Factsheet, pg 5

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Embassy of Japan
2520 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20008-2869
Tel: (202) 939-6700

Japan also has Consulates in Tamuning, Guam; Anchorage, Alaska; Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; Houston, Texas; Miami, Florida; Kansas City, Missouri; Los Angeles, California; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York, New York; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and Saipan, Mariana Islands.

U.S. EMBASSY (and Consulates) IN JAPAN: Americans living or traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov/, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within the country of travel. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The Consular Section is located at:

Mailing Addresses
U.S. Embassy Tokyo
Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visas
Unit 45004 Box 205
APO AP 96337-5004

Box 205
1-10-5 Akasaka Minato-ku
Tokyo 107-8420, Japan
Tel: (81)(3) 3224-5000
Fax: (81)(3) 3505-1862

The United States also has Consulates in Naha, Osaka-Kobe, Sapporo, Fukuoka, and Nagoya.

Note: Visa issuance after the final interview now generally takes 24 hours and it will not normally be possible to provide the visa to adoptive parents on the day of the interview.

TIME FRAME: Adopting a child through the Family Court requires at least nine months, sometimes longer. The Family Court imposes no time limit on when an adoption must be completed.

COSTS: Although costs can vary widely, the average total cost of adoption in Japan is approximately $20,000. This includes fees for the Family Court, adoption agency, immigration processing, airfare, lodging, and document translations and authentications. Adoption agency fees range from $800 to $60,000, so the overall cost of the adoption often depends on which agency the parents choose. Parents may incur additional costs when adopting non-Japanese children or children with medical problems

DISSOLVING A JAPANESE ADOPTION: For regular adoptions anyone fifteen years old and above can apply to dissolve a regular adoption. If the adopted child and the adoptive parents agree to dissolve the adoption, they must file a request for dissolution at the City or Ward office. The Family Court does not get involved. If an adopted child is under the age of fifteen, the child's legal representative must file the request. If the parties cannot agree to dissolve a regular adoption, the Family Court may consider the dissolution. In this case, the natural parent(s) or anyone with legal responsibility over the child may apply for the dissolution. The Family Court is likely to dissolve a regular adoption if it finds that one of the parties has maliciously deserted the others, the whereabouts of the adopted child or adoptive parents has been unknown for three years, or there are "grave reasons" for dissolving the adoption.

Most dissolutions are by mutual consent and involve adult adopters. Over 90 percent of adoptions in Japan involve non-minors, stepchildren, or prominent son-less families who adopt sons-in-law to pass on the family name. When a regular adoption is dissolved, the formerly adopted child reacquires the legal obligation to care for the natural parents.

For special adoptions an adopted child, the natural parents, or a prosecutor may apply to the Family Court to dissolve a special adoption. According to the Civil Code, the Family Court may only dissolve a special adoption under the following circumstances: (1) "the fact that there is cruel treatment or malicious desertion by an adopter, or other cause seriously harmful to the benefits of an adopted child; and (2) the fact that the birth parents can take proper care and custody." If a special adoption is dissolved, the child will acquire the same civil status and rights held prior to the adoption.

OBTAINING A PASSPORT FOR AN ADOPTED CHILD: An adopted foreign child is not a U.S. citizen from the moment of adoption. If the child is a Japanese citizen, adoptive parents must obtain a Japanese passport for the child from Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Only the child's natural or adoptive parent or legal guardian may apply for a passport on behalf of the minor child. Japanese passports issued to minors are normally valid for five years from the date of issue and may be renewed at a Japanese Embassy or Consulate abroad.

If the child is not a Japanese citizen, the child will need to apply for a passport from his/her home country's embassy. If the adopted child is stateless or from a country that does not share diplomatic relations with Japan, the child may apply for a re-entry permit from Japan's Ministry of Justice. The Japanese government does not control the international movement of children who hold Japanese citizenship or legal residency.

Credits: U.S. Department of State

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