The Japanese Government has finally agreed to ratify the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, also known as the Hague Convention.
Australia has previously made a numerous representations to Japan encouraging it to ratify the Hague Convention.
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Attorney-General Robert McClelland said on Friday (20 May) they welcomed the Japanese Government's decision.
"The Hague Convention is an important, proven law-based instrument to manage international parental abduction and access cases," Rudd said.
"Once ratified, the Convention will provide a new mechanism to assist to resolve international parental abduction cases with Japan affecting Australian citizens."
McClelland said Australia would continue to work with Japan on the sensitive issue of parental abduction of children as it moved towards acceding to the Convention.
"This decision by Japan brings it into closer conformity with the practice of other countries such as Australia, and is a positive step forward for Japan within the international community," he said.
"The Australian Government is committed to doing everything it can to ensure the return to Australia of children who are wrongfully removed to or retained in another country."
Japan will be the 86th nation to ratify the Convention. Australia acceded to the Convention in 1987.