Japan’s Ministry of Justice has made a move to clearly define rules and guidelines for international divorce disputes which are handled by Japan’s family courts, this revealed by sources close to the matter on Tuesday. There has been a clamor for Japan to do this, especially with the increase of child custody disputes between Japanese and non-Japanese couples during divorce. These rules may enable the faster resolution of such issues, the sources claimed.
Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki of the Justice Ministry is set to bring the matter before the Legislative Council at a meeting scheduled for Feb. 7. Sources said that the Japanese government will be taking the necessary legislative steps so that a new law regarding this issue could be implemented as early as 2015. There are rules that govern civil disputes, usually involving Japanese consumers and foreign companies, but no such rules govern disputes in areas usually handled by family courts, such as divorce, probate and child-parent relations. Presently, the family courts decide how to handle specific cases by looking at details of past cases. The resolution of these cases can sometimes take years as the parties involved have to determine whether Japanese courts have jurisdiction over their cases in the first place.
As such, the ministry’s officials are now discussing what cases should be handled by the country’s family courts. As of the moment, currently accepted are those cases where present addresses of defendants are in Japan. There is a lot of support for Japanese courts having jurisdiction over cases in where current addresses of plaintiffs are in Japan and their spouses lived in the country during marriage, as well as in cases in where the addresses of the plaintiffs are in Japan while the whereabouts of the defendants are unknown. Some officials are also proposing to include in Japan’s jurisdiction cases in which only one of the two parties live in Japan.
[via Japan Times]