July 9, 2012
About 50 foreign and Japanese parents held a rally in Tokyo’s Ginza area on Sunday, urging visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to call on Japan to ratify The Hague treaty on the issue of child abductions in child-custody disputes.
Although Clinton was not in the vicinity, the group held up signs asking her to press the Noda administration to ratify The Hague treaty and stop child abductions.
In March, the Japanese government submitted a bill to endorse the 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction but there have been no deliberations in the Diet yet, nor has any schedule been set.
The issue has been a long-time source of tension between Japan and many other countries.
Western nations have voiced concern for years over citizens’ struggles to see their half-Japanese children. When international marriages break up, Japanese courts virtually never grant custody to foreign parents, especially men.
Japanese critics of The Hague treaty often charge that women and children need protection from abusive foreign men. Japanese lawmakers are considering making exceptions to the return of children if there are fears of abuse.
If Tokyo ratifies the convention, it would only apply in the future and not to any ongoing cases in which foreign parents are seeking children in Japan.
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