The latest word on this – published in the Japan Times this week exactly 15 months after my son was taken from the UK – is that the Diet still seems set to ratify the Convention: read the article here.
Whilst searching the Japan Times website a few days later to find the link to the above for the purposes of this blog entry, I came across an opinion article by Professor Jones, who I have written about before: see blog on 14 December 2012. I mis-read the year at first, thinking it had been published the day after the above article (the Japan Times search results did not appear in date order). However, it is in fact from 21 February 2012. The article can be read here. Whilst the Convention was not enacted last year, due more than anything to political issues, article sought to look beyond the expected enactment and to address whether it would change anything on the ground. Some disconcertingly, it states that “In Japan…the ‘best interests’ that tend to get primacy are those of the people who make and apply the law rather than of children.”
The article goes on to state that “…it appears that the judicial side of implementation [of the Hague Convention] may involve a lot of business as usual for the family courts in Tokyo and Osaka charged with handling Hague cases.” For anyone with any knowledge of the status quo, this is far from satisfactory and raises the issue of what difference Japan’s ratification will actually make. The article seems doubtful that return orders would be made and even if they were that they would not be enforced.
That seems very similar to the present situation.