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Tokyo's Setagaya Ward draws up rare certificate of residence for unregistered baby

18 Comments

Local authorities in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward have created a rare certificate of residence for a girl whose birth registration documents were refused.

The girl's father, 47-year-old Kazuyuki Sugawara, is currently in the process of suing the Japanese government for refusing his daughter a certificate of residence based on the fact that her parents had entered into a common-law marriage at the time of her birth, according to a report on Fuji TV. In refusing to accept her birth registration documents, ward authorities said they were consequently unable to offer her a certificate of residence.

However, the ward office said on Wednesday that it did not wish for the child to continue to live in Japan illegally and decided to take the extremely unusual step of drawing up her certificate of residence without registering her birth.

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18 Comments
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The discrimination against children born "out of wedlock" (what an old fashioned term!) here is appalling.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It definitely is appalling. Married or not, pregnancies do happen and kids are born. Why deny their existence?!

Another example of how primitive Japan is. They need to change their laws with the changing times!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Common-law marriage does not have legal standing in Japan.

The issue is that the parents are not legally married, but are trying to submit birth registration papers that have been filled out as if they were married at the time of birth. Because they are not legally married, the ward office is (correctly) rejecting the forms.

All that needs to happen to correct the situation is for the parents to correctly declare their legal marriage status - unmarried - on the registration.

The ward office appears to be bending over backwards to protect this little girl from the irrespnsibility of her parents.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

BulltheBuffalo, would that meant that the girls birth certificate will state she was born a "bastard"? Is that what the parents wish to avoid?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Here they're complaining that the population is growing old and dwindling, Duh?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Taj, that is correct - but the parents also had ten months during which they could have registered themselves as married. This is purely an issue of selfishness and irresonsibility on the part of the parents.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Maybe the parents oppose traditional marriage. Why should they be discriminated against if they have realized that traditional marriage is a failed social custom that ends in misery? They simply want to register the birth of a a child they had together. Primitive Japan, I second that ...

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@BulltheBuffalo

the parents also had ten months during which they could have registered themselves as married.

But what if they didn't? If one parent can't get a previous spouse to agree to divorce, they can't marry. Decades can pass like that. Then a common-law couple has a child and the child is permanently labelled a bastard.

This is a fight that needs to be fought. For the sake of the kids who have absolutely no say in what kind of situation their born into, but live are suffer the absolutely unnecessary punishment of outdated regulations.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Better to have a dekichatta kekkon and be miserable for the rest of your life than have two happy unmarried parents who care for a child. Japan, seriously, get with the times. This is disgusting discrimination and one of the reasons why the divorce rate AND the abortion rate are so high here.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@ BulltheBuffalo,

the parents also had ten months during which they could have registered themselves as married.

If you think only married couple should have kids, then you, along with the Japanese system, need to change with times.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Ms. Alexander, you have not read the article or Bullthe Buffalo's comments correctly. The parents are insisting that they were married at the time of the child's birth. This is not true. Why they are insisting in making the claim, I am not sure. But if they filled out the same form saying unmarried, the documents would be issued quickly.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This would happen in the west too. Beauracracy does not like false declarations.

A better question is: Why does Japan need to know or ask the marital status of the parents in the process of registering a birth?

The next best question is: Why would the parents want to claim they were married when in fact they were not?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

BulltheBuffalo, would that meant that the girls birth certificate will state she was born a "bastard"? Is that what the parents wish to avoid?

If that was just that, no problem, I don't think they'd insist so much. It's because she can't have all the rights of a legal heir.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why they are insisting in making the claim, I am not sure. But if they filled out the same form saying unmarried, the documents would be issued quickly.

Not the same documents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It seems almost hilarious to me, in a way, that they "didn't want the child to live here illegally." WTF!!! lol... It's a baby born inside the country! lol... Stupid child, how could you try to sneak in here that way.......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's absolutely no reason for the state to make permanent notice of parental marriage status on the birth of a child. There's no reason for the notification of live birth document to require any information about marriage status. All the government should require and may ethically require is the names of the parents. Japan's registry system still contains anachronistic vestiges of the Meiji period.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think this government is stuck in the Meiji era. Imagine, you put a baby in front of these governmental people and say 'this is a baby' and they reply 'I don't see anything'. How can a baby born to Japanese parents in Japan be living in Japan 'illegally'? I can imagine lots of young couples getting married just so that their baby doesn't become a b*stard illegal alien, and then getting a divorce once the baby's registration's done.

I also like the 'fact' that a baby has just come out of thin air with no father if the mother is unmarried - immaculate conception?! Or that the baby's father is the mother's ex-husband even if the sperm came from another man. DNA science thrown out the window.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Only in Japan can someone be (possibly) denied entry into the country of their birth without committing treason or renouncing their citizenship. They signed the UN human rights treaties into law thirty years ago, and they still can't get a simple case like this taken care of?

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

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