Travel.State.Gov > International Parental Child Abduction > Country Information > Japan International Parental Child Abduction Information
U.S. Consulate General Sapporo
Kita 1-jo Nishi 28-chome, Chuo-ku,
Sapporo 064-0821, Japan
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 81-11-641-1115
All assistance at the Consulate General Sapporo is by appointment only.
U.S. Consulate Fukuoka
5-26 Ohori 2-chome, Chuo-ku,
Fukuoka 810-0052, Japan
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 81-3-3224-5000
Routine services are provided by appointment only.
U.S. Consulate Nagoya
Nagoya International Center Bldg. 6th floor,
1-47-1 Nagono, Nakamura-ku,
Nagoya 450-0001, Japan
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 81-3-3224-5000
Emergency services only.
Japan and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since April 1, 2014.
For information concerning travel to Japan, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Japan.
The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Child Abduction. The report is located here.
The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention. In this capacity, the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Japan. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Japanese Central Authority (JCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Hague Convention Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Upon receipt of a new Hague application, the JCA will review the application and supporting documents and determine whether to accept the application. In cases where the applicant is not aware of the child’s location in Japan, the JCA attempts to find the child with the assistance of other Japanese authorities. Once the child has been located, the JCA will reach out to the taking parent, if appropriate, to encourage a voluntary resolution. The JCA coordinates mediation services for parents and legal guardians. The JCA coordinates referrals for attorneys in Japan and applications for legal aid. The JCA can be reached at:
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Japan, the left-behind parent must submit a Hague application to the Japanese Central Authority. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the JCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Japanese central authorities. Attorney fees are the responsibility of the applicant parent. Parents may apply for a loan from the Japanese government to cover attorney fees and court costs. Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.
A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child under 16 years of age who is removed to, or retained in, Japan in which the removal or retention occurred on or after April 1, 2014. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Japan. The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand Japan-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
In the event that the case is not resolved through a voluntary agreement between the parties or through mediation, the case proceeds to court. Parents or legal guardians are required to retain the services of an attorney in Japan. Attorney fees are the responsibility of the applicant parent. Parents may apply for a loan from the Japanese government to cover attorney fees and court costs. The Japanese Central Authority coordinates referrals for attorneys in Japan, and applications for legal aid.
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.
This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
The Japanese Central Authority encourages mediation for all Hague Abduction Convention applications, and both parties are given the opportunity to come to a mutual agreement before the application goes to court. A portion of Mediation fees is provided by the Japanese Central Authority.
While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent. Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:
The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.
To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.
For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney.
Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.
For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.
Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction.