Japanese Parliamentary Counsel Presents Legislative Amendments Necessary for Country to Join Hague Convention on Custody of Children from Failed International Marriages

Japanese Parliamentary Counsel Presents Legislative Amendments Necessary for Country to Join Hague Convention on Custody of Children from Failed International Marriages
Yomiuri Shimbun: 国際結婚破綻時の子供の扱い、日本でもルール
January 24, 2012

A set of legislative amendments that would be necessary for Japan to join the The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which sets international standards for the custody of children from failed international marriages, was released by the Parliamentary Deliberative Counsel (an advisory organization) on the 23rd.

The proposed legal plan establishes the process and guidelines for a non-Japanese person to request the return of a child his former spouse brought back to Japan with her. If the Japanese parent rejects a family court order for the child’s return, the court could empower an executive officer to seize the child and return her to the other country, according to the third item regarding refusal.

The Deliberative Counsel will report to the Justice Department in early February. The executive branch plans aims to bring the new set of bills to the floor of Parliament in mid-March.

If both parents of a child under age 16 from a failed international marriage are from countries that participate in the Hague Convention, then if one parent takes that child to a foreign country without the other parent’s permission, the other parent has the legal authority to force the child’s speedy return to his country of residence.

Japan is the only G8 country that does not participate in the convention. Last November, Prime Minister Noda told President Obama in person that he would propose the necessary laws to change this during the coming parliamentary session.

ハーグ条約The Hague Convention Process for Returning a Child from a Failed International Marriage
[This is what would happen if a Japanese parent took a child back to Japan. The left column shows the parent in the foreign country, and the right column shows the participating agencies in Japan.]
1. Parent from Foreign Country A requests assistance from Japanese Foreign Affairs Department’s central office
2. The Foreign Affairs Department confirms the child’s residency and tries to help reconcile the situation.
3. The parent files for a request for the child’s return with a Japanese family court. He can also do this directly, skipping steps 1 and 2.
4. The family court orders the Japanese parent to return the child.
5. The child is returned.

[Translator’s Note: The article doesn’t mention that the convention allows a family court to refuse to order the child’s return if doing so would endanger the child’s welfare.]

Original/原稿:
国際結婚破綻時の子供の扱い、日本でもルール

国際結婚が破綻した際の子供の扱いを定めた「ハーグ条約」に関して、法制審議会(法相の諮問機関)の部会は23日、同条約の加盟に必要な国内法の要綱案を発表した。

日本人の親が日本に連れ帰った子供について、外国人の親が返還を求めた場合の返還手続きやルールなどを定めている。家庭裁判所が返還命令を出し、日本人の親が拒否すれば、最終的に裁判所の執行官が子の引き渡しを強制執行できるとしている。〈拒否の条件列挙3面〉

法制審は2月上旬に要綱を法相に答申する。政府は3月中にも関連法案を通常国会に提出する方針だ。

ハーグ条約は、国際結婚の破綻後にどちらかの親が16歳未満の子供を一方的に国外に連れ去った時、加盟国同士であれば、子供を速やかに元の居住国に戻し、その国の裁判で親権などを決めることを定めている。

同条約に加盟していないのは、主要国(G8)では日本だけ。野田首相は昨年11月の日米首脳会談で、関連法案を次期通常国会に提出する方針をオバマ大統領に伝えていた。

(2012年1月24日00時04分 読売新聞)

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