On 24 January Japan ratified the Hague Convention on Child Abduction, which has come into force on 1 April 2014. Japan became the 91st Contracting State to the Hague Convention.
This significant step will see the provision of official channels offering help by the Japanese authorities to foreign parents who have had a child internationally abducted to Japan.
David Hodson, Partner at The International Family Law Group comments that:
'Of course this is brilliant news for all families and children with any connections with Japan but I believe it has even wider implications. If this international law against parental child abduction can be endorsed and encouraged in a very distinctive culture such as Japan then it is clearly appropriate worldwide. I call for renewed efforts by and with those countries and areas of the world not yet presently part of the Hague Convention child abduction community. There should be no hiding place for the parent fleeing with a child away from his or her habitual residence.'
Details of a central authority which has been established within the foreign ministry can be found here.