Japan is moving to allow joint child custody after divorce in a reversal of centuries of tradition and a response to the plight of parents who are barred by law from seeing their young children.
The country’s ministry of justice will make the recommendation over the summer after years of foreign pressure to bring Japanese law into line with those of other western democracies. Under current civil law, only one parent can have legal custody of children after divorce.
The rules apply to everyone but are particularly resented by foreign ex-spouses of Japanese citizens, who sometimes find their children taken away from them with little legal recourse.
The system has its roots in the traditional conception of marriage in Japan as a union not of