The Hague Convention (Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction) 

Assistance in Visitation or Contacts with Child in Japan

June 9, 2014
Japanese

1 Before filing an application:Be advised of grounds for dismissal.

 If you want to have access to your child in Japan, you can file an application to the Central Authority of Japan for assistance to realize visitation or contacts (Assistance in Visitation or Contacts with Child in Japan). Your application, however, is to be dismissed if any of the following conditions are met (Article No.18, Paragraph (1) The Act for Implementation of Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction). Therefore, before filing an application you are advised to make sure that your case does not fall under any of the following items for dismissal.

 [Note] we use the word "visitation or contacts" based on the wording of Japanese domestic legislation in the sense of "access" stipulated in Article 21 of the Hague Convention

  • The child pertaining to the application has attained the age of 16.
  • It is obvious that the child pertaining to the application is not in Japan and the state or territory where the child pertaining to the application is located is unknown.
  • It is obvious that the child pertaining to the application is located in a state or territory other than Contracting State.
  • It is obvious that the location of the child pertaining to the application and the domicile or residence of the applicant are in the same Contracting State.
  • It is obvious that the applicant has a domicile or residence in Japan or that the applicant does not have a domicile or residence in a Contracting State other than Japan.
  • The state or territory where the child pertaining to the application held his or her habitual residence immediately before the visitation or other contacts with him or her by the applicant became unable to be made is not a Contracting State.
  • It is obvious that the applicant is not entitled to visitation or any other contacts with the child pertaining to the application under the laws or regulations of the state or territory where the child pertaining to the application held his or her habitual residence immediately before the visitation or other contacts with him or her by the applicant became unable to be made or that the visitation or other contacts by the applicant with the child pertaining to the application is not interfered.

2 Outline of procedures

 The outline of the procedures of access based on the Implementation Act is shown in the following diagram for those who were entitled for visitation or contacts based on laws and regulations of the state of habitual residence, but, with such entitlement breached, unable to have visitation or contacts with the child who is currently in Japan.

  • Case Flow: Visitation or Contacts with Child in Japan

3 How to file an application

 You can file an application to the Central Authority of Japan for visitation or contacts with the child by following the procedure as follows.

 To file an application for assistance to realize access to the child (Assistance in Visitation or Contacts with Child in Japan) to the Central Authority of Japan, you have to fill out an application form designated by the Central Authority of Japan and submit it with supporting documents. For more details on required documents and submission method please refer to this page.

 [Note] If you wish to take your case directly to court proceedings for visitation or contacts with the child, you may file a petition to the court without receiving assistance from the Central Authority. For information on petition procedures, please contact a family court in Japan or legal profession directly. The family courts in Japan, however, do not respond in languages other than Japanese.

4 Procedures of the Central Authority of Japan upon acceptance of the application(The description below, including procedures of the court, only applies to the cases to which the Central Authority of Japan made a decision for assistance in visitation or contacts with child.)

(1)Discovery of whereabouts of child etc.

 When the whereabouts of the child pertaining to the application or the person who lives together with the child are not discovered, the Central Authority of Japan will work for the discovery of whereabouts of the child and the person who lives together with the child in Japan in cooperation with governmental administrative institutions and local governments.

(2)Decision for assistance in visitation or contacts with child

 The Central Authority of Japan will first screen the application based on the Implementation Act, secondly make a decision on whether the Central Authority provides the assistance, and then proceed to one of the steps below, and finally notify the applicant of the result.

  1. Decision for assistance in visitation or contacts with child
  2. Dismissal of application for assistance in visitation or contacts with child
  3. Where it is obvious that the child pertaining to the application is located in a Contracting State other than Japan, the Central Authority of Japan will transfer copies of the application form and a copy of the attached documents to the Central Authority of the Contracting State.

(3)Service of the Central Authority after Decision of Assistance

 Since it is desirable, under the Convention, to make solutions based on an agreement between the parties, the Central Authority provides support such as liaising and coordinating between the applicant and a party preventing visitation and contacts, introducing Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) institutions, and informing the parties of Lawyer Referral Service, if relevant parties want support for mediation.

5 Court Procedures of Visitation or Contacts with Child

 If you want to have visitation or contacts with your child in Japan, you can file a petition for adjudication of domestic relations or conciliation of domestic relations concerning visitation or contacts separately from the application for assistance to the Central Authority.
 The procedures of visitation or contacts in a family court are the same as the standard procedures of visitation or contacts in Japan, with some special provisions such as one about the jurisdiction of the court or the inspection of the record.
 For more details of the procedures of the family court, refer to this page.

6 Support for visitation or contacts(Introduction to Visitation or Contacts Supporting Institutions in Japan)

 The Central Authority of Japan provides support by recommending Visitation or Contacts Supporting Institutions to realize the visitation or contacts that was agreed upon through discussion, settlement, conciliation and adjudication. For more details of the support for visitation or contacts, refer to this page.