Every Child

Has Two Parents


France Comes Close to Condemning Japan on International Parental Abductions

original French version here-


English Translation



Recorded at the Presidency of the Senate July 13, 2010



on children deprived of Franco-Japanese ties with their French parent after
divorce or separation,


Mr. Richard YUNG, Jacqueline ALQUIER, MM. Alain Anziani, BERTHOU Jacques,
Jean Besson, Yannick BOTREL, Boulaud, Ms Claire-Lise CAMPION, Francoise
Cartron, Monique Cerisier-ben GUIGA, MM. Pierre-Yves Collombat Yves
Daudigny, Jean-Pierre DEMERLIAT Jean Desessard, FRIMAT Bernard, Jean-Noel
Guerin, Serge Lagauche Serge Larcher, Françoise LAURENT-Perrigot, Mr. Jacky
Le Menn, Claudine Lepage, MM. Claude Lise, Roger MADEC Rachel MAZUIR,
Jean-Pierre MICHEL, Gérard MIQUEL, Jean-Marc Pastor, PIRAS Bernard, Gisèle
PRINTZ, MM. Marcel Rainville, Daniel Raoul, Francois Rebsamen, Daniel
Reiner, Jean-Pierre Sueur, Sutour Simon, Jean-Marc Todeschini, and members
of the Socialist Group (1) and related (2),


(1) This group includes: Ms. Jacqueline Alquier, Michèle (remaining names of French Senators removed see original pdf for full list)


Ladies and Gentlemen,

The increase in the number of Franco-Japanese marriages is one of the most
tangible signs of strengthening ties between Japan and France. In 2009, the
Consular Section of the Embassy of France in Tokyo and the Consulate General
of France in Kyoto have transcribed 321 acts of marriage between a French
and a Japanese on a total of 350 marriages (+168% compared to 1999). This
results in an increase in the number of binational children: 233 birth of
Franco-Japanese children have been established or entered in 2009 (+140%
compared to 1999). Another consequence, less fortunate, is the rising number
of divorces.

Franco-Japanese couples do not separate all consensual manner, especially
when they have one or more child (ren). A growing number of binational
children find themselves at the center of a conflict between their parents.

Children residing on French territory were abducted by their Japanese parent
and returned to Japan without the agreement of the French parent who was
granted parental authority after divorce. Since there is no bilateral
agreement between France and Japan, the French judicial decisions are not
recognized by the Japanese court, which generally gives reason to Japanese
parent who abducted the child. Moreover, Japan does not punish the illicit
transfer of children and it has not signed the Hague Convention of 25
October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The
convention came into force in France on 1 December 1983, establishes
cooperation with the central authorities of each signatory state to ensure
the return of children wrongfully removed to his place of habitual

When the binational couple resides in Japan, it happens that the Japanese
parent abandons the marital home and leave with the child without the
consent of the other parent. In France, this practice is severely punished. In
Japan, however, it is not considered an offense and does not therefore
justify the use of enforcement measures to return the child home. The parent
who abducted the child is very often held in his prerogatives by the
Japanese justice.

Under these conditions, French citizens who divorced a Japanese national was
found unable to exercise their parental rights in Japan. The French consular
services are aware of 35 cases, but the total number of parents in this
situation is certainly higher. Franco-Japanese couples is mostly made up of
a French national and a Japanese national, the French are fathers who are
most often affected by the application of Japanese law.

While French law establishes a sharing of parental authority in case of
separation or divorce, Article 819 of Japanese Civil Code stipulates that
the custody is granted to one parent. Thus, in 80% of cases, parental
authority is given to the mother under the principle that it is socially
accepted the most important person for the child and it is not the father to
take care the education of his children. In other cases, the preservation of
the interests of the mother takes precedence over the continuity of the
child's relationships with both parents. Thus, even when a Japanese court
finds the mother's mental instability, he may choose to give him custody.

Japan and France are not the same concept of access. French law provides
that the exercise of this right can not be denied the other parent for
serious reasons, when the continuity and effective links between the child
and the parent demand, the judge Family Affairs can arrange access in
meeting space designated for that purpose. In Japan, the visitation is not
registered in the Civil Code, but left to the discretion of family court and
the goodwill of the parent who was awarded custody of the child. The
Japanese judge may, under section 766 of the Civil Code, make all necessary
action in the interest of the child, including grant or deny access.

French parents often struggle to explain to the judge why they want to be
granted this right. A Japanese court has responded to a French father that
"dads are not there to see their child, but to work." In 2002, another
father was able to read the court's decision concerning "the plaintiff
insists [...] [...] that the communication breakdown between a father and a
child can become a factor nuisance for the growing child. However, his
arguments are not convincing enough to change the ruling. "

It is not uncommon for Japanese judges assign access rights to the French
parent. However, this decision is not implemented when the Japanese parent,
citing the wishes of the child refuses the latter way the other parent. Indeed,
in family, lack of enforcement is not sanctioned.

In addition, when access is granted to the French parent, it often comes
down to one visit per month for a few hours while in France, the most common
methods include a weekend in two and half holiday school.

Following a divorce, many French fathers no longer have contact with their
children, who are thus deprived of an essential part of their identity. The
right of these children have two parents, two families, two cultures, two
languages and two countries is totally violated.

This often results in serious psychological effects on these children. Some
of them suffer including parental alienation syndrome. It is a psychological
disorder that affects children when a parent makes on him, more or less
consciously, a "brainwashing" to destroy the image of the absent parent. When
the operation is successful, the child rejects the parent body and is
indissolubly with the alienating parent.

Faced with these painful circumstances, France, in association with other
states, has undertaken many steps with the Japanese government. In December
2009, the Embassy of France in Tokyo and obtained the creation of a
conciliation committee Franco-Japanese. Composed of representatives of
foreign ministries of both countries, it aims to facilitate exchange and
sharing of information (location and health status of children, transmission
of letters and photographs, etc.).. France is the first country to implement
such a structure with Japan.

This bilateral arrangement is welcome because it shows that Japan officially
recognizes the existence of the problem of children deprived of
Franco-Japanese ties with their French parent. There remains
insufficient. Other
initiatives are needed to uphold the best interests of children born to
French-Japanese couples.

This draft resolution in no way intended to undermine the sovereignty of
Japan. It aims to attract the attention of Japanese authorities on the need
to recognize the Franco-Japanese children the right to maintain
relationships with each parent.

These are the reasons why it is proposed to adopt the proposed resolution.


Sole Article

The Senate,

Considering Article 34-1 of the Constitution,

Recalling that the Government of Japan has ratified the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, whose Article 16 stipulates in its first
paragraph that "marriage shall be entered into with the free and full
consent of the intending spouses" and, in its third paragraph that "family
is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to
protection by society and the State";

Recalling that the Government of Japan has ratified the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 23, paragraph 4, stipulates
that "States Parties to the present Covenant shall take appropriate measures
to ensure equal rights and responsibilities of spouses as to marriage,
during marriage and at its dissolution. In case of dissolution, provision
shall be taken to ensure the necessary protection for children ";

Recalling that Japan is a party to the Convention of New York from November
20, 1989 on the Rights of the Child, article 3, paragraph 1, states that in
"all actions concerning children, whether undertaken undertaken by public or
private social welfare institutions, courts, administrative authorities or
legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary
consideration, "and which article 9, paragraph 3, provides that" States
Parties shall respect the right of children separated from both parents or
one of parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both
parents, unless this is contrary to the best interests of the child ";

Recalling that Japan is the only G7 member State which has not signed the
Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International
Child Abduction, which seeks to protect children from harm caused by
their wrongful
removal or retention across international boundaries;

Recalling that the Japanese legislation on family law does not recognize the
sharing of parental authority after divorce and limit visitation to the
discretion of family court judge;

Recalling that results in a situation detrimental to thirty children of
Franco-Japanese couples who, after a separation or divorce, find themselves
deprived of all contact with their French parent;

Recalling that the French parents face many challenges in the court
proceedings they have initiated in Japan and some court decisions that give
them exceptionally visitation rights are not enforced because they face the
refusal of the parent Japanese and lack of enforcement measures;

Recalling that abducted children to and from Japan are cut off from all
contact with their family French, their second country, their second crop
and their second language;

Recalling that it has been shown that children deprived of contact with one
of their parents suffer from emotional and educational deficiencies, and
thus run the risk of developing psychological disorders, including parental
alienation syndrome;

Recalling that this alarming situation, which aroused great interest among
the public and French media, is likely to worsen because of the growing
number of unions binational;

Recalling that on several occasions since 2008 the embassies of Australia,
Canada, Spain, U.S., France, Italy, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have
informed the Government of Japan concern over the increasing number of cases
of international parental kidnapping involving Japan and affecting their
nationals, and called to sign the Hague Convention and to provide, in the
meantime, the necessary measures to allow contact children with both

Recalling that pursuant to Article 5-h of the Vienna Convention of 24 April
1963 on Consular Relations, consular visits were held in the homes of
Japanese families of children holding dual nationality;

Stressing the importance of implementation on 1 December 2009, an advisory
committee on French-Japanese children at the center of parental conflict,
responsible for facilitating the exchange and sharing of information and enable
the transmission of documents;

Affirming its respect for cultural differences between Japan and France, as
well as its commitment to Franco-Japanese;

Expresses the wish to see emerge quickly a solution acceptable to all and
respectful of the best interests of children of binational couples;

Called the Japanese government to honor the commitment made by former Prime
Minister Hatoyama to establish a national inter-ministerial coordination
that would be responsible for defining a position on the issue of children
deprived of a binational ties with their non-Japanese parent;

Considers it essential that the advisory committee on French-Japanese
children at the center of parental conflict to be expanded to other
ministries such as justice and social affairs, he could interview the
parents' associations and that it has the opportunity to undertake acts of
mediation between the Japanese and French parents;

Encourages the Government of Japan to sign Hague Convention on Civil Aspects
of International Child Abduction to prevent child abduction by a parent
binational Japanese when it returns to Japan;

Suggests that the Government of Japan to study the possibility of reforming
the Articles 766 and 819 of the Civil Code to allow to ensure continuity and
effectiveness of maintaining ties to the child with each parent.

The information on this website concerns a matter of public interest, and is provided for educational and informational purposes only in order to raise public awareness of issues concerning left-behind parents. Unless otherwise indicated, the writers and translators of this website are not lawyers nor professional translators, so be sure to confirm anything important with your own lawyer.

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