JapanOfficial Name: Japan
Embassies and Consulates
1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku,
Tokyo 107-8420 Japan
Telephone: +(81) (3) 3224-5000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(81) (3) 3224-5000
Fax: +(81) (3) 3224-5856
U.S. Consulate General Osaka-Kobe
Kita-ku, Osaka 530-8543 Japan
Telephone: +(81) (6) 6315-5900
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(81) (6) 6315-5900
Fax: +(81) (6) 6315-5914
U.S. Consulate General Naha
2-1-1 Toyama, Urasoe City, Okinawa
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(81) (3) 3224-5000
U.S. Consulate General Sapporo
Kita 1-jo Nishi 28-chome, Chuo-ku,
Sapporo 064-0821, Japan
Telephone: +(81) (11) 641-1115
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(81) (11) 641-1115
Fax: +(81) (11) 643-1283
All assistance at the Consulate General Sapporo is by appointment only. Hours for appointments: 9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (except U.S. and Japanese holidays).
U.S. Consulate Fukuoka
5-26 Ohori 2-chome, Chuo-ku,
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 03-3224-5000 / +(81) (3) 3224-5000 (Embassy Tokyo)
Routine services are provided by appointment only. During regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. except Japanese and American holidays).
U.S. Consulate Nagoya
Nagoya International Center Bldg. 6th floor,
1-47-1 Nagono, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya 450-0001
Telephone: +(81) (52) 581-4501
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(81) (52) 581-4501
Fax: +(81) (52) 581-3190
Limited consular services for American citizens are available at Consulate Nagoya on an appointment basis. Appointments are usually scheduled on the second Wednesday of every month, when a consular officer from the American Consulate General Osaka-Kobe visits Nagoya.
Japan and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since April 1, 2014.
For information concerning travel to Japan, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Japan.
Hague Abduction Convention
The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention. In this capacity, the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Japan. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's
SA-17, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444
The Japan Central Authority (JCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Hague Convention Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Upon receipt of a new Hague application, the JCA will review the application and supporting documents and determine whether to accept the application. In cases where the applicant is not aware of the child’s location in Japan, the JCA attempts to find the child with the assistance of other Japanese authorities. Once the child has been located, the JCA will reach out to the taking parent, if appropriate, to encourage a voluntary resolution. The JCA coordinates mediation services for parents and legal guardians. The JCA coordinates referrals for attorneys in Japan and applications for legal aid. The JCA can be reached at:
To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Japan, the left-behind parent must submit a Hague application to the Japan Central Authority. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the JCA, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.
There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Japan central authorities. Attorney fees are the responsibility of the applicant parent. Parents may apply for a loan from the Japanese government to cover attorney fees and court costs. Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.
A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child under 16 years of age who is removed to, or retained in, Japan in which the removal or retention occurred on or after April 1, 2014. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Japan. The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand Japan-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.
Retaining an Attorney
In the event that the case is not resolved through a voluntary agreement between the parties or through mediation, the case proceeds to court. Parents or legal guardians are required to retain the services of an attorney in Japan. Attorney fees are the responsibility of the applicant parent. Parents may apply for a loan from the Japanese government to cover attorney fees and court costs. The Japanese Central Authority coordinates referrals for attorneys in Japan, and applications for legal aid.
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan posts a list of attorneys, including those who specialize in family law.
This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the persons or firms included in this list. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.
The Japan Central Authority encourages mediation for all Hague Abduction Convention applications, and both parties are given the opportunity to come to a mutual agreement before the application goes to court. A portion of Mediation fees is provided by the Japan Central Authority.
Exercising Custody Rights
It is important for parents to understand that, although a left behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a valid custody order, if the parent attempts to gain access to the child, the parent’s actions may be illegal in the country where the child is physically present and may ultimately delay the child’s return and even result in the parent’s detention. To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney. For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.
The U.S. government cannot legally interfere with the judicial system of another sovereign nation.
Left behind parents should report international parental child abductions as quickly as possible to the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues by calling 1-888-407-4747 from the United States and Canada and +1 202-501-4444 from overseas. This number is available 24 hours/day, including for emergency situations where a parent believes an international parental child abduction is in progress. During federal government business hours in Washington, D.C., country officers who are experts on international parental child abduction are available to provide assistance.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction.