The European Parliament adopted a resolution Wednesday urging Japan to improve its child custody rules, under which European parents in Japan have little recourse in the event of domestic child abduction by a Japanese spouse.
Members of the parliament are "concerned over the high number of parental child abduction cases due to the reluctance of Japanese authorities to comply with international law," the resolution said.
The resolution also called on Japanese authorities "to enforce domestic and foreign court decisions on the return of the child and on access and visiting rights after the parents' relationship has ended, in order to bring their domestic laws in line with their international commitments and obligations."
Parliament members expressed regret that Japan, as a strategic partner, has failed to comply with international rules on child abduction.
Japan is already a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, an international treaty providing a framework for the return of a child abducted by a parent living in another country. But its principles have no direct application to domestic abductions.
According to the parliament, it has received "a significant number of appeals in the past few years on cases of Japanese parental child abduction and visiting rights, where one of the parents is an EU citizen."
On this matter, the Committee of Petitions of the European Parliament adopted a similar resolution last month.