By the Ambassadors of Australia, Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States

March 18, 2010

Tokyo, Japan

We, the Ambassadors to Japan of Australia, Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States have on several occasions expressed our concern to the Government of Japan about the increase in international parental abduction cases involving Japan and affecting our nationals.

We welcome recent statements by the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Justice Minister and other Japanese officials recognizing the seriousness of this international problem. We are encouraged by recent positive initiatives by the Government of Japan, such as the establishment of the Division for Issues Related to Child Custody within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In this spirit, today we have concluded a two-day symposium during which experts from our nations discussed aspects of child abduction with Japanese Government officials and other leaders in this field.

Officials from our central authorities responsible for implementing the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, judges, law enforcement officials, and other related experts from our countries led discussions with Japanese officials from the Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs, and Health, Labour and Welfare, as well as Diet members and other authorities from Japan. We look forward to continuing to work closely and in a positive manner with the Japanese government to move ahead quickly on this critical issue. We hope that Japan recognizes the benefits of the Hague Convention, including for Japanese nationals, and will join over 80 nations, including our eight nations, in becoming party to the Convention. At the same time, we reiterate our call for Japan to identify and implement interim measures to enable parents who are separated from their children to maintain contact with them and ensure visitation rights, and to establish a framework for resolution of current child abduction cases.

Japan is an important friend and partner for each of our countries, and we share many values. We hope the participation of many Japanese officials at the symposium, as well as the recent statements by the Government of Japan, demonstrates that the issue is being treated very seriously. We believe this shared concern can and should serve as the basis for developing solutions now to all cases of parental child abduction in Japan.