Abuse" rhetoric is a ploy used by Japanese lawyers to encourage the abduction of our children and have rarely had any foundation of evidence. The Japanese government turns a blind eye to the abuse the japanese women face from the Japanese men, while making accusations without any facts regarding any abuse of foreign husbands. Many of these Japanese women have psychologically abused their foreign husbands and children prior to their kidnapping the children. Most of these cases of abduction by Japanese nationals are in direct violation of court orders already rendered. US Laws were broken on US soil. The bottom line is over 22% of ALL international parental abductions by a Non Hague country are committed by Japan. And just for the record, the numbers are far greater than 75. There were at least half that many American children kidanpped to Japan in 2009 alone. I am not looking to change the Japanese laws. It is already widely known that Japan supports, encourages, and financially rewards the abduction of our children. I expect the Japanese to honor US laws and court orders when living in the US. Japan expects nothing less from anyone that choses to live in Japan. Japan is seeking extradition of 2 fathers in the Czech Republic and Pakisatan for "International Child Abduction". Japan sentenced Qin Wiejie, a Chinese national, for 5 years in November 2009 for "International Parental Abduction and other Charges". It is time for Japan to start doing what it expects the world to do for them.

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My ex-wife lets me take our child anywhere, anytime that I like. Her father even drops him off to my house and picks him up on occasion and is far from the right wing crazy that Disillusioned thinks he is.

We never needed a lawyer or mediator to work this out. We just needed a mutual understanding.

The understanding is that I stay in Japan and work. I pay child support. I be a reliable parent to my son. I engage in dialogue regarding our child's welfare, education etc you know...be a parent.

The manner in which people conduct themselves both during and towards the end of their marriages and of course during divorce will decide the outcome of visitation rights.

If you beat, cheat, lie, betray, abuse, use and then get divorced from a Japanese spouse you get the reward of your action.

I did none of these things. we saw the writing on the wall for us and mutually decided to call it a day before some nastiness could creep in and wreck havoc.

I signed the divorce papers in a restaurant after buying her lunch and then I took my son to the zoo as it was a nice day.

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for those fathers having trouble, see here http://www.frij.net/m/index.asp

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bobbafett,

Not all men/women end up in the same boat as you. Most of them even do better than you did but weren't so lucky because the other party was selfish and bent on vengeance.

apples and oranges

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bobbafett- Firstly,I am very happy to hear that you and your ex-wife reached a mutually acceptable and mature agreement concerning custody of your son.You have the best case scenario.Many others...some that I know personally,didn't even get the chance.No cheating,lying whatever was involved.Their other half just basically decided the marriage was over and left....with the kids.It's not just fathers either.There are plenty of foreigners in abusive and violent relationships with their japanese spouses who dare not leave because they are afraid of losing the kids.Read up on some of the stories,they are heartbreaking.Thinking that treating your partner with maturity and respect will resolve all custody battles,I am sorry to say is a little naive.Divorce is ugly and it can bring out the worst in some people.Unfortunately some folk should not be allowed to have children.They obviously aren't capable or emotionally mature enough to put the most precious things they'll ever own in their life,their children first.Children's needs always should be put first.Obviously you and your ex are mature and understand the gravity of your responsibility towards your child.

I really am sickened by Japan.If the government here want to keep their own little draconian empire so be it but if you want to be held aloft as a member of the international community you got to play by the same rules as every other country in that community.It's like competing in a worldwide soccer game and when it comes to your match,you can't turn round and say 'Oh...well here in Japan the rules are different and that isn't considered a goal by our standards'.Ship up or ship out!

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Norinrad21,

Most of them even do better than you did

How would you know? What a bitter statement.

why do you paint Japanese spouse as the monsters here? I can assure you that most divorces in discussion happen after the foreign man cheats on the Japanese wife.

There are men who trade their kids willingly for a night with a younger woman. Men who do that lose their kids and start crying about how hard done by they are. These same men cannot pay child support because they spent the money chasing tail and drinking beer and then cry that their ex wife shut them out.

In almost all of the divorce stories I have heard in Japan and I have heard a lot of them due to the nature of my work, The foreign guy got busted cheating.

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some that I know personally,didn't even get the chance.No cheating,lying whatever was involved.Their other half just basically decided the marriage was over and left....with the kids

Mediocremummy, and you believe that readily? I think its natural in a divorce situation for one party to solely blame the other and make themselves look like a victim to win sympathy and support.

I hear it all the time in my work but I just stare the guy in the face and tell him to tell me the truth.

It usually starts with "well one time I was drunk and had a one night stand and my wife found out but she was being a real b$tch at the time....."

By the end of the conversation there is usually a wife, steady girl friend and a couple of other random encounters.

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I'm not a parent nor bitter, but you come off in your previous statement as if its some of these fathers/moms fault that things went south which is not always the case.

Not everyone gets lucky as you did with a partner who's willing to share the responsibility of raising a child.

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Apologies, you obviously have more info than i do due to the nature of your work. My statement may have been a bit misguided.

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as if its some of these fathers/moms fault that things went south which is not always the case.

But it is in some cases and in a majority of those cases its usually a cheating, lying, male at the heart of it.

The manner in which people conduct themselves both during and towards the end of their marriages and of course during divorce will decide the outcome of visitation rights.

This is a statement directed at both parties, not the disadvantaged parent alone.

I just don't want this thread to turn into a witch hunt on Japanese mothers when in a lot of these cases the male spouse has been shut out and he has done most of the work in getting that done himself.

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I think that what makes me sad is that Japan wont even protect its OWN custody agreements where foreign parents are concerned. The author also needs to add a disclaimer- Japan will always award custody to the mother unless that mother is a foreigner. I am one of the "lucky" ones, my divorce was finalised in Japan (although I was back in the UK by the time it happened) and I have full custody, but only because I managed to negotiate a mutual divorce where my ex just ticked the box that gave me custody. (I did have to give up any chance of financial support though, which is tough at times.) Only problem is that my ex-H now chooses to ignore our existence (in the Japanese way) and that makes me sad. The other problem is that if I took my son to Japan for a holiday and his J-grandparents or his Dad decided that actually, they wanted him to stay in Japan, the government wouldnt honour my custody agreement, they would keep him in Japan. I would love to take him to Japan this summer but sadly until they sign the Hague Convention, it is just too big a risk.

That said, I am glad that the discussion is being opened properly as it seems to me that this kind of thing has only ever seemed to be a problem for the people it directly affects, at least now it is getting out into the press more. France have also opened discussions so I am hoping that the more countries who put pressure on Japan to join other developed nations by signing the treaty, the more hope that they will end up doing so.

As an aside, my marriage fell apart because of a lying cheating emotionally abusive Japanese husband but he still says it is my fault...suffice to say, divorce is never going to be easy, no matter how hard you try to be amicable about the whole thing.

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How would you know? What a bitter statement.

why do you paint Japanese spouse as the monsters here? I can assure you that most divorces in discussion happen after the foreign man cheats on the Japanese wife.

There are men who trade their kids willingly for a night with a younger woman. Men who do that lose their kids and start crying about how hard done by they are. These same men cannot pay child support because they spent the money chasing tail and drinking beer and then cry that their ex wife shut them out.

In almost all of the divorce stories I have heard in Japan and I have heard a lot of them due to the nature of my work, The foreign guy got busted cheating.

Bobbafett, it's great that you have an arrangement that seems to be working for you when quite a few of us will never see our kids again. But don't come here and say that because of your experiences that 100% of all divorces are caused by the men and that revenge by the wife in the form of denial to see one's kids is justified by the husband's actions/inactions. Why do you believe that it's the right of one spouse to deny access to the children? For your information a lot of the problem is caused by a Japanese spouse that doesn't care much for their children's feelings and just shuts the foreign spouse out of the kids lives.

I've known of Japanese women who are physically abusive, openly cheat on their husbands and then dare them to do something, knowing the guy doesn't want to lose his kids. I've seen younger guys marry a younger Japanese girl and the girl's parents work on the girl to leave the husband and raise the child in their house with their help. Or the woman originally wanted to live in the foreign country and got homesick and decided that she had the right to take off with the kids. Read some of the stories on the internet. Maybe some of the posters here have found themselves in that situation and then you tell them that they are simply bitter? I'm astounded by that.

I don't know why you got divorced and I really don't care. It could have easily gone a lot differently for you if your wife thought that your presence in her kids lives would be an inconvenience.

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MeanRingo: I'm with you, I think I hate indecisive people, maybe even as much as I abhor opinionated folks.

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bobbafett-With all due respect but you are starting to sound like the Japanese government who states that they are only protecting japanese mothers from abusive foreign partners.Out of all failed marriages what percentage have you personally dealt with in your line of work?Yes,I've meet a few people with phallic shaped craniums out here...just like any other place in the world.And whilst a person might be a bad partner does that also mean that they are also a bad parent? An abusive partner who has any kind of negative impact/effect on a child's well being should be removed from a child's life until hopefully they basically grow up and step up to the plate.Marriages go wrong all over the world,just because you suck at marriage doesn't mean you suck at being a father or a mother.Children have rights too.It isn't up to one parent to decide to totally alienate the other parent.That is just as abusive...if not even more heinous......than the initial abuse claimed by the custodial parent. As for believing people so readily,I always take things with a pinch of salt until knowing otherwise.The cases that I do know of dealt with friends who I knew/know well and was there as situations unfolded. My British friend married to a Japanese with a beautiful baby girl.He used to come home late at night drunk and threaten her and the baby with a knife.Despite the police being involved,the auntie on the japanese side was going to go for custody when my friend asked for a divorce.She fled back to Britain and the rest is another story for another time.Or my Fillipino friend with 4 kids and an extremely violent japanese hubby who likes to beat her up in front of the said kids.I know of so many cases personally involving friends...most women......and it is just unfathomable what goes on here.I have another friend.As far as we all knew,his marriage was sound.He called me one night hysterical.He'd returned home from work.The house was cleaned out.Kids gone with a 'Don't try to find me' note.That was 4 years ago.What about the famous or infamous case of the twins that were snatched back here by their japanese grandparents from abroad???The authorities here still wouldn't help to return them to their Dad! (The mother,a japanese national had sadly died from cancer)Japan doesn't look after it's own and it most certainly doesn't look after the foreign parents' rights. I also think it is just the tip of the iceberg as probably cases involving Chinese,Fillipino or Koreans don't see the light of day.Because of the cases you've dealt with in your job,saying that all foreign fathers kind of deserve it is rather brutal of you,don't you think? My heart goes out to all the left behind japanese parents too.I cannot imagine the suffering endured on a daily basis when the light of so many people's lives is just snatched from them.

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so if you have a Japanese wife make sure she give up her citizenship for yours. It the only way to protect you for this type of crap.

This is about the only hope you have to protect yourself. These are second rate government officials, talking about something that is of little importance in both Japanese and American politics. There won't likely be any change in the future.

The only way to protect yourself is on an individual basis, without any help from the J-government.

As the world begins to figure out that Japan Inc. was really a one hit wonder that is quickly losing it's luster, this will be just another nail in the coffin of Japans international reputation.

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bobbafett, i never lied, cheated, abused nor disrespected my ex-husband in my entire time married to him..yet out of the blue..he took my 1 year old baby boy and abducted him while I was at work. That happened 3 years and 7 months ago. I'm still dealing with what I can, I stopped the draconian family court mediation as it didn't render any fruits but monumental waste of money and resources. i tried once to get custody back by filing a request for change of custodian and it was denied stating that my son seemed happy and well living with that man and that I was re-married and with a newborn baby, that they didn't find any reason to grant my request, so yeah they turned me down flat. They just came up with unbelievable excuses to deny me my own son as if they own him. The j-gov't does NOT own my son. They stole him from me. These old archaic corrupted bureaucrats think they will always get away with this inhumane crime against me and against many other mothers and fathers left behind out there. My son will grow up and I'll be here. It's matter of time. Does it hurts? You bet. I carried him inside me for whole 9 months. I still remember his heartbeat and his kicks. I used to call him my little shrimp floating inside me. You see, they think they won, this is just the beginning and the last thing I was told about my ex is that he was trembling in fear to see his family name being dragged across japanese newspapers and the media. Too bad that his name comes up even in wikipedia, geewhiz. Still, I'm alive and that's what really matters now, I'm alive for my children and my now husband who supports me through this ordeal, without him I'd have never made it this far. I miss my little boy and no day goes by without me thinking to commit suicide...yet I still have 2 more children. It's a very tough decision, believe me.

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But don't come here and say that because of your experiences that 100% of all divorces are caused by the men and that revenge by the wife in the form of denial to see one's kids is justified by the husband's actions/inactions.

how do you get 100% out of a lot of cases that I have heard? Also, I do not support the denial of access to kids by Japanese women but if you marry one, you know what the situation may be in the future, and you take the risks when you decide to have kids with her.

As for western women marrying Japanese men, If you know what a lot of Japanese men get up too, and you know the law in Japan and the rampant ethnocentrism, again you are placing yourself at risk.

I am not blaming the victim but bringing attention to the lack of insight and thought process that people have when they marry and then the manner in which they divorce.

What I really wonder about is why do people destroy themselves and then divorce? If you see the signs of a failing relationship, that is the time to engage in dialogue more than ever.

Rather than have it go into critical meltdown, sit down and discuss why the marriage is failing without making accusations, and discuss a way forward. Obviously this will go on for months but if you can keep the heat down and place the priority of the talks on the childrens welfare, the divorce aftermath may not be as destructive as in cases where marriages have crashed and burned.

I have another friend.As far as we all knew,his marriage was sound.He called me one night hysterical.He'd returned home from work.The house was cleaned out.Kids gone with a 'Don't try to find me' note

No offense to your friend but he obviously did not pay much attention to the emotional state of his wife not to notice that something was up. Maybe thats why she left.

Or my Fillipino friend with 4 kids and an extremely violent japanese hubby who likes to beat her up in front of the said kids

This situation is common when 3rd world women marry 1st world men. The men marry a subservient woman and treat them as a slave in many cases. Many of the women marry to escape the 3rd world. In a lot of cases the marriage is doomed because the logic behind the marriage is flawed.

I think that a lot of men marry Japanese women who give them a little kawaii smile, and a lot of ready sex, without trying to see behind her social facade to what qualities she actually has.

A lot of these guys don't score well at home or seek trophy wives. Well as soon as the honeymoon period is over, thats when these guys finally meet their real wives.

If you marry a Japanese woman, and you understand Japanese law, you had better make sure that you have done a lot of research about her, her family, and the court system.

You had better be able to see past the social facade.

In my case, my ex wife and her family wear their hearts on there sleeves. Very lovely, normal, people.

My wife and I divorced because we could see the future turning bad for us as our love for each other was rapidly drying up but we still had the roots of our friendship as we had hardly ever fought and no one was cheated or abused. We chose to split while we could salvage something for the sake of our child.

If people would talk during these times instead of being quiet, they can get the same result as I managed.

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Japan has argued that signing the convention may not protect Japanese women and their children from abusive foreign husbands.

Weak, so it is okay to steal children but we don't want to have to invent a legal system to project mothers or give more work to policemen

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Japan’s law allows only one divorced parent to be a custodian—almost always the mother—leaving many fathers without access to their children until they are grown.

That is so unfair and detrimental to the children's upbringing. Intl marriages are pretty hairy, one marrying a Japanese should learn what they're getting into before things turn sour. This is definitely not a place for raising kids.

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I think everyone here has had enough of bobbafett posts on this subject.....

bobbafett you are making a lot of assumptions on other peoples relationships, I think it is fair to say that your japanese in law family is the exception, especially with the wear their heart on their sleeves. Not every person will respond the same way in your situation. You could be the sweetest most loving husband but that doesn't mean every japanese women and or family will respond the sameway, would you say with absolute confidence that your way of doing things would be able to win over every single japanese in laws who don't want a foreigner to be married to their daughter?

How many japanese grandparents actually drop off their grand kids to their ex's family, and those ex's can be fellow Japanese. How many Japanese fathers that do actually pay child support and want to see their kids actually see their kids?

I think that based upon all the father rights movement that have sprung up in Japan by Japanese men, along with Japanese law and Japanese culture I think it is fair to say that there is a good possibility that your case was an exception and not the rule.

I find it interesting for example that with your nature of work that you have yet to site a case other then yourself where the wife or the husband did the exact same things you did, minus maybe the mediator or lawyer, and got a similar outcome when it came to child custody and visitation.

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The United States, EU, and all other countries with citizens who have been caught in this tragedy needs to call Japan out for Human Rights Violations. The evidence is all around you, read these post, especially the one where one writer claims 70,000 Japanese men are seeking access to their child and another suggesting Asian Parents from Korea, China, etc., have been locked out of their childrens life as well. Not only should they seek Human Rights violations they should be seeking compensation for the left behind parents whose life has been torn apart because of their courts rulings, and failure to take the necessary action to protect the child's right and the non custodial parents right to maintain contact with each other.

Getting Japan to sign the Hague Convention alone isn't enough. It may satisfy some politicians and western governments, but the reality is clear. Those familiar with the language of the treaty, know very little will change because Japanese courts will decide what's in the best interest of the child when the child is on Japanese soil. Believe me, that decision will be based on their customary practices and not necessarily what's best for the child.

The United States shouldn't be afraid to say Japan has violated a fundamental human right by obstructing the rights of parents to maintain contact with their child, and failing to take action to protect those rights. President Obama cannot come to Asia spouting about fundamental rights and universal norms then turn around and pay lip service to those rights when its comes standing for them.

In addition to the Hague, get them to state clearly in their domestic laws that the non-custodial parent has the right to maintain contact with his child, and two, the right will be enforced as follows:

Enforcement Mechanism

(1) Should a non-custodial parent be unlawfully denied contact with his/her child by the custodian or guardian of the child the non-custodial parent may request the Family Court to put him/her back in contact with the child.

(2) When a non-custodial parent has been unlawfully denied contact to his/her child the Family Court shall, without delay, take the necessary actions to immediately put the bereaved parent back in contact with his/her child.

(3) The Family Court shall restore the bereaved parents contact with the child within seven (7) days. The term contact means physical contact.

(4) Should the Family Court not be able to restore the bereaved parents contact with the child within fourteen (14) days a warrant will be issued for the child and the person holding the child, the custodian or guardian of the child, and anyone involved in obstructing contact with the child.

(5) Upon issuance of a warrant the custodial parent or guardian of the child will have his/her rights of custody to the child automatically transferred to the bereaved parent.

As one poster stated anyone who believes Japan is going to give rights to foreignors that they don't give to their own people is sadly mistaken. The rights issue and enforcement mechanism has to be on the table at the same time, without it parents will still be limbo.

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**Enforcement Mechanism

(1) Should a non-custodial parent be unlawfully denied contact with his/her child by the custodian or guardian of the child the non-custodial parent may request the Family Court to put him/her back in contact with the child.

(2) When a non-custodial parent has been unlawfully denied contact to his/her child the Family Court shall, without delay, take the necessary actions to immediately put the bereaved parent back in contact with his/her child.

(3) The Family Court shall restore the bereaved parents contact with the child within seven (7) days. The term contact means physical contact.

(4) Should the Family Court not be able to restore the bereaved parents contact with the child within fourteen (14) days a warrant will be issued for the child and the person holding the child, the custodian or guardian of the child, and anyone involved in obstructing contact with the child.

(5) Upon issuance of a warrant the custodial parent or guardian of the child will have his/her rights of custody to the child automatically transferred to the bereaved parent. **

Sorry to ask but is this true? I mean, is this enforcement mechanism part of the Hague convention?

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The Hague has no enforcement mechanism, its left up to member states to decide how to enforce the treaty. This is my proposal on how to enforce the treaty and gurantee parental rights.

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I appreciate what bobbafett has to say. I'm glad there is at least one success story out there. Good for him and more importantly, good for his kids. What I would like to see along with Japan signing the Hague Convention treaty is for Japan to update its family law. Allow joint custody; make provisions to enforce divorce agreements in particular visitation rights and not 2 hours per month--significant visitation so children can be with both parents. I had to rug pulled out from me as well. I was very supportive, helped with childcare, cleaning, etc. and was emotionally and verbally abused (foreign male). Everywhere I turned, I found no help. I had to stick around and suffer or leave and lose my son. I eventually chose the latter after death threats. When I went to a lawyer, he laughed, not at me, but because he knew there was nothing I could do. Muri. The story goes on, but I just wish Japan would change its domestic family law for the children's sake.

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Japan needs to bring itself into at least the 20th century regarding this issue. I, too, have had to endure having my child being taken away and told by three lawyers that I basically have NO rights, regardless of the fact that my ex-wife was the reason for our divorce(and her mother even supported ME in this case), regardless that she had promised to adhere to a list of things I wanted for my son which I believed to be in his best interest(before I'd agree to a divorce), but immediately tossed as soon as the divorce was complete, and much more. In the states I would have custody, full custody, in a heartbeat. And, on top of having my child stolen, I'm also compelled to pay her 50,000 yen per month, which I don't mind as long as I know that it's ALL going to my son, which I'm almost positive less than half is, otherwise she will yank what meager visitation I have. Basically it's blackmail for visitation, which, incidentally I was promised would beat least 3 or 4 times a week, but upon the papers coming through, she tried to change to twice a month. I responded that there was no way in hell I'd settle for that. And, I absolutely would have taken my son, regardless of whether or not I was arrested. I would have made as huge an incident out of this as possible. She finally agreed to once a week. Still a far cry fro the 3-4 per week initially agreed to.

So, in conclusion, these antiquated custody laws need to change. I mean, given the number of women I see driving with their children between them and the steering wheel, or behind their backs, or allowing them to stand up in the seats and windows, or leave them in the car to go play pachinko, or shop, or whatever, I hardly think the blanket "rule" that the wife automatically gets custody needs to change. TODAY!

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I think the one of the main issues is maturity with many Japanese folks. They don't seem to be able to "share". My folks are divorced and as a child I never questioned how hard it must have been on both of them to remain civil to each other "for the sake of the kids". I have give my greatest respect to them for allowing me to see them. Sadly, this isn't the way it is done in Japan. Kids are seen as toys or possessions that are not to be shared with the ex - usually. Japan needs to grow up and start behaving like adults. I mean, they have kids and all, shouldn't they be?

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tmarie, your statement reminds me of another odd aspect to the culture I'd be curious to know if anyone here has experienced. Upon meeting a new lady of whom I've become involved, she doesn't seem to understand why I'm so attached to my son even though I've divorced, and she has remarried. She thought my son now had a new father and wondered why I was still concerned about him. I've had to repeatedly remind her that I am his father, and will always be his father, regardless of the fact that his mother now sleeps with another guy(though she's divorcing again) She seems to think that I should just forget about it/him now that my ex is remarried. It isn't like she militant about it, but rather that she just thought this was normal in such relationships in Japan. Has anyone here heard or expereinced this before?

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@tmarie The concept of unconditional love seems yet to have fully reached these shores. It is here but only as a trickle.They seem to think that because it is best for the mother to have a "clean break" then the interests of the child or the father go out the window. Many Japanese are genuinely shocked when I tell them that I see my daughter sometimes and tell me it is very rare in Japan. There seems to be barely any expectation of it although it is changing very slowly I think

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Do they have marriage vows in Japan? I have seen some couples doing them in the Christian part of their "white wedding".If people followed those vows there would be no custody disputes, even if they do not manage the "till death do us part" bit which is fairly unrealistic.

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