The U.S. Department of State released its annual report on the removal of children from international marriages and recognized Japan as a country in default of its obligations under the Hague Convention, which sets out procedures for resolving removal issues. This is the first time since 2014, when Japan became a signatory to the Convention, that Japan has been recognized as a defaulting country. This may increase the pressure on Japan to comply with the Convention.
The annual report noted that “significant progress” has been made in Japan, including a 44% decrease in the number of children reported to have been taken since 2002. The report gave some credit to the “strong and productive relationship” between the U.S. and Japanese governments in preventing removals and mediating between the two parties, which has helped to resolve the issue.
On the other hand, he pointed out that even when a judicial decision is made to order the return of a child, “there is no effective means to enforce the order. As a result, 22% of the removal cases took more than a year to be resolved, and “the enforcement process is excessively prolonged,” the report said.