The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction mandates that member countries establish or designate a Central Authority to handle cases brought under the Hague Convention. As the actual work of enforcing the Hague Convention falls on the staff of each country’s Central Authority, these offices play an important role in ensuring the smooth and efficient cooperation between countries according to the rules of the Hague Convention. In Japan, the Central Authority has been established in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Simply marrying a Japanese citizen does not automatically grant Japanese citizenship to a foreign national. Attaining Japanese citizenship must be done though the normal naturalization process. While the naturalization process is somewhat easier for spouses of Japanese citizens, the naturalization application is quite time consuming and detailed. In addition, there may be a waiting period of several years before the spouse can apply, depending on the circumstances.
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a treaty executed by over 90 countries around the world. Like any other treaty, it binds the member countries to certain promises that must be upheld in relation to each other. However, the Convention holds no power over countries that are not member States. Therefore, applications cannot be made to or from countries that have yet to sign the Convention.
In addition to cases seeking the return of an abducted child, the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction also accepts applications to ensure the effective exercise of rights of access and visitation for non-custodial parents. For parents who have not been receiving adequate visitation with their abducted child, either through letters, emails, phone or video calls, this is a powerful tool to ensure visitation is maintained.