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Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2007

LIFELINES

Healthy eating and divorce


Food therapist?

M. wonders if we know someone who does food therapy in Tokyo.

"My son has terrible eating habits and although he is growing up well, we feel he needs to eat better. He is 8-years-old and eating just the same things: pizza, pasta (with just oil and salt), plain rice or with lentil sauce, rice and lentils cooked together, fries, yogurt and milk.

"He doesn't eat any fish, meat, veg, fruit or cakes. He eats little junk, few sweets and his parents have cut down on his soft drinks. He seems to have some mental block," his mother says. "We're tired of nagging him about the same thing three times a day."

Dear M: There is the very real likelihood here that your son is digging in his toes simply because he is being nagged three times a day. In the main, children tend to find their own way to healthy eating.

But you ask for help in extending his diet, so I suggest you talk with Daniel Babu, a nutritionist and naturopath in Meijiro, near Shinkuku. He has a tremendous knowledge of foods and herbs and their healing properties and is much respected. Phone or fax (03) 3950-0503.

Divorce info

American X and his Japanese wife have been together many years after marrying in the United States. But because of "different mindsets" they are now considering divorce.

X has read and been told that under current regulations or guidelines established by the Japanese Government, divorce between a Japanese citizen and a foreigner must be obtained in the country where the marriage ceremony took place. "I would be most grateful for information citing where this legal matter resides, or at least where I might locate it."

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo has a homepage on the subject: japan.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-7117.html

This explains that there are basically four types of divorce in Japan. Divorce by agreement ("kyogi rikon") through a Ward Office; divorce by mediation -- because agreement cannot be reached in private -- in a family court ("chotei rikon"); divorce by decision of the family court where mediation fails ("shimpan rikon"); divorce by judgment of a district court ("saiban rikon") because a family court fails to reach a decision.

As to whether Americans can get a ward office divorce, the answer is: "Since Jan. 1, 1990, Japanese law has allowed 'mutual consent divorce' in cases where at least one spouse is a Japanese national. Thus, 'mutual consent divorces' between American citizens and their Japanese citizen spouses are now legal in Japan.

"As with marriage registration, the American spouse need not be physically present at the ward office to register the divorce providing that the registration documents have been properly signed and sealed beforehand by both parties."

As to your question about the validity of a Japanese divorce in the U.S.: "Be warned . . . the United States has no procedure for extra-judicial divorce and the legality of this procedure in various states in the U.S. is uncertain." Basically, you need to check the law in the state in which you got married.

Send your queries, questions, problems and posers to lifelines@japantimes.co.jp


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