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Diet Feb 25 2019 Rep Kushida questions PM Abe
English translation and Japanese transcript
Transcript - English translation
The 198th Diet session, House of Representatives, Budget Committee, intensive discussion hearing

16:31–17:00 pm February 25, 2019

Mr. Seiichi Kushida (Japan Innovation Party)


Seiichi Kushida Member of the House of Representatives:

            Yes, I am Seiichi Kushida belonging to the Japan Innovation Party.


            I think a country that is friendly to animals is probably gentle to humans as well. Also, I think a country that is unfriendly to animals is probably ungentle to humans, and I would like to ask about the next issue about children.

            I'm showing you the second panel. This is the [UN] Convention on the Rights of the Child (the CRC), which has been discussed frequently as a matter of corporal punishment to discipline children recently (*1). Japan has signed the CRC in 1994. And there are 196 countries that agree with this. Now that there are less than 200 countries in the world, so it is no exaggeration that almost all countries agree with this treaty. From the CRC, today I have excerpted four articles from the text, among other things. Firstly, Article 4 states that this convention should be legislative and administrative measures, this is usual. Beyond signing the treaty, let's maintain its law properly in the country.

            Among them, today I'm showing Article 7 and Article 18. According to these Articles, the child is educated by parents, Article 7. In Article 18, it is supposed that parents have joint responsibility for child rearing and development. Each country keeps trying to do this diligently.

            Next, please see the third panel, when it is asked what is "rearing together," it will be called joint parental authority. In Japan, this means that parents have joint parental authority during marriage. After divorce, joint parental authority is common for G7 countries other than Japan; it does not change. However, Japan alone has had sole parental authority. Though this is written as "G7 countries other than Japan,” when I thought about writing "most countries," it was suggested "most countries” is ambiguous, so I put it as "G7 countries other than Japan.” As far as "most countries" are concerned, 196 countries agree that parents jointly rear [their children] as written in the CRC. That is why it is commonplace for a country where this treaty is concluded to have joint parental authority. To say that, searching for a country with a different parental authority is searching for a country that has not concluded the treaty, or searching for a country that has not kept their promises despite signing the treaty. Then, as you can see, it cannot be helped [to conclude] but that Japan does not keep promises.

            At the last budget committee hearing, I cited the "Oooka Judgment" as an example of what kind of problem this is. Parents come to Oooka Echizen(*2) saying I'm the one who should be the PARENT who gets custody. Oooka Echizen have the parents pull the child’s hands from both sides. Then, when the child cries it hurts, one parent releases the child’s hand. So, when the other parent says, "I did it" and takes the child away, Oooka Echizen said the parent who releases the hand when the child cries should be the PARENT. Now I thought that the Japanese system gives priority to pulling out the hand of a child, but there is one thing to add. Certainly, it is parental love when the child cries ‘it hurts,’ and the parent lets go of the child. Well, in the case of Oooka Echizen, it is written like a bad guy who continued pulling the child’s hand, but I don't think so. No matter how much the child cries, even though it hurts, I think that parents who are pulling the child’s hand while shedding tears think that only he can make this child happy again. In essence, who is the person who suffers most while being pulled by both parents? It's the child. Therefore, let's stop fighting like this; just as in the CRC, we will nurture children jointly. Isn't it the CRC to stop such a dispute of deciding one or the other?

            Minister of Justice, why does Japan have sole parental authority?


Chairperson: Minister of Justice Takashi Yamashita.


Takashi Yamashita Minister of Justice:

            I will answer. Regarding interpretation of provisions of the CRC, it is not under our jurisdiction. However, we think domestic law is defined and operated according to the principle of the CRC. And first of all, to tell you the reason why there is sole parental authority after divorce in our country, parental authority has a special meaning in the civil law. In the civil law, the person who has parental authority should decide on custody and education, on property management, or on determining residence. This kind of thing includes exercising timely and appropriate parental authority. In the case where parents are divorced and do not live in a communal life, it is thought that it is difficult to exercise communication properly between parents, eventually making it impossible to make decisions, and it is difficult to exercise appropriate parental authority in a timely manner. There are also things that husband and wife cannot expect cooperation and exercise parental authority in the first place, as in the case where emotional confrontation between parents is deep-rooted. From these points, there is sole parental authority after divorce, but the current law amended in Heisei 23 (2011) states that when parents divorce in consultation, the parents determine [the following]l by consultation: the custodian of the child, parent-child meetings and other meetings, the allocation of expenses required for custody, other necessary matters concerning the custody of the child, the child's interest is the highest priority to be considered, and when the consultation is not completed, the family court will determine these. In such a way, we are steadily working on the interests of this child.


Chairperson: Mr. Kushida.


Seiichi Kushida Member of the House of Representatives:

            Every time, it is truly miserable to hear the reason. We cannot talk to each other because it's too emotional. Other countries, don't they do it? Is it that only Japanese are emotional citizens? Every time I receive such an explanation, I feel sorry very much. And on the 7th of this month, a recommendation was made by the United Nations Child Rights Committee. At the last diet committee hearing, Minister Kono also translated this. I also copied the phrase to summarize it as "amend the law to approve joint parental authority,” this is a recommendation.

            Minister Kono, how is Japan currently in violation of the CRC?


Chairperson: Foreign Minister Mr. Taro Kono.


Foreign Minister Taro Kono:

            The CRC stipulates that the State Party shall make best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that parents are jointly responsible for the care and development of the child. There is no stipulation of an explicit statement about the introduction of a joint parental authority system.


Chairperson: Mr. Kushida.


Seiichi Kushida Member of the House of Representatives:

            Last year there was a letter of protest from the 26 EU countries to former Minister Kamikawa, and this time the recommendation was issued by the UNCRC. Despite these facts, the government insists that this country does not violate the treaty, like Foreign Minister Kono. I think that this is a sad thing. And as the reason for that, parents cannot communicate with each other because they are too emotional. Every country is doing this. Why is it that only Japan cannot do that? I truly think that it is sad.

            And, I mentioned earlier about pulling from both [parents]. What is the meaning of pulling? This happens on the mother's side a lot. Then, the pulling mother will keep telling the child that your father is a terrible person. The reason she is doing so is to decide only one custodial person. When the father subsequently submits to family court a motion to determine the parental authority, an inspector comes from the family court. Although the inspector sees the current environment of the child, it is very important to check the child's will. At that time, if a child says that he wants to return to his father's place, the mother who took the child should return the child.  Because of her sense of such a crisis, the mother has to keep saying to the child that "Your father is a terrible man; he did terrible things to me; when someone comes, you should say, 'I don't want to return because I'm scared.' "  This is to have the child say so. She will have no choice but to do this kind of thing.

            Even so, I do not think the mother is doing something wrong. Although other countries have properly joint parental authority, this country requires deciding sole parental authority, because this country has sole parental authority and sole custody, this is a fight between mother and father. So, parents have to keep doing such kind of things.

            It is said that children to whom such things are done tend to contract mental disorders as proven by the WHO. A child who keeps being told so by the mother that he/she may look like Dad. While looking at the mirror, how does the child feel about looking like the father who is being spoken about badly? I would like you to think about the child’s feeling.

            And the father, he will not be able to meet the child. Since the mother may lose the parental right by allowing child and father to meet after the abduction, she hides the child after all. It is said that the suicide rate of fathers who cannot meet their child is high.

            And, it is not just father or mother. Even Grandpa and Grandma lose their grandchild. If there is joint parental authority and joint custody, the child will be raised gently with the paternal and maternal grandparents. However, since parental authority is taken only by one side, child-parent meeting is absolutely not accepted. When it comes to such a thing, grandpa and grandma cannot even meet their adorable grandchild.

            And the mother, who doesn't want to lose the child, who doesn't let the child to meet even if she wants to do so, will become a single-parent family. Doing so will make life more difficult. As a father, it is very dissatisfying because even if he covers his child support expenses, he cannot meet his child. If it is joint custody, he will try to pay more than the child-care expenses, and in case of grandpa and grandma, they would like to buy a school bag or to give a cram school fee, etc. If it is a single-parent family that needs public welfare, it is tax that supports that life. There is nothing good about any of this.

            Prime Minister Abe, in such circumstances, I would like to hear your frank opinions now.


Chairperson: Before that, from the Minister of Justice. Shortly please.


Takashi Yamashita Minister of Justice:

            I answer as a premise. What Mr. Kushida has pointed out now are the right to meet children, and parental authority that is the right to decide residence, education, and so on. I think it is necessary to distinguish them.

            Regarding parental authority, certainly, we have to decide on either [parent], so I explained that there are reasons for such legislation of sole parental authority to decide residence, education, and so on.

            On the other hand, as for the right of meeting or not, for example as I mentioned earlier, in the revision of the civil law in Heisei 23 (2011), let me point out that it is clearly stated in the Civil Code that, it is necessary to decide required matters of sharing the expenses required for visitation and subsequent meeting or custody at the time of divorce by consultation, when the consultation is not settled, the court declares them.


Chairperson: Prime Minister Abe. Are you going to ask questions, Mr. Kushida?


Seiichi Kushida Member of the House of Representatives:

            I will ask you again one more time later, but in reality, foreign countries are having a lot of hardships.

            In the United States, a person named James Cook, who is called the father of joint custody, started the movement from California. At that time, it was still sole [custody]. In 1979, the Joint Custody Statute came into effect [in California], now it has been applied in 50 States.

            In fact actually, Germany also had sole parental authority. However, since the Federal Constitutional Court ruled in a judgment in 1982 that it is unconstitutional, they were going to develop legislation for joint parental authority in the country.

            Every country has a hard time since it is hard to communicate in the manner of the situation of breaking up. But as a child's right, children wonder what is happy, and didn’t the world make the CRC by gathering wisdom from each other? So, Japan also ratified this, did it not?

            I'm not trying to impose my idea. Because the world is doing it, does not mean that I will try to imitate it. Japan concluded this treaty in 1994. We have received recommendations from the United Nations repeatedly that we do not comply with it. I think it is necessary as a responsibility of the government to comply with this.

            And last year, there was a non-compliant citation in a report of the Hague Convention (US DoS annual Hague compliance report). This is about parental child abduction from other countries to Japan. Such things happen rampantly in Japan because parental abduction is the most effective way, so parents abduct their children from foreign countries.

            And the US criticized Japan for it, very strongly. It is a criticism of this non-compliant country. The word at the time is "abduction"(*3). This is kidnapping, it is the same as having been cited by the United States as a recidivist country of abduction. In a way like this, the Minister for Foreign Affairs said that there is no contravention of the treaty earlier, it is not a matter of whether this country is non-compliant or not. The US thinks it is non-compliant, Europe thinks it is non-compliant. I think that we humbly need to follow these kinds of issues.

            I'm not criticizing the Abe administration. It was at the time of the coalition cabinet in 1994 when this treaty was concluded. The LDP & Komeito administration could not settle these issues. The Democratic Party of Japan administration could not settle it either. Because these are very difficult tasks, for child abduction, we have to make criminal penalties for disposition. On the other hand, we have to protect the DV victims too. Other countries are doing it with sharing wisdom, but Japan puts the burden to the forefront. Therefore, the status quo will be maintained, so parental child abduction will be rampant. Then, parental child abduction becomes the most effective means.

            Prime Minister Abe, Umm.., now, I'd like you to think about what kind of young people are good for the young people who support Japan. On one hand, even if the parents are separated because of various reasons, those children who receive nurturing from both parents are better to support Japan. On the other hand, those children who keep being told that your father is a bad man, is it better for children like this to hate a real parent, to grow up, and support Japan? Prime Minister Abe, as we have concluded this treaty, please declare clearly that you are proceeding to a law amendment that obeys this treaty before the people who are watching.


Chairperson: Prime Minister Abe.


Prime Minister Abe:

            Regarding the treaty, Minister Kono answered about whether Japan is fulfilling its obligation or not. Minister of Justice Yamashita answered about the viewpoint of the government, and apart from parental authority, we are dealing with the matter of parent-child meetings.

            Meanwhile, as I'm listening to the story of Kushida, I also feel that "it is reasonable.” I can understand well that as a child, he/she would like to see the father as well as the mother, would like to see mom and dad, I feel like that. With regard to this issue, we have discussions today, taking into account the situation of discussions at the Diet. I would like to consider dissemination at the Ministry of Justice under the jurisdiction of the Civil Code.


Chairperson: Mr. Kushida.


Seiichi Kushida Member of the House of Representatives:

            Yes, since I think Prime Minister Abe has various worries, so please join us for our party's Future Co-Creation lab. Then, I think Mr. Urano who is sitting next to me will reply with heartfelt answers. I would like you to consider all means. As time has come [to an end], my questions are over. Thank you very much.


Chairperson: With this, Mr. Kushida's session has ended.


*1: Japanese news media focuses the 2019, 7th Feb. UNCRC recommendation as a matter of corporal punishment only.

"Even if it is light, corporal punishment should be completely banned, CRC"


"Complete ban of corporal punishment, Recommendation of legislation by the UNCRC"

     (" The UN 'Japan to improve anti corporal punishment law for Children' "


*2: Oooka Echizen is a judge who lived in the Edo era (about 300 years ago). He is famous in period dramas.

*3: The Japanese word corresponding to "Parental child abduction" is more like "child taking away" or "parent separately with child".


Transcript creation date: March 1, 2019

Copy creator: Kizuna CPR (

Related articles: "The Supreme Court of Japan has decided not to judge (to ignore) the arguments raised about violation of the Constitution of Japan, UNCRC, and the principle of the Hague Abduction Convention caused by parental child abduction within Japan."




第198回国会 衆議院 予算委員会 集中審議


質疑者 串田 誠一(日本維新の会)

















 お答え致します。児童の権利条約の条文の解釈につきましては 所管外ということではあるんですが、ただですね、我々としては児童の権利条約の趣旨に沿って国内法を、定義あるいは運用しているというふうに考えております。そして、まずは我が国におけるですね、離婚後は単独親権にしているという理由についてお伝えいたしますと、まずは親権にはですね、これは特別な意味が民法上ございまして、民法上、子の監護や教育に関する意思決定をしなければない、あるいは財産管理の権限、あるいは居所を定める権限、というものは親権者が定めるということになっております。こういったことかなというのは、適時適切な権限の行使、これが必要なものが含まれているわけでございますが、父母が離婚して共同生活を送っていない場合には、父母間で意思疎通をうまく図れずに、結局、意思決定ができないような状態、適時適切な親権の行使が難しいということもあると考えられます。特に父母間の感情的な対立が根深い場合のように、そもそも夫婦が協力して親権を行使することを期待することはできない、ということもございます。そういったことから単独親権ということに、離婚後はなっておるわけでございますが、現行法におきましても平成23年の改正の際にですね、父母が協議上の離婚する時には、子の監護をすべき者あるいは面会その他の交流、子の監護に要する費用の分担、その他子の監護について必要な事項は協議で定める、子の利益を最も優先して考慮する、あるいは協議が整わないときには家庭裁判所がこれを定める、というような形で、この児童の利益、それをしっかりと図っているところでございます。





























































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