Japan Top Court Backs Constitutionality of Paternity Denial


Tokyo, Feb. 7 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Supreme Court has upheld lower court rulings that a Civil Code clause allowing only husbands to disavow paternity of their wives' children does not violate the Constitution's guarantee of gender equality.

The top court's Second Petty Bench dismissed the appeal in a unanimous decision by the four justices, with the final judgement on the case dated Wednesday. The court did not make a constitutional judgment.

The Civil Code allows husbands to file a disavowal of their paternity within one year of learning about the birth of the child. The law also has a clause stipulating that children conceived by women during marriage are assumed to be the offspring of their mothers' husbands.

In August 2018, Osaka High Court found the clause allowing only husbands to disavow paternity to be constitutional, upholding a Kobe District Court ruling in November 2017.

The high court said that wives are not parties to father-child relationship while husbands have a direct interest in denying paternity because they would be exempted from child support duty and be able to exclude the child from their heirs.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press