High Court Backs Constitutionality of Paternity Denial

Society

Osaka, Aug. 30 (Jiji Press)--Osaka High Court on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling recognizing that a Civil Code clause that allows only husbands to disavow their paternity of their wives' children does not violate the constitution's guarantee of gender equality.

Presiding Judge Toshiko Eguchi said that the Civil Code provision is reasonable to some extent, rejecting an appeal filed by a woman in her 60s in the western city of Kobe, her first daughter and two grandchildren against a ruling by Kobe District Court last November. The plaintiffs intend to appeal against the latest ruling.

According to the district court ruling, the woman started to live separately from her then husband about 30 years ago due to violence by him and had her first daughter with another man before she was divorced.

But because of another Civil Code provision assuming that the fathers of children carried by women during marriage are their husbands, the birth registration for the Kobe woman's first daughter with the man claimed to be her father was not accepted.

Worrying about making any contact with the former husband, the woman gave up on asking him to file a lawsuit to disavow his paternity of the daughter. The woman's first daughter and her two grandchildren had not been recognized under the Japanese family registration system until 2016.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press