Japanese Indifference to Foreign Parents and Foreign Child Custody Orders Instrumental in Backlash Lobbying and Legislation

Recently, I posted on NJ: Mother May Relocate to Japan Against Father’s Wishes.

And further back on Japan: No Visitation Rights for American Fathers of Children Abducted to Japan.

Knowing how Japan deals with child custody and visitation cannot help but influence one’s thoughts on the NJ Supreme Court’s recent ruling – although it clearly did not influence the court.

To its credit, the Japan Times just published a long, hard look in its legal mirror. Apparently, it didn’t like what it saw there. The published piece also unequivocally criticized the NJ Supreme Court’s recent ruling – on sound legal grounds.

“Professor Colin Jones of Doshisha University testifies in a recent law journal article, ‘In the Best Interests of the Court: What American Lawyers Need to Know about Child Custody and Visitation in Japan,’ … Japanese courts often act in the ‘best interests of the court’ to protect themselves from becoming irrelevant to society due to their inability to enforce their own orders. This authoritative source ensures that future judges will understand the unique meaning of the ‘best interests of the child’ in Japan and realize that even Japanese court orders are not enforceable, so neither are foreign ones.”

New Jersey, however, sees no legal distinction between relocating to, say, Virginia or Wyoming, and Japan.

But there is a such a distinction and many other states not only see it but address it squarely in their statutes and/or case law.

And more may join them in the near future as the The Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA) eventually gains adoption in more states across the US. Other legislation targeting this problem is also being lobbied vigorously.

Read more in this Japan Times article: U.S. takes tougher line on abductions to Japan.