Saturday, May 22, 2010

Japan uptight on Child Abduction


A planet for kids, too

The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) is an international agreement to safeguard inter-country adoptions. Concluded on May 29, 1993 in The Hague, the Netherlands, the Convention establishes international standards of practices for inter-country adoptions.

Complaints are growing over cases in which a Japanese parent, often mothers, bring a child to Japan without the consent of the other foreign parent, or regardless of custody determination in other countries, and denies the other parent access to the child. Japan is the only country among the G-8 nations that is not a party to the Hague Convention.

Eighty-two countries are members of the Hague Convention, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and France. Of the Group of Eight countries, Japan and Russia are the only two that haven't signed. There are about 200 active cases involving Japanese, among them 35 cases involving France, 40 dealing with Canada, 83 with the United States and 38 with the United Kingdom, according to the embassies of those countries.

Following French Foreign and ex-"French doctor" minister Bernard Kouchner mid-March, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday urged Japan to sign the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and thus resolve a long-running problem. Clinton made the request in a meeting with Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada in Tokyo.

Okada told reporters he told his U.S. counterpart there were various domestic problems surrounding the treaty and that the Foreign and Justice ministries were taking the issue into consideration. "I said (to Clinton) that we are trying to resolve such problems so that we can join the Hague Convention as soon as possible," Okada said. Japan has been under international pressure to sign the Hague Convention, which aims to protect children from being wrongfully taken out of their country of "habitual residence" by a parent.

Some Japanese experts have expressed concern over signing the treaty, citing legal and cultural differences. Cases of domestic violence have been raised. A Japanese Justice Ministry official thinks signing on to the convention would necessitate numerous changes, including setting up a system for handing over children and determining how far the central authority would be allowed to go in searching for those allegedly abducted by a parent.

Sources: agencies, J Times, Hague Convention, Reporter's notes

✍✍✍ Anyone asked the children and parents sufferings and misery instead of asking these so called "Japanese technical experts"?

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