Tokyo Court Finds Dual Surname Ban Constitutional


Tokyo, March 25 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo District Court ruled Monday that a family register law provision banning married couples from using different surnames does not violate the constitutional guarantee of the equality of all of the people.

Presiding Judge Tetsuro Nakayoshi dismissed a petition by Yoshihisa Aono, 47, president of computer software developer Cybozu Inc. <4776>, and three other plaintiffs seeking a total of 2.2 million yen in damages from the government for what they claimed to be emotional pain they suffered due to the law provision.

In 2015, Japan's Supreme Court ruled that a Civil Code provision requiring Japanese married couples to use the same family name is constitutional. The plaintiff side sought the freedom to choose separate surnames by focusing on the family register law, which stipulates procedures to change names after marriage.

The plaintiffs claimed that it was "unreasonable discrimination" that the law gives Japanese married couples no choice over the use of family name while granting Japanese citizens married to foreign nationals the option of using different surnames and allowing those who divorce to continue using the same family names or to go back to their original names.

For its part, the government requested that the claim be dismissed, saying that as the law follows the Civil Code provision, it is impossible to give such permission under the law, which would go against the code.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press