The US government has rejected calls from child abduction campaigners to threaten sanctions against Japan.
According to a report in the Japan Times, ‘hundreds’ of American children have been abducted from the United States into Japan by alienated parents – more than any other country.
Susan S Jacobs, the US government’s official Special Advisor for International Children’s Issues, told Congress that sanctions were a “two-edged sword”.
“I think threatening countries is often an unsuccessful way to get them to cooperate with us because most of the relationships that we have are very complex and involve many issues. The return of these children is incredibly important to us and we pledge to work to do the best we can to get these children returned. But I don’t think that we’re going to sanction Japan, or threaten them with sanctions, because I think that would be detrimental to our bilateral relationship.”
The Japanese government has announced plans to sign international treaty the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, but the resulting new legal obligations would not apply retrospectively.
Last month the Japanese government announced a scheme that would supply advice on the Japanese legal system to foreign parents involved in child abduction cases.