Parents invited to ‘meet’ their children online following failure of couple’s international marriage
Launched in June, the program uses third-party monitors to follow the conversation and watch for parents threatening their children or leveling unfair accusations against their former partners. If that happens, the conversation is terminated.
The program is based on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, a treaty focusing on child custody after the breakup of international marriages. The program allows parents whose children were abducted by their former partners to ask signatory countries to help set up meetings with their children.
Under Japan’s system, online meetings using personal computers or smartphones are set up if a request by one parent is approved by the other.
The plug is pulled if third-party monitors decide that the conversation is inappropriate.
“The presence of third-party monitors can increase options for meetings between parents and children,” one official said.
The monitors are from three Japanese institutions, including the Family Problems Information Center, a public-interest corporation tasked with addressing family problems.
Some other nations also convene online meetings of this kind, but it is rare to have the involvement of third-party monitors, ministry officials said.
Cases that date from before Japan joined the treaty are also eligible for the meeting support program, they said.