International divorce 

In line with the increasingly active movement of people around the globe, more Japanese people have been marrying foreign citizens in recent years. 

In 1996, there were about 28,000 bicultural couples among 795,000 total marriages, for a total percentage of about 3.5%. In 2006, there were about 45,000 international couples among the 731,000 married that year, bringing the percentage to 6.1%. 

At the same time, the number of divorces has also surged. In 1996, about 8,000 of 199,000 (approximately 4.0%) of divorces were bicultural couples, but these numbers had jumped in 2006 to 17,000 and 257,000 respectively—bringing the percentage to 7.0. After the number of international marriages peaked in 2006, the number of international divorces also peaked in 2009. 

Even worse, there were a significant number of controversial cases reported from countries like the US, UK, Canada, and France where the Japanese parent would take the couple’s children to Japan without the permission of their ex-spouses. At the same time, many children were forcibly taken out of Japan by their non-Japanese parent. 
In a limited sense, the term “international divorce” refers to a divorce between a Japanese and non-Japanese citizen as described above. However, in the broadest sense, the term includes divorces involving Japanese couples living overseas as well as foreign couples living in Japan. 
International divorce cases come with numerous problems beyond those that arise when two Japanese citizens living in Japan divorce. 

CAST offers professional advice to those who are struggling with problems stemming from an international divorce. We welcome your questions and are here to address your concerns at any time.


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