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Japan ratified the Hague Convention on international child abduction about three years ago. At the time, legal experts celebrated the fact that Japan had agreed to honor the child custody orders of other countries in parental child abduction cases. Japan had long been considered one of the worst countries to deal with when it came to international parental child abduction because the country typically awarded custody to Japanese parent, and there was little that American parent could do.

The problem is, three years after Japan joined the Convention, some are saying that the country remains reticent to return children to their home countries. Sixty-eight requests have been made to return children under the Convention so far, but only 18 ended up with the children going back. Twelve were dismissed, 19 resulted in settlements not to return the children and 19 more are still pending. This means that Japan has only returned children in less than 30 percent of the requests.

According to a report issued by the U.S. government in 2016, Japan has not complied with the Hague Abduction Convention when it comes to return orders and enforcement. Some believe that there could be a flaw in the system Japan is using for enforcement purposes. Still, other commentators have said that Japan is doing the best they can, within the country’s laws, to enforce the Hague Convention.

If you have a child who was abducted by a foreign parent and taken to another country, you may face unique legal hurdles that prevent you from getting the child returned. In these situations, it’s best to have an experienced child custody lawyer on your side to help you fight for your parental rights.

Source:, “Three years after Japan signed Hague, parents who abduct still win,” Simon Scott, May 01, 2017