Adopting from Japan
The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed and qualified professional. While the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors.
In 1603, after decades of civil warfare, the Tokugawa shogunate (a military-led, dynastic government) ushered in a long period of relative political stability and isolation from foreign influence. For more than two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy a flowering of its indigenous culture. To learn more please read About Japan.
Japan Adoption Alert
Hague Convention Information
Japan is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Japan did not change for American citizens. To learn more please read about Japan and the Hague Convention.
Who Can Adopt
Who Can Be Adopted
How to Adopt
The process for adopting a child from Japan generally includes the following steps:
- Choose an Adoption Service Provider
- Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
- Be Matched with a Child
- Adopt the Child (or Gain Legal Custody) in Japan
- Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption
- Bring Your Child Home
To learn more about this process please read How to Adopt from Japan.
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Japan. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports. Getting or renewing a passport is easy. To learn more please read Traveling Abroad in Japan.
The adoptive parents need to work with the Japanese adoption service provider to have the child's name removed from the birth mother's family registry (koseki). This is important to the birth mother because she may have chosen intercountry adoption so that the child's name would be removed from her family registry.
Japanese children who are adopted by foreign parents and acquire a second nationality retain Japanese citizenship because they are not viewed as having acquired a second nationality by their own choice. According to Japanese law they should select their citizenship before reaching the age of 22.
What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.
Here are some good places to start your support group search:
NOTE: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
The Family Court and the Child Guidance Center (CGC) are administered at the local prefectural level and are often located in the City or Ward Office.
Embassy of Japan
Japan also has Consulates in Anchorage, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Miami, Kansas City (MO), Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Portland (OR), Saipan (Mariana Islands), San Francisco, Seattle, and Tamuning (Guam).
Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about immigration procedures, call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC)
1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)
Intercountry Adoption, Bureau of Consular Affairs. U.S. Department of State Country Information adoption.state.gov/country_information/country_specific_info.php?country-select=japan