Setting: Tokyo, November 2009
AU/fantasy storyline revolving around a group of friends, the oldest of whom is nineteen.
Cut for potential triggering: child abuse
The secondary male character (A) in my book is a teenager who for four years, has been abused by his father and stepmother. In the timeline, his best friend returns from America with a degree in business management. When said best friend finds out about the abuse, he takes A home, and the two of them decide that it's in A's best interest to stay there instead.
The problem I'm having is this: A is seventeen, a minor. In order to be away from his family, would he have to apply for emancipation? Is it possible that a court could decide against emancipation and simply put him in a home instead? Or would it be a more plausible theory to say that A's father simply doesn't care enough to go looking for him, and A just "slips through the cracks"?
His best friend (R) is nineteen, has his own job and apartment, and is more than able to take care of A until he turns eighteen. Can A remain with R without notifying anyone of his circumstances, or would he be forced to go back to his parents? R has the means to take care of A, but what would it take to become his legal guardian if it comes to that? So far, I've avoided bringing the law in, but I could use a little clarification.
A has managed to conceal the fact that he's been abused up to the point where R comes back to Japan, if that's of any further help.
Research terms used: Japanese adoption laws, Japanese laws on emancipation, history of law in Japan, the international laws of the rights of a child, a guide to emancipation, Japanese children who require protection, and further combinations of the above-mentioned search terms, also, this community.
EDIT: Thank you to all the community members who assisted me with this, the help is much appreciated :)