Factsheet, pg 3

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AGE AND CIVIL STATUS REQUIREMENTS: Japanese law allows two types of adoptions: special and regular. (Please see details above.) In special adoptions, one of the adoptive parents must be over the age of 25 and the other must be at least 20 years old. Depending on the applicable U.S. State law, the Family Court may allow single parents to adopt on a case-by-case basis.

ADOPTION AGENCIES IN JAPAN: All adoption agencies in Japan are privately operated. There are attorneys; however, they aren't necessarily recommended and aren't required for processing adoptions. As far as adoption agencies, they are not necessary; however they are only used if recommended/required by the host county government. If prospective adoptive parents would like to obtain a list of adoption agencies, they can contact the Embassy of Tokyo.

DOCTORS: The U.S. Embassy maintains current lists of doctors and sources for medicines, should either you or your child experience health problems while in Japan.

JAPANESE DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS: Prospective parents must assemble and present several documents, notarized, certified, or authenticated as appropriate, to the Family Court, including:

  • Birth certificate and/or family register of all parties;
  • Copy of passport, Japanese visa, and Alien Registration card;
  • Copy of U.S. military ID (where applicable);
  • Marriage, divorce, and death certificates (where applicable);
  • Medical examination certificates;
  • Certificate of foster parent registration (where applicable);
  • Certificate of good conduct/no criminal record for each adoptive parent, issued by their home city or state police department;
  • Certificate of legal address, employment, and income;
  • Copy of any property ownership deeds and/or bank statements;
  • Biographic history of all parties;
  • Statement of consent to adopt by the child's natural parent(s) or guardian;
  • Statement of prospective parent(s) intent to adopt the identified child;
  • Pictures of all parties, preferably of parent(s) with the child;
  • Home Study approved by an authorized and licensed adoption agency;
  • Two character references.

*Note: This list is not definitive. The Family Court may require additional documents when it sees fit*

Japanese translations are required. The Family Court or City Office will require certified Japanese translations of all documents. The translator must execute a statement before a notary public attesting to the validity of the translation. The notary's seal must be authenticated, as well. Certified and authenticated documents: all civil documents must be certified and authenticated by the issuing authorities. U.S. civil records must bear the seal of the issuing office of record and be authenticated by an authorized state government official of the prospective parent(s)' state of domicile. The state government office should use an "apostille" certificate to authenticate the document. Tax returns, medical reports, and police certificates should also be notarized and authenticated. For more information about The Hague Legalization Convention "apostille" certificate, please contact the U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS, Washington, DC 20522 or look up http://travel.state.gov.

If the document's country of origin does not provide apostille services, the U.S. Embassy in that country may be able to authenticate a civil document, followed by an authentication by the U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS, Washington, DC 20522. All authenticated documents must be accompanied by a Japanese translation.

RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS: The Court will not consider adoption applications of those prospective parents who are in Japan on temporary visitor visas. At least one prospective parent must show evidence of long-term residence in Japan. When the adoption is finalized, at least one adoptive parent must appear before the court. Japanese law does not permit proxy adoptions.

Credits: U.S. Department of State

To see local Japan Adoption resources, please select a location (U.S. only):

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Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.

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