The proceedings related to a Japanese child aged 7 who was born to Japanese parents. The parents married in September 2005 and separated in April 2013, whereupon they reached an agreement through mediation with the Family Court in Tokyo. This was entered onto the court record and provided that the mother would have primary care, the father regular overnight contact.
No consensus was reached about the removal of the child from Japan. Following further mediation, the parents had a disagreement about the mother’s wish to take the child to the United Kingdom for a year whilst she took up an academic post.
In late 2013 / early 2014, the father advised the British Embassy in Japan of his opposition to the mother securing a visa for the child. On 31 March 2014, the mother applied to the Tokyo Family Court for a variation of the mediation agreement in order to take the child to Britain for one year.
On the same day, the mother took the child to the United Kingdom. The child arrived without an entry visa. The father was contacted by a UK official as to whether he permitted the child to enter the country. The father gave his consent. He subsequently submitted that this was for a four week visit (the mother had purchased return tickets dated 28 April).
On 1 May, the father filed a return petition with the Japanese and English central authorities. On 20 May, the mother sent an email to the father seeking his consent for the child to remain in the United Kingdom during her stay. On 6 June 2014, the mother issued a second set of proceedings in the Tokyo Family Court seeking sole custody of the child.