With regards to a case involving a woman who took her child without her spouse’s consent and rejected the court order to return the child in accord with the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the Nagoya High Court ruled the mother’s custody of the child is illegal and ordered the transfer of the child to the father. But after the ruling was handed down, the mother disappeared with the child. As their whereabouts are unknown, the return of the child may not be realized.
The father, who lives in the U.S., was filing the case based on Japan’s Habeas Corpus Act, which prescribes penalties, as the mother, who took the child back to Japan, rejected the court order to return the child based on the Hague convention.
The Supreme Court claimed that the mother’s act represents restraint of the child and ruled that her rejection of the court order to return the child in principle violates the law. This is the first time for the court to make such a ruling. To get the mother and the child to appear before the court, it ordered that the case be deliberated again at the Nagoya high court.
On July 17, Presiding Nagoya High Court Judge Hisashi Toda ruled that restraint of the child by mother violates the law and ordered her to return the child to the father by pointing out that “the child has been put in a situation where it is difficult for him to obtain the necessary information to decide whether or not to stay with the mother.”
But after the ruling was given, the mother vanished with the child, and their whereabouts are unknown.
There have been a number of similar cases in which the court order for the child’s return based on the Hague convention has been rejected. But the Supreme Court’s ruling has drawn attention as it makes the court order for child’s return effective. But since the mother and the child vanished, the transfer of the child may not be realized in the end.