Couples Sues Japanese Government To End the Same Surname Law

Couples Sues Japanese Government To End the Same Surname Law
Image credit : kyonntra

Six couples sued the Japanese government regarding a law that makes it mandatory for married couples to share the same surname. This old custom has now faced legal troubles as many people argue that it promotes inequality and harms the personal identity of individuals.

The suit was filed on Friday in a district court in Tokyo by ten plaintiffs and a Sapporo couple. Interestingly, the date that the suit was filed coincides with that of International Women’s Day, which makes the whole debate quite ironic. It is claimed that this age-old practice discriminates and affects women the most. If the Supreme Court finds the practice unconstitutional, the country’s parliament will review it.

As per a report from Bloomberg, there have been battles previously as well. However, they were constantly rejected by the top court. People are becoming more concerned about the compliances that women face in the professional workspace. Ultimately, it motivates the lawyers and plaintiffs responsible for the recent lawsuit. 

The same surname system initially started in 1898. Japan had approved several laws in order to give a legal status to the patriarchal family system. Moreover, it allows men to adopt the surnames of their wives, but mainly, it’s the wife who changes her surname. Nowadays, a large number of women are pursuing their careers, along with managing the chores within a family. Those who continue to use their previous names at the workplace face several difficulties because of the inconsistency in their legal and business name.

Bloomberg also reported that some of the citizens are actually facing a lot of issues because of this system. A plaintiff, Megumi Ueda, revealed that she could not get legally married as she wanted to keep her identity. However, she had to give up the parental rights of her child, as Japan does not allow joint custody, and her partner was the one who got it. 

About the author

Shubhangi Srivastava

Shubhangi is a budding professional with a love for storytelling and an eye for detail. A journalism student and content enthusiast currently working at Tecuy Media. She is eager to bring freshness to the writing field and explore the world through her words.

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