Washington International Law Journal


Current Japanese legal institutions are ill-equipped to resolve the complicated issues surrounding visitation, custody, and divorce. Japanese views toward family and society have changed greatly since the post-World War II family law was enacted in the 1950s, but the law has not evolved accordingly. This is especially clear in the methods used to determine custody and visitation, as well as the kyōgi rikon, or divorce by mutual consent system. Policy makers and activists are both working to resolve this problem, but their ongoing struggle has yet to produce any tangible results. This comment argues that the Japanese legal system must be reformed to allow for joint custody and to create a presumption for reasonable visitation, and the kyōgi rikon system must be changed to grant greater protections to all parties, including requiring a detailed parenting plan to provide for the children’s welfare and continued relationship with both parents.

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