Japan may join international child custody pact

Japan is moving towards joining an international child custody convention, which will likely benefit American fathers who have had their children taken to the Asian country by Japanese mothers.

The Associated Press reports that Japanese law allows for only one parent to have child custody in divorce cases, and that parent is almost always the mother. Due to this, Japanese mothers in America can abscond with their children to Japan, leaving the American father with few options for seeing his kids.

Government spokesman Tetsuro Fukuyama said that a number of ministers have approved the move to join the 1980 Hague Convention on international abduction. However, joining the convention will still need to be approved by parliament.

“The United States is encouraged by the serious consideration that the government of Japan is currently giving this issue, and we look forward to Japan reaching a positive decision to ratify the Hague Convention as soon as possible,” the American embassy in Japan said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal reports that there were about 100 Japanese-American child custody disputes as of January of this year.