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Worried by pandemic, unmarried Japanese couples want legal protection

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If these people are given the same rights as married couples, then so should homosexual couples.

-5 ( +18 / -23 )

If these people are given the same rights as married couples, then so should homosexual couples.

Different topic as the title of the article is a bit misleading.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

As much as we humans harbor antipathies to change, Covid-19 will be a game-changer. Let's hope the "game" changes for the better for these folk and others who have been given a raw deal by society and continue to suffer from the inertia of incompetent politicians.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Different topic as the title of the article is a bit misleading.

I respectfully disagree.

These people want a change to the law so they can keep their identities (family names) and still get married. Homosexual couples want a change to the law so they can keep their identities (homosexuals) and still get married.

Brilliant screen name, by the way.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

You can’t have it both .If you choose one freedom you often have to discard the other.

-16 ( +2 / -18 )

Brilliant screen name, by the way.

Thanks. Glad you like it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Their three children have her husband's name, and the family has never felt that having different names makes them less of a unit,

Oh but it's ok for your children but not you? Kind of hypocritical if you ask me!

No kids is another story altogether, but since you live HERE and should be following the laws HERE, and for the sake of your children, change your name!

You dont even realize it, but in your stubbornness, and on paper, your children have been born out of wedlock, whether or not that is the reality for you, it is for the rest of society. And whenever they will need to submit a family registry for anything, you will be noted as the mother, but not as the lawfully wedded wife, thus making them, in very crude terms here, bastard children, in the eyes of the law!

-20 ( +4 / -24 )

When I married my Japanese husband I was allowed to keep my maiden name. Then I registered an alias with his name for certain situations. Japanese citizens should be allowed the same option.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

So just change the law and allow women to keep their last name if they so please. Its the 21st century.

Garthgoyle and P Smith- Just want to say that its really nice to see 2 posters disagreeing respectfully. Its rare here.

well done guys

10 ( +14 / -4 )

I know plenty female professionals who use their maiden name in the work place.

she can just do that...

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Why even have a family name? one option is to have 2 family names one as the middle name and the second as the family name.

I know several couples who did this in other countries and some are Japanese, and it works.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

it has been difficult to pierce the bloc of conservative lawmakers who have ruled the political roost for decades

And herein lies the problem with obtaining needed changes in many areas.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@Meiyouwenti, obviously you've never heard of Canada.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Married people keeping their own names is a perfectly good solution that has no real reason to stop being implemented, maybe even keeping the family register system with small modifications (dropping it entirely would be best in my opinion)

But the "professional" reason is only a matter of feelings. Japanese female authors of scientific papers that care about building their careers all publish under their original last names without trouble. Japanese institutions can list them also with both last names in their English documents, HP, etc (after all anything written in alphabet is not their "real" name) so any confusion is easily avoided.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

"The nurse said that her last name is an integral part of her identity.She built her professional life with the name she has always known, including publishing writing under it, and changing seemed like "being cut off from my career," especially without assurances that employers would allow her to retain her maiden name."

Untrue. Companies, especially professional associations, and most organizations have allowed for more than the last 25 years, for people to work under their maiden name, and there is a line for this on the standard Japanese resume. This is a non-issue.

"They could be refused hospitalization as a family, could be barred from receiving critical treatment information, or be unable able to sign consent for medical treatments on the other's behalf should it be warranted."

They should then come a family under the law. Her personal feelings to the law is irrelevant. She should petition her local lawmaker. But no politician will take this up, as 90% of the population is against it, as it ends up with disjointed families that cannot figure out their family histories.

"There are other worries, too. Since her husband has parental rights, his sudden death would leave her with no legal claim over their children, putting them in a vulnerable position."

If she is really worried, she should follow the law and the customs of the country. They country need not have to cater to her individual worries. If she is really worried, she is putting herself ahead of her children, which makes her a poor mother with little to no ethical responsibility as a parent.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

A man can take his wife's name

A women can continue to use her maiden name at work.

Of course their choice but

Seems a lot easier than living in a self created legal limbo.

Plus in japn marriage certificates are non religious , basically a form.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Why people are so hung up on their surnames here baffles me. Since it seems they got no kids,no need to marry anyway.She has a good stable job and I assume he does too.What's she fretting for?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I know plenty female professionals who use their maiden name in the work place. she can just do that...

But they can not use it officially at work. And THAT is the problem! I dont know if you get what the problem is when you state something like this. It's not about what they use informally, but formally, or officially!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Their three children have her husband's name, 

D'oh!
-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You can’t have it both .If you choose one freedom you often have to discard the other.

Well the government and courts have it both ways. They will declare you a common-law married couple when it pleases them to do so. Its almost like the government works for itself rather the people, isn't it?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

When I married my Japanese husband I was allowed to keep my maiden name. Then I registered an alias with his name for certain situations. Japanese citizens should be allowed the same option.

Anyone can register an alias. Just provide the required documents (easy stuff) and you’re done. It even shows up on your official registry.

If the law is changed to allow common law couples the right to visit the other when they are hospitalized, etc., there is no problem. They won’t need to get married. Seems like an easy way to give them what they want, and to “keep marriage sacred” as some right-minded people think.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If these people are given the same rights as married couples, then so should homosexual couples.

Attempts to go more than one step at a time are very likely to fail. This is a conservative country.

While Covid-19 has provided an impetus for the couple in the story, the woman is 46 and has three kids. That's a lot of responsibility and old enough for serious health problems to emerge without Covid-19. fwiw, I do support her cause.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Korean and Chinese women don't change their surnames when they get married, and they haven't suffered from it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Garthgoyle and P Smith- Just want to say that its really nice to see 2 posters disagreeing respectfully. Its rare here. 

well done guys

Appreciated.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If the law is changed to allow common law couples the right to visit the other when they are hospitalized, etc., there is no problem. They won’t need to get married. Seems like an easy way to give them what they want, and to “keep marriage sacred” as some right-minded people think.

It’s one approach, but piecemeal. Having numerous laws to provide equal rights unnecessarily over complicate things.

When you say “right-minded,” do you mean politically or in the sense of right meaning correct?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Not to mention not having to change surnames on most documents would save a lot of administration costs.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yet another item where Japan still lives so far behind the rest of the modern world. The rigid 'family registry' and the 'hanko' are two things that I really hope Japan works at modernizing so that Japanese can just get on with living in the 21st century.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan lawmakers love Edo Period, so nothing will change.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why not a hyphenated name?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Article started with "unmarried couple" ended with "maiden name" and comment section ended up with "homosexuality". Bravo :D !!!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Article started with "unmarried couple" ended with "maiden name" and comment section ended up with "homosexuality". Bravo :D !!!

And I want the hyphen in my name reinstated in my ID card. Like it is in my passport. You'd think a hyphen would exist on the Japanese keyboard.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Seems like an easy fix. Use My number. You attach it to your marriage filing and your tax filing. Then for insurance and next of kin purposes you register the numbers together. This is the whole reason for having a national ID number. No names need to be changed and the children can be attached to the joint my numbers as a dependent or all people involved can be filed into a family ID.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Just this month, the Hiroshima Supreme Court rejected an appeal by a female doctor in a suit against the government to recognize her maiden name, upholding the first ruling and dismissing the complainant's appeal that it was unconstitutional.

Abe-san should have amended this aspect of the constitution then he would have left some positive legacy.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Using Covid19 to justify a law change seems a little late. Covid19 is almost a non-issue. Latest numbers from USA CDC - chances of surviving according to age group are:

Age Group                     Probability of Survival

0-19:                               99.997%

20-49:                             99.98%

50-69:                             99.5%

70+:                                94.6%

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I doubt the lawmakers will touch this. Doing so would also raise questions about recognising gay marriage or partnerships, and we all know that the majority of Japanese lawmakers still live in the Showa era.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

No one should be forced to change their name. I’m glad I did not have to change mine.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Can a person have 2 last names? It is possible in Switzerland and Canada!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Can a person have 2 last names?

I do and it makes buying an airplane ticket at a Japanese travel agency more complicated than it should be. How? You may find the answer at your nearest EdoMura.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In the UK its quite common for woman to keep there maiden name and still take there husbands name as well, we call it "double barrelled" ie Mrs Smith and her husband Mr Jones, they ( or she) would be called smith jones. could this be adopted in Japan?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why not a hyphenated name?

First, there is no "hyphen" in Japanese, BUT you can have both names. My daughter and her husband are Saito-Smith (pseudonym) so it is possible.

Heck there is actually a guy in Japan who has a first name Kobayashi and last name is Saito! (Ok not the same thing... lol!)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

She built her professional life with the name she has always known, including publishing writing under it, and changing seemed like "being cut off from my career," especially without assurances that employers would allow her to retain her maiden name.

This is not true. I have worked with plenty of women who are married and keep their maiden name at work. If she is a doctor, she won’t be cut off from her career. Also in Geinoka(Entertainment industry) plenty of people using fake names or maiden names while being married.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Regarding hospitalization and consent for treatment, etc., there is a way in Japan, even if you're not officially related to each other.

Go to a goseishoshi lawyer and make a "power of attorney for personal care" contract.

No need to be related or married - My best friend and I made one of these contracts, and got it notarized, so when he was hospitalized I was entitled to authorize or refuse treatment for him, meet with doctors and get updates, etc., etc.

There is also a similar contract agreement for property (I was able to access his bank account and pay his bills) and another for post-mortem mandates and post-mortem gifts (in lieu of a will).

Once notarized, these gave me the authority to arrange for cremation and take his cremains to the temple of his choice, sell his property to cover funeral expenses, etc., and keep any property he wanted me to have.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So I guess this law is only for completely Japanese couples? My spouse is Japanese, but we've both kept our family names.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My spouse is Japanese, but we've both kept our family names.

We did the same.I particularly didn't want nosy people starting a needless convo with the missus, because of her foreign surname indicating she's married to a foreigner.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We did the same.I particularly didn't want nosy people starting a needless convo with the missus, because of her foreign surname indicating she's married to a foreigner.

When we got married nearly 40 years ago, this was so true here. Not so much today though, things have gotten better on this front!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When we got married nearly 40 years ago, this was so true here. Not so much today though, things have gotten better on this front!

Congrats on almost 40 years of wedded bliss! We're on 25 next month.Yes,it's better than before.But with waiting rooms/city hall busy with people,someone's always looking to chat if something catches their ears!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Congrats on almost 40 years of wedded bliss! We're on 25 next month.Yes,it's better than before.But with waiting rooms/city hall busy with people,someone's always looking to chat if something catches their ears!

Thank you! And to you as well!

Personally speaking I have gotten over even caring anymore. Folks are going to gossip wherever you are, and if they dont know me, and they want to talk "behind my back" I really dont give a guano. I have gotten to the point of just saying "whatever".....

Saves on stress, and worrying about what a stranger may think or feel!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Saves on stress, and worrying about what a stranger may think or feel!

Very true.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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