Recently, as the number of international marriages has increased, there have been cases in which one parent, whose marriage has faced a difficulty and who has a different nationality from their spouse, takes their child back to their home country against the law of the country of residence. Such cases have caused concern, and the following points regarding Japanese passport applications for minors in relation to the child custody issue should be noted.
Regarding the application for Japanese passports for minors, Japan issues passports using the signature of a custodian as a legal representative on the application form. However, if the other parent has expressed their disagreement* on the issuance of the child's passport to the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh beforehand, the passport will usually be issued after the verification of the consent of both parents. In this verification process, the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh checks in principle with the parent who disagreed beforehand on the issuance of the child's passport as to whether they are now willing to submit a "Letter of Consent for a Passport Application". The passport will be issued after the submission of this letter.
*The expression of disagreement should be made in principle with a signed document, attaching a supporting document which demonstrates that the adult has parental authority.
In the UK, a parent taking a child abroad without consent of their spouse who has parental authority is subject to criminal liability (please see Directgov's information). There are cases in which parents taking a child abroad have been arrested for child abduction on re-entering the country, or have been placed on the international wanted list of the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO). To prevent this from befalling Japanese citizens, the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh is verbally confirming the agreement of both parents on the application for the child's passport, even if there is no declaration of disagreement from one parent.
For passport application procedures, please contact the Consular Section.
Tel: 0131 225 4777 (please select 2 for English guidance and then 1 for passport enquiries)