Bill eyes incorporating children’s views in int’l custody battles

Posted on October 4, 2011. Filed under: Child Abduction, Hague Convention | Tags: , , |

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Justice Ministry proposed Friday that children’s opinions be reflected when settling cross-border child custody disputes.

The idea was contained in the ministry’s draft interim proposals for domestic legislation that it is preparing for submission to a regular Diet session next year, before Japan joins an international pact related to the matter known as the Hague Convention.

Under the ministry’s draft legislation, the handing over of children to a spouse could be refused if there is a possibility that they could be subjected to violence.

If a year has passed since children were taken away and they have already adapted to their new environment or if children refuse, their hand over to a spouse could be rejected.

The cases would be examined by family courts behind-closed-doors. Under the proposal, court decisions could be appealed twice in the same way most civil cases are handled.

The ministry will solicit public comments on the interim draft via the Internet until Oct. 31.

Opinions are also being solicited regarding the Foreign Ministry’s proposal to set up a government organization to search for children in Japan entangled in cross-border custody disputes.

Japan decided in May to sign the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. It is the only one of the Group of Eight advanced countries yet to join the convention after Russia acceded to it in July.

(Mainichi Japan) October 1, 2011

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