Now that Japan has elected to ratify the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, some are hoping that the country’s new treaty obligations will lead to reforms of Japan’s domestic family laws. Japanese courts currently tend to award sole custody to one parent – usually the child’s mother – and it is not uncommon for the father-child relationship to be permanently severed following the parents’ seperation or divorce. Some are advocating for movement toward a shared parenting regime. READ MORE: Debate awaits on child custody pact, The Japan Times (May 22, 2011).