U.S. House Eyes Measure against Japan over Parental Child Abductions

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Washington, Sept. 29 (Jiji Press)--A U.S. House Foreign Affairs subcommittee is drafting new legislation aimed at making it easier for the State Department to take strict measures against Japan to settle cross-border parental child abductions.

"Japan apparently does not recognize the concept of joint custody," Rep. Chris Smith (R-New Jersey), co-chairman of the House Human Rights Commission, said at a hearing of the commission on Wednesday.

The envisioned legislation is intended to help U.S. parents who separate from or divorce their Japanese partners to reunite with their children in Japan, where sole child custody is common.

Jeffrey Morehouse, an American father who attended the hearing, criticized the U.S. government for not imposing sanctions against Japan, although it is empowered by law to do so against countries that fail to take appropriate steps over parental child abduction issues.

The father also condemned the Japanese government as being a "shameless co-conspirator."

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Jiji Press