Yoshihisa Aono, the CEO of the Tokyo-based software company Cybozu, and three other men have filed a lawsuit at the Tokyo District Court, claiming that the current law, which does not permit Japanese married couples the right to use separate surnames after marriage, is unconstitutional.
Aono, 46, who was officially registered under his wife’s surname, Nishihata, on Japan’s Family Registry after their marriage in 2001, but goes by his birth name Aono, filed the suit with three other plaintiffs on Tuesday, claiming that the system is flawed and leads to a number of inconveniences and financial burdens.
The plaintiffs requested a total of 2.2 million yen in compensation from the government.
Aono and his attorney based his arguments on the fact that the country’s Family Registry Law allows Japanese married couples to decide what surname to use in case of divorce, but allows either partner the choice of which surname to use between Japanese and foreign partners in case of divorce and marriage. Aono argued that there is a clear discrepancy in the law.
The current law requires Japanese couples to use a common surname after marriage and the only choice they are given is whether to use that of the wife or the husband.
Aono told the court that it had cost him almost 800,000 yen to change the ownership name of his company stocks and he was requested to use his registry surname on a number of work-related documents despite using the name Aono at work. He argued that this causes him great inconvenience and an emotional burden on a daily basis.
This is the first lawsuit filed by a man in Japan demanding the right to use a separate surname after marriage, Tomoshi Sakka, the attorney representing the plaintiff, said at a press conference following the filesuit.© Japan Today