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What if my child has been abducted?

The Central Authorities of Hague Convention Treaty partners are responsible for providing information to and/or accepting applications from parents who believe their child or children have been abducted. If you reside in the United States, the U.S. State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues will be able to help guide you through the application process requesting the return of the child to his/her country of habitual residence. The application is then forwarded to the Central Authority in the appropriate Hague Convention Treaty partner, such as Japan.

If you reside in Japan, and your child was abducted to the United States or another Hague Convention Treaty partner, you may contact the Hague Convention Division, which is Japan’s Central Authority at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They can assist you with filing an application to submit to the Central Authority in the country where the child was taken.

The Tokyo Family Court and the Osaka Family Court have been designated to handle Hague return cases in Japan. The Hague return petition must be handled expeditiously, and the judgement is usually rendered within six weeks from the date the petition is filed with the court.

For a detailed explanation of legal procedures to file for the return of the child under Hague framework, please see the Courts in Japan website here.

Online Resources

• For information on how to submit a Hague Return application in the U.S., please visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction/abductions.html.

• For information on how to submit a Hague Return application in Japan, please refer to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website at: https://www.mofa.go.jp/fp/hr_ha/page22e_000276.html.

A brief movie by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that explains the Hague Child Abduction Convention’s application procedure:

• Movie: “Let’s study the Hague Child Abduction Convention! ~Application Procedure~”