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International abductions to Japan continue to be an issue

It may surprise most people to learn that that nation of Japan only became a signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on international child abductions earlier this year. For those unfamiliar with this body of law, it is essentially an international treaty that requires all signatory nations to promptly return abducted children to the nations where they are supposed to legally reside.

While this may not seem like much of an issue here in the U.S. -- which is a signatory to the Hague Convention -- this is far from the case. The unfortunate reality is that many U.S. fathers have had to endure incredibly painful scenarios over the years in which their former spouses -- Japanese citizens -- flee without court permission to their native country, where the courts are well known for almost never recognizing foreign family court orders or granting child custody rights to a foreign father.

The unfortunate reality is that even though Japan has now ratified the treaty, U.S. fathers continue to be victimized by these international abductions.

Take for example a recent case out of Washington State, where a 46-year-old mother stands accused of openly defying a court order and an established parenting plan by taking her five-year-old son to fly to her native Japan without permission this past summer.

According to local prosecutors, the woman, who has since been charged with a felony count of custodial interference, had planned the international abduction well in advance, purchasing one-way plan tickets to Osaka and arranging to have her personal items shipped overseas. In fact, her former husband only became aware of the problem after she failed to arrive with their son for a weekend visitation.

"It appears the defendant has made arrangements to move all of her belongings to Japan," reads the criminal complaint. "There is little reason to believe this move is not permanent."

Thus far, there has been no news on how Japanese authorities plan to proceed in this case.

Stay tuned for updates ...

Those fathers with concerns about child custody, visitation rights or relocations here in Texas should strongly consider speaking with an experienced fathers' rights attorney dedicated to protecting their best interests in negotiations and contested hearings.

Source: The Japan Daily Press, "Mother of 5-year old flees to Japan to assert child custody," Faith Aquino, September 20, 2013

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