Every Child

Has Two Parents


Divorce in Japan

See also our  sections on Child Custody, Visitation, and Child Support.


The Issues

  1. 1.Family court mediators have inadequate training in both counseling and law

  2. 2.There is no provisional visitation during divorce or other family court proceedings

  3. 3.Submitting the single form required for divorce by mutual consent does not require both spouses to show up in person, nor does it require proof that the other party actually signed or stamped (with an inkan/hanko) the application, making forgery of divorce forms which also give sole child custody to the forger, very easy.

Solutions We Want To See

  1. Fill Family Court mediator and examiner positions only with candidates who have studied divorce, child custody mediation and child psychology, have served as an intern and have proven competency through examination.

  2. Completely separate custody and visitation determinations from divorce, to prevent access to children from being used as a bargaining tool in divorce.

  3. Sanction lawyers who persist in recommending that their clients deny child visitation with the other parent as a bargaining chip in a divorce or tolerate this sort of behavior in their clients.

  4. Require both parties to a divorce to show up and present multiple forms of picture identification in order to submit a divorce form.  Keep a copy of the identification in case future claims of forgery are made.


  1. Types of Divorce in Japan

  2. Alimony and Other Divorce Related Payments in Japan

  3. Divorcing a Japanese Spouse Who Has Gone Back to Japan (No Children)

  4. Divorcing a Japanese Spouse Who Has Gone Back to Japan (With Children)

  5. Advice from non-Japanese who have been a divorce in Japanese courts

  6. Forged Signatures on Faked Divorce and Child Custody Agreements

  7. How to Get a Foreign Divorce Recognized in Japan

  8. Q&A on divorce  (TBW)

External Resources

  1. Non-Recognition of Japanese Consent Divorces in the U.K. (cached copy) - Divorce by Mutual Consent is not valid in some countries.  This excellent article gives some reasons and applies them to the UK.

  2. A good discussion of divorce related issues by a researcher at the Japan Institute for Global Communications

  3. Basic information in English from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on the Family Registration System, including the various types of divorce.  

  4. Information on divorce and family registry system from US Embassy.  (cached copy)

Press Articles

  1. New divorcees push for DNA testing to be allowed to prove paternity of newborn children; Mainichi Shinbun, January 8, 2007.  Japanese mothers want DNA testing to be recognized as conclusive proof of teh father even if child born within 300 days of divorce.

  2. Divorces may spike after change in law; Japan Times; October 5, 2006.  As of April, spouses will be eligible for up to half of partner's pensions. (cached copy)

  3. Dissatisfied wives waiting to spring trap on hapless hubbies; Mainichi Daily News; September 9, 2006.  Starting in April 2007, wives will be eligible to claim up to half of a husband's pension upon divorce.  Look for divorce rate to skyrocket. Also a very good list of 10 signs your wife is planning to divorce you.  (cached copy)

  4. Increased cross-national divorces raise concerns over parental abductions; Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge via TMCNet.com; January 03, 2006. More on the December seminar at the Canadian embassy, and a few more statistics on open cases in several countries.  (cached copy)  

  5. Mixed marriages more popular now than ever; Asahi Shinbun; December 31, 2005.  Japanese marriages down, mixed marriages up. (cached copy)

    1. 国際結婚は15組に1組 昨年まとめ; 朝日新聞; 2005年12月31日.(cached copy)

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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