Every Child

Has Two Parents


Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction



The objective of this treaty is not to decide child access issues.  The main purpose is to quickly return a child who has been “wrongfully removed or retained” in violation of the custody law of the country of the child's habitual residence.  If  the child is removed from country by a parent without the other parent's permission, the child must be returned, and the custody resolved in the original country.  It presumes that custody and access disputes should be resolved in the child's country of habitual residence, not in the country that a parental abductor brings it to.  The governments of each country are required to help locate and return the child, if necessary, by force.  If an abducting parent is able to avoid detection for an extended period of time, this does not automatically cause the child's habitual residence to change away from the country of the original habitual residence.  There are exceptions allowed, including a grave risk of physical harm to the child, and others.  But proof clearly rests with the parent opposing the return.

Japan has not signed this treaty, presumably because it would require the overhaul of many existing Family Court related laws, regulations and practices. In particular, Japanese courts currently are unable to enforce even their own custody decisions.  Therefore, signing this treaty would require courts and law enforcement to be able to force removal of a child from any parent in Japan.  This is currently not possible.

For media articles and more information on the problem of parental abduction in Japan, including likely reasons why Japan has not signed this treaty yet, see our page on Parental Abduction in Japan and the issues page on why Japan has not ratified the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

  1. Adopted: 25 October 1980

  2. Entry into force:  25 October 1980

Japan Status

  1. Not signed.

CRN Japan Position and Practical Applications to Children's Rights Cases in Japan

Getting Japan to sign this is one of the major goals of CRN Japan.  It would provide a visible legal basis for dealing with international abductions to Japan.  It would also force positive changes in Japan's Family Law.  These changes would be generally beneficial to children and both parents, even when an international abduction was not involved.

Source of Treaty

  1. English (source)

  2. Japanese

Accepts Individual Complaints?

  1. Unknown

Additional Information

  1. The Hague - The Child Abduction Homepage

  2. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction: An Overview 

The information on this website concerns a matter of public interest, and is provided for educational and informational purposes only in order to raise public awareness of issues concerning left-behind parents. Unless otherwise indicated, the writers and translators of this website are not lawyers nor professional translators, so be sure to confirm anything important with your own lawyer.

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