What can my Japanese ex do to stop me from moving out of Japan?

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Hello...I divorced by Mutual consent divorce at the ward office almost a year ago. Luckily, at that time, my ex -wife agreed to me having custody of our children. She seems to have been content seeing the children once a week on the weekends. Apparently she is thinking I want to live in japn for the rest of my life. Well, I am planning on moving back to the USA soon. Now I am debating on whether to tell her before we leave or to tell her after we have already arrived in the USA. Under Japanese law, based on the mutual divorce papers, I have sole custody of my children. If I tell her before we leave, and she decides to try to stop me, is there anything she can do? if so, what? If I wait to tell her until after my children and I have arrived in the USA, have I broken any Japanese, American, or International laws? I truly appreciate any input. My heart wants to tell her vefore we leave, but my common sense tells me to wait until we are safely in the US. Advice please..... Posted By:
crnjapan (26 posts)
1/15/2007 9:11:11 PM
re: What can my Japanese ex do t...   profile
Good question. Certainly I would not take the risk of giving her (or her parents) a chance to abduct them away from you before you leave. Once you are back, you will want to apologize and arrange visitation though, of course. It is sad that Japanese law leaves little choice but to do this....

I am not aware of any laws in Japan that say that the custodial parent must notify the other parent before moving. (Doesn't mean there aren't any, since I am not a lawyer, and this is an unusual situation. The US has laws requiring court permission, but those don't apply in Japan of course, in addition to the fact that your divorce was granted in Japan not the US. ) But certainly in practice, there are none for Japanese parents, since foreign parents are routinely kept away from their children and cannot learn where they are. I think your only issue might be with immigration.

My guess is that if you carry a recent koseki copy showing sole custody you would have no problem. But if it were me, I would "test" the waters first. Take them out on a short vacation to Saipan, Hong Kong, or even back to the US. Doesn't matter if you tell the mother in advance or not. The test is whether immigration lets you get through, and what documentation is required to do so. I would bring along a copy of the koseki with your name on it as the custodial parent.

BTW, you are one of the few foreign parents with custody of their children that I have ever heard of. I would appreciate very much if you would contact me privately and let me ask you a few general questions about things like your koseki arrangement. Just send an email to webmaster@crnjapan.com which will bounce. But read the message in the bounced reply for an address that will work. If that fails, post again here and Ill give you another email address.

Hope this helps.

FRIJ recommends you also visit crn japan, who are fighting international abduction to Japan and working to assure children in Japan of meaningful contact with both parents regardless of marital status