The Yomiuri Shimbun
The government has started making arrangements for Prime Minister Naoto Kan to announce Japan's intention to join the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction at the Group of Eight summit in Deauville, France, on May 26-27.
The Democratic Party of Japan agreed at a meeting of its foreign department on Wednesday to draw up necessary bills for joining the convention. A formal decision on the bills will be made at an upcoming executive meeting of the DPJ Policy Research Committee.
Once the decision is formalized, the government will finalize Japan's intention to join the convention at a ministerial-level meeting. The policy is expected to be approved at a Cabinet meeting on May 20 at the earliest.
Under the convention, the taking of a child by a parent in a failed international marriage to another country without the other parent's consent is regarded as abduction.
The convention provides for the prompt return of such children to the country of their habitual residence and protects parental access rights.
Earlier this month, a court in Nashville, Tenn., ordered a Japanese woman who has taken her two children to Japan pay compensation of 6.1 million dollars (490 million yen) to her former husband, a U.S. citizen.
Since the woman took her son and daughter to Japan in 2009, she has not returned to the United States.
State judicial authorities gave the man full custody of the children and issued an arrest warrant for his former wife. However, the court ruling has no validity in this nation as Japan has not signed the Hague Convention.
Similar cases in which Japanese women have refused to let their former husbands see their children have made headlines around the world.
In February, ambassadors of 10 nations, including the United States and France, and the European Union asked the government to sign the convention. More than 80 countries are signatories to the convention.
(May. 13, 2011)