On April 26, 14 parents living apart from their children filed a lawsuit with the Tokyo District Court seeking a total of approximately 1.5 million yen in state compensation, claiming that the children of separated couples in Japan are left in a state where one parent has taken them because of inadequate laws.
The Hague Convention, which stipulates rules for the extradition of children across national borders, stipulates that if a child is unilaterally taken abroad, the child must be handed over to the country of the original residence. The complaint alleges that although Japan is also a signatory to the Hague Convention, “there is no similar provision in Japan. The 14 plaintiffs, a man and a woman, are asking the government to pay 110,000 yen per child, claiming that “the removal of children within Japan is being neglected and is in violation of Article 13 of the Constitution, which stipulates the right to pursue happiness.
The revised Civil Execution Law, which clarifies the rules for the handover of children between divorced couples, will come into effect in April this year. However, the plaintiffs argue that the law is inadequate for the removal of children before the divorce is finalized.