Japan and International Abduction

A friend recently reported when applying for Japanese passport for his daughter of dual citizenship, the Japanese embassy called to ask if the father had given permission to do so.

This makes me wonder if they asked only the Japanese parent. I also wonder whether a verbal acknowledgement by the Japanese parent that the non-Japanese parent had given consent was sufficient grounds to approve this requirement, whatever it is. Do they require written permission? Is permission of the non-Japanese parent required if the Japanese parent applies for citizenship back in Japan? Would citizenship be granted only after reviewing divorce papers issued overseas?

Japan is coming under increasing international criticism over the issue of abduction of children by Japanese parents. Japanese courts seldom grant non-Japanese parents access to children, even in cases where joint custody was established in overseas divorce proceedings. Japan is one of the few major countries that has not signed the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

This looks like another lame attempt by the Japanese government to pretend it is doing something to deflect international criticism, without actually doing anything.