National

Mother appeals Osaka court order to return child to father in Sri Lanka under Hague pact

Kyodo

The mother of a 5-year-old girl appealed an Osaka family court order Wednesday that her daughter must be returned to Sri Lanka to live with her father in accordance with the Hague convention on child abduction.

The court order for the child’s return was the first such decision by a Japanese court to come to light since the country joined the international agreement in April.

According to the father’s attorney, the parents are both Japanese citizens and the daughter was born in Japan.

The family of three — who had lived in Sri Lanka since February 2013 — visited Japan in June. But a month later the mother told the father that she and the child were not returning. She currently lives in western Japan with the girl.

The court ruled on Nov. 19 that the child’s country of residence is Sri Lanka, as evident from the child’s enrollment in school there, and that failure to return the child “infringes on the father’s right of custody.”

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.