The U.S. is hinting that Japan's handling of international child custody cases could hurt relations between the two countries.
In a visit to Tokyo, Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said "child abduction" issues have to be resolved "in order to ensure that U.S.-Japan relations continue on such a positive course."
Japanese law allows only one parent to have custody of children in divorce cases. Most of the time that's the mother. That leaves many fathers, including foreigners, unable to see their children in Japan until they are grown.
Right now there are more than 75 cases of American parents who can't see their children in Japan.
One case is that of American Christopher Savoie, who was arrested in Japan after he snatched his two children from his Japanese ex-wife. The ex-wife had violated a U.S. court custody order by taking the children from Tennessee to Japan. Savoie was eventually released and allowed to leave the country -- without his children.