Ink Hague abduction pact: Clinton

by Masami Ito

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday urged Japan to sign the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and thus resolve a long-running problem.

Clinton made the request in a meeting with Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada in Tokyo.

Okada told reporters he told his U.S. counterpart there were various domestic problems surrounding the treaty and that the Foreign and Justice ministries were taking the issue into consideration.

“I said (to Clinton) that we are trying to resolve such problems so that we can join the Hague Convention as soon as possible,” Okada said.

Japan has been under international pressure, including from the U.S., to sign the Hague Convention, which aims to protect children from being wrongfully taken out of their country of “habitual residence” by a parent.

Some Japanese experts have expressed concern over signing the treaty, citing legal and cultural differences. Cases of domestic violence have been raised.