Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Japan's Strict Approach to Child Custody Cases

From Spear's WMS:

Two years ago, the increasingly desperate, exhausted Italian citizen told the European Parliament that Japan’s notoriously strict approach to child custody cases violated the obligations contained in its new ‘strategic partnership’ with the EU – which should be suspended if Japan couldn’t meet its obligations.

A petition channelled a familiar complaint: that Japan’s long-standing rejection of joint custody – with courts instead routinely awarding sole custody to the parent who happens to be in control of the child at the time of a case – breaches the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) by depriving the child of the chance to know and access both parents.

The US State Department has long alleged that Japanese courts’ willingness to protect parents who unilaterally deny custody rights to foreign spouses violates the Hague Convention on child abduction. The irony is that diplomatic agreements such as the Hague Convention and UNCRC were intended to facilitate constructive discussions between nation states. That they’re increasingly being cited in cross-border divorce cases (at least where Japan is involved) tells a story of entrenched conflict: one that shows little sign of abating.

Read more here.

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