Every Child

Has Two Parents


Just In Case:  A Parental Abduction Preparedness Checklist


The Japan Children's Rights Network in response to the ever increasing number of International Parental Abductions to Japan has released a preparation guide for all of those in intimate relationships / Marriage with a Japanese citizen.  This guide is the "get your affairs in order" guide to making sure that when and if your Japanese significant other abducts your child you are prepared.  Please email webmaster@crnjapan.net with any questions / additions.

Here is a checklist of things to do if you are worried that the Japanese parent might try to take your children at some time in the future.  (Some of this applies generally to all kinds of child abduction and is advisable to do anyways, even if you are not worried right now.)  Some applies only if you are in Japan, and some applies only if you are not.

If you are about to get a divorce, here is another checklist that will help you go on the offensive. The List (a pre-divorce checklist)

Make sure to store all information in a safe place where the child's other parent cannot get to it, such as a safe deposit box that only you can enter, or a friend or relative's home.  Also, to help ensure that others do not misuse this information, you as the parent should be the only person to keep this information about your child. You should be wary of gadgets and gimmicks that purport to protect your child or any sort of data-collection or registration services that store information about your child.  There is no substitute to collecting and storing this information yourself.

1.Make sure that your marriage is registered on your Japanese spouse's Family Registry. (koseki).

2.Make sure that you are registered on the Japanese spouse's Family Registry. (koseki) as the parent of each of your children.  (You can order these from outside Japan with forms from here.)

3.Get copies of Japanese spouse's Family Registry. (koseki) and a current Residency Registration (jyuminhyou) from the appropriate local government office.  Note that foreign spouses are never listed on the actual jyuuminhyou, but if you ask, they may list you in the remarks section.  Make sure to request this so that you have proof that you were living together.  (Some government offices still wont do it, but many will.)

4.Get the mailing address and phone number of the local government office where you can get copies of each of these documents again in the future. (The same office you just got the koseki and the jyuminhyou from.  Get both if they are different offices.)  Take along a couple copies of the forms used there to request them.

5.Get enough Japanese postage stamps for return addressed envelopes so that the office can send you forms that you might request by mail.

6.Get enough Japanese money order tickets from the post office to pay for future forms you may request by mail.  They come in specific denominations, so you need to have an idea for how much the forms you may request by mail will cost.  They may also expire.  (I forget.)

7.Keep original passports for the kids and also make copies of everyone's passports & birth certificates.  Make sure to get a copy of the Japanese spouse's passport also, or at least write down the number.

8.Establish a personal bank account in Japan for emergency legal fees, etc. Preferably this is one where you can access it from the internet like the Citibank accounts. Although the Citibank accounts have a minimum balance requirement.

9.Establish an offshore bank account outside of Japan.  Having an offshore account will make sure that you don’t wind up without a yen to your name if the worst case scenario becomes reality.

10.File to block 'mutual consent divorce' before you leave using the  fujyurimouside form..  (Maybe file the form to block adoptions also.)  Forms and instructions for both are here.These both need to be updated every 6 months.  So bring some blank forms with your from the local government office.

11.Find an attorney in Japan in case of future trouble

12.Keep updated photos & videos of kids.

13.Keep your permanent residency or spouse visa valid.  (If you dont have your permanent residency visa yet, try to get it while your spouse will still act as your guarantor.  Otherwise it is harder to get.)

14.Get the names, addresses, email, and phone numbers of the Japanese spouse's parents, brothers and sisters, and any other relatives you know about.  Get their work information if possible. Do the same thing for any friends of the Japanese spouse.  These are all places that children could be hidden, or people you could ask for information in case the spouse and your children became missing in the future.  A good excuse might be that you want to send holiday cards in the future, or just to be able to keep in touch while away from Japan.

15.Get the license plate number and make, model or car for the spouse's parents or anyone else who might help them hide the children.  While you are at it, get their pictures if you can. (This information would be very useful to a private investigator should you need to hire one in the future.)

16.Keep a copy of the Japanese parent's credit card numbers, bank account numbers, brokerage account number, etc.

17.If you are living in Japan, make sure that your phone bills list all the phone numbers called.  Sometimes this requires a special request to the phone company.  This can show who was consulted for help before the abduction took place.  Try to do the same for the mobile phone if possible.

18.If possible, write down all the names, phone numbers and addresses in the other parent's mobile phone phone number list, computer email address book, daytimer, handheld PC, etc.

19.If applicable, record the Japanese parent's  immigration status in another country, visa work permit numbers, social security number, and numbers of any other identifying documents issued by another country.

20.If you are staying in Japan, you may want to get a safe deposit box to store these in, that your spouse does not have access to.  (Some banks in Japan have these, and there are others separate from banks also.)  If you are going to another country, you may want to get a safe deposit box there to keep them so that your spouse can never take them away.  At least you should give them to a relative or friend for safe keeping to get them out of your shared house.

21.If the Japanese spouse has had mental problems, such as incidents of attempted suicide, collect information for psychiatrists they may have seen, or doctors who treated them, or time and date of calls to help lines.

22.If you anticipate a divorce, then you probably want to collect financial information about your spouse.  In Japan, the person who is "at fault" can often be compelled to pay large sums of money to get the divorce.

23.(*) Keep a complete description of your child. This description must include color of hair, color of eyes, height, weight, and date of birth. In addition, the descriptions should include identifiers such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, braces on teeth, pierced ears, and other unique physical attributes. The complete description must be written down.

24.(*) Take color photographs of your child every six months . Photographs should be of high quality and in sharp focus so that your child is easily recognizable. Head and shoulder portraits from different angles, such as those taken by school photographers, are preferable, but make certain that you have a photograph that most resembles your child. Candid photographs may be more representative of how your child
looks than a posed shot.

25.(*) Have your dentist prepare dental charts for your child, and be sure that they are updated each time an examination or dental work is performed. Make sure that your dentist maintains accurate, up-to-date dental charts and X-rays on your child as a routine part of his or her normal office procedure. If you move, you should get a copy from your former dentist to keep yourself until a new dentist is found. Make
certain that the information is easily accessible should you need it quickly.

26.(*) Know where your child’s medical records are located. Medical records, particularly X-rays, can be invaluable in helping to identify a recovered child. It is important to have all permanent scars, birthmarks, blemishes, and broken bones recorded. You should find out from your child’s doctor where such records are located and how you can obtain them if the need arises.

27.(*) Arrange with your local police department to have your child fingerprinted. In order for fingerprints to be useful in identifying a person, they must be properly taken. Your police department has trained personnel to be sure that they are useful. The police department will give you the fingerprint card and will not keep a record of the child’s prints.

28.(*) Some US states have also developed programs in which a DNA sample of a child is taken by a saliva
swab or drop of blood. If this is offered in your state, make sure that you keep the only DNA sample that is taken from your child.

29.(*) The most important means of prevention is one that you must work on every day: healthy communication with your children. Repeatedly assure your children that you love them. Tell them that you always want to see them, no matter what anyone else says. Teach your children your telephone number and area code and how to dial the telephone. Instruct them how to contact your family or a close friend. Teach your child your email address and teach them about email.  Establish in your home an atmosphere of trust and support so that your children will feel secure in discussing with you situations that may have made them feel afraid or confused.

30.Any records that you might save in the event of an emergency could be useful for locating a runaway or abducting spouse.  So you may want to make an extra copy.   Here is a list recommended by the US Embassy in Tokyo
   -- Passports and visas
   -- Japanese Alien Registration Cards
   -- Drivers licenses
   -- Prescriptions for medications and eyeglasses
   -- Vehicle registrations
   -- Medical insurance cards
   -- Personal address books
   -- List of credit cards and contact numbers
   -- Deeds, leases and titles
   -- Birth, marriage, divorce and adoption certificates
   -- Tax return records
   -- Immunization and medical records
   -- Pet registration and veterinary records
   -- Computer file backups, including email address books

31. Secure your Hanko.  Your Hanko in a soon to be ex’s hand is the same as giving them your SIGNATURE


(*) Text taken from "5 Steps To Prevent Child Loss" and the comprehensive Just In Case - Family Separation" from the  The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children website.

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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