Osaka court orders that child be returned to Japanese father in Sri Lanka

Kyodo, Staff Report

The Osaka Family Court on Wednesday ordered that a 4-year-old child taken to Japan by its mother be returned to Sri Lanka to live with the father, in accordance with the Hague convention on child abduction.

It’s the first such decision by a Japanese court since the country joined the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in April.

Both parents are Japanese citizens in their 30s and 40s, the father’s attorney said.

The court heard the family of three had lived in Sri Lanka since February 2013 but left the country in June to visit Japan. In July, the mother told the child’s father that she and the child would not return to the South Asian country.

Presiding Judge Shinichi Oshima ruled that the child’s country of residence is Sri Lanka because the child was enrolled in school there, and that in the absence of safety concerns, failure to return the child “infringes the father’s right of custody.”

The mother can appeal the decision to a higher court.

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction stipulates that if a parent takes a child from the country of habitual residence to another member state, the other parent can file a case for the child’s return.

The treaty can also provide assistance to parents seeking visitation, regardless of when they were separated from their children.

Parents whose partners took their children to Japan can ask for support from the foreign affairs ministry or the central authority in their own country tasked with locating abducted children.

In a case in October, a 5-year-old boy was reunited with his father in Germany under the Hague convention. The child, born to a German father and Japanese mother and who lived in Germany with his parents, was taken to Japan in June by his mother after she left her husband, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said earlier.

At the end of August, the father applied for help from the ministry through the German government to return the child under the treaty. But in that case, after negotiations, the mother voluntarily took the boy back to Germany in mid-October, the official said.

In July, a British court ordered the return of a 7-year-old to Japan who had been taken to Britain by the child’s Japanese mother.

  • CJ

    First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win. Next order of business is to change the current barbaric Japanese domestic “family” law system to conform to this standard.

  • casualdomainer

    This is a great step forward. I was extremely excited to see the news then slightly deflated when I saw that both parents were Japanese. I still hardly see this as “counting” because there still has not been a single case of a non-Japanese person receiving a court order to have a child returned to a country which is not Japan (the German case does not count because the mother voluntarily cooperated without proceedings).

    • Tim Johnston

      Spot on! casualdomainer,

      They have still yet to help a foreign parent with abduction case internationally. I know at least 12 people who have filed under Hague Convention(Vague convention) and have been left with nothing thus far.

      Waiting with baited breath for Japan to truly give access to our children.
      Tim Johnston

      • Hanten

        It’s always sad to hear when children are separated from one of their parents.

        In the case of the German-based couple, I can imagine from the Japanese mother’s point of view, knowing that Japan had a legal framework that had a good chance of forcing her to return the child to Germany would have sped up her return. Most people want to avoid legal conflict and for good reason – they’re stressful.

  • Fijian Abductors Tokyo

    My daughter is currently four…………

    This post should not be removed but Investigative reporting should be
    applied. Come on Japan times!! This is Real News and the TRUTH!!!

    daughter was abducted from my house in Nerima-Ku and sent away from
    Japan with her aunt to Fiji, in September 2010. How could the Japanese
    immigration allow a baby less than a year old, travel without either
    parents or written consent of both? MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    knows about this case and did nothing!! Simply because the mother is a
    diplomat of the Fijian embassy in Tokyo. (government corruption) She
    neglected her own child (and still is) because of our problems.
    I reported it to the police, in both countries and until this day I have
    seen my daughter since September 2010. Canadian embassy tried their
    best to help as I wanted my daughter to at least get her Canadian
    passport to travel to meet her family for the first time. The Japanese
    officers FAILED, Azabu Police FAILED, MOFA and the numerous people I
    reported this case to at MOFA FAILED! Fijian Ambassador in Japan was
    also a part of this abduction because my child was taken to his
    residence and stayed there before she was sent away with her aunt to
    Fiji without my permission. My daughter was registered to be living in
    Japan. I took her to get her first shot in Japan. The Japanese system
    FAILED because there were no protocols set up to be enforced against
    officers or diplomat of other countries, so my ex and the Fijian
    ambassador in japan got away with child abduction. Currently my daughter
    is still in Fiji living with the aunt and her mother in Japan. My
    daughter has been denied her rights to me her father and the mother is
    currently applying for full custody of her child who she has not
    physically cared for 4 years. The Fijian courts will perhaps grant this
    custody because …the ambassador was previously a lawyer and an
    appointed judge in Fiji ( add aide to kidnapping and corruption) so his
    influence on the matter is important because he is involved directly in a
    crime. The second secretary of the Fijian embassy in Tokyo is the
    mother who has not physically been with her own child for 4 year and is
    applying for full custody. What kind of sick world are we living in?
    Just because someone works for the government with corrupt
    representatives, they are allowed to get away with crimes such as
    abduction? MOFA in Japan and the system relating to child abduction has failed.