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A citizens group advocating for joint parental authority for divorced parents — currently not granted in Japan — is clashing with lawyers defending mothers who are allegedly victims of domestic violence and have fled their spouses with their children.

When a couple gets divorced in Japan, parental authority is granted only to one of the parents, unlike other countries where there is joint custody. Parental authority, or shinken in Japanese, consists of the right to serve as the legal representative of children, as well as the right to exercise custody, or kangoken, of them.

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