International Parental Child Abduction: Japan, Part III

19 Apr


Upon departure from Japan, immigration officers will examine passports and provide an exit stamp. A traveler may be denied departure if he/she overstayed or has an outstanding warrant issued by Japanese police or an Interpol notice.

There is no “exit hold” by which a non-traveling parent can request that Japanese Immigration prevent a child (and accompanying adult) from departing Japan. If the left-behind parent contacts Japanese police, however, it is possible that the police may contact Japanese immigration, which would then handle the matter on a case-by-case basis. Similarly, there is no “entry hold” by which a parent can request that Japanese Immigration prevent a child from entering Japan.

The consent of the non-traveling parent is not required for a child to depart Japan. However, if required by the destination country, airlines in Japan may require a letter of consent from the non-traveling parent, or proof that the traveling adult has legal custody or guardianship.


Family Court mediation is required in many custody disputes; however, the U.S. State Department observes that few outcomes are favorable to left-behind parents. Mediated agreements are difficult to enforce.


Japan is not a party to the Hague Abduction Convention.

The Government of Japan announced on May 20, 2011, that it will ratify the Hague Abduction Convention, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) officials told officers in the U.S. Embassy Tokyo that the Convention and the domestic implementing legislation will be concurrently presented in the 2012 Diet session. MOFA and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) drafted the domestic law changes. During MOFA’s public comment period on the draft implementing legislation, the U.S.and a multilateral group of Convention parties commented that implementing legislation should closely reflect the language provided in the Convention. Once passed, the State Department will determine if the legislation is consistent with the Convention.

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Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Uncategorized


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