'Family ties': Japan court rules against couples' freedom to choose different surnames

WION Web Team
Tokyo, Japan Published: Jun 23, 2021, 09:49 PM(IST)

Japanese couple Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The couples argued that the rule of couples having to choose a single surname 'is against equality under the law and freedom of marriage, which are guaranteed by the constitution'

In this age of equality and modernisation, Japan’s top court has denied giving couples a chance to keep their own surnames after marriage.

A little while ago, Japanese couples had argued that individuals should be allowed to keep their own surnames rather than having to change it to one family name.

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The matter came to rise when, in 2018, plaintiffs, three couples, submitted their marriage registration documents with different surnames of husbands and wives. However, the municipal government refused to accept these documents.

After that, the couples argued that the rule of couples having to choose a single surname "is against equality under the law and freedom of marriage, which are guaranteed by the constitution”.

As per the law, the couples have a choice to opt for either the husband’s surname or the wives’, but in reality, it is generally the wives who have to change their surname. The people in favour of the law have argued that the idea behind choosing one surname is to promote close and healthier family ties.

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