Recently I had the occasion to address the issue of the return of children who had been wrongfully removed from the United States to Japan. Although Japan is a member of the Hague Convention on the abduction of children, it has been very difficult to obtain the return of children wrongfully removed from Japan. I have reprinted below a portion of a comment from Attorney Jeremy Morley regarding a change in Japanese law as it relates to the return of children under the Hague Convention from Japan.
“In May the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Japan announced a so-called “pilot project” to assist in child abduction cases. Indeed, it renamed a division as the “Hague Child Abduction Convention Division”. On August 1, 2012 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the program has been extended until March 29, 2013.
The pilot program allows a left-behind parent to make one telephone call for up to one hour to a Japanese lawyer to receive information. The Ministry cautions that, “The lawyer will not give you professional consultation on your specific case. This pilot project is designed to allow you, who reside outside Japan, to gain a deeper understanding as to what scheme currently available in Japan might be of help to you.”