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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 December 10 - 16  > Only JCP and SDP support separate surnames for married couples
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2014 December 10 - 16 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Only JCP and SDP support separate surnames for married couples

December 10, 2014
Among the eight major political parties, only the Japanese Communist and Social Democratic parties are advocating that the Civil Code be revised to allow married couples to use separate surnames, a recent survey result by an NPO showed.

The mNet-Information Network for Amending the Civil Code asked the eight parties about the pros and cons of an introduction of a system enabling married couples to have different surnames. The eight parties are the JCP, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Democratic Party of Japan, the Japan Innovation Party (JIP), the Komei Party, the Party for Future Generations, the SDP, and the People’s Life Party. The JCP and the SDP expressed their support for the system, the JIP showed objection, and the five others were unwilling to state their positions.

Article 750 of the Civil Code requires married couples to use the same family name. Japan is the only developed country that sets such a legal requirement for marriage. In 1996, the Legislative Council of the Justice Ministry proposed a draft bill to amend the Civil Code to abolish this requirement, but the bill has yet to be submitted to the Diet.

Sakamoto Yoko of the mNet criticized the Abe government for being negative about introducing the dual-surname system while advertising that it aims to create a society where women shine. She stressed that without this system, the realization of gender equality is impossible.

Journalist Kawana Miki said that many female workers hope to keep their surnames in the workplace even after getting married. The need now is to change the Civil Code to one respecting couples’ decision whether or not to use the same surname, Kawana said.
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