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News No dual surnames for married couples in Japan

thomas

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Despite eight years of 'womenomics' and plenty of good intentions, PM Suga yesterday admitted that Japan was "extremely behind" in promoting gender equality. The government on Friday adopted a plan that delays women's advancement goals by up to a decade after failing to reach even half of the 30% target by 2020 and other measures.

Japan especially lags in women's advancement in politics. Women account for less than 10% of lawmakers in the more powerful of its two-chamber parliament. About 40% of local assemblies have no female members or only one. Suga's 20-member Cabinet has only two female ministers.

Source: Japan delays gender-equality goals in new five-year plan : The Asahi Shimbun

While Japan ranks highly on a range of international indicators, it persistently trails on promoting gender equality, ranking 121 out of 153 nations surveyed in the 2020 global gender gap report of the World Economic Forum. Just 14.8 percent of leadership positions in politics and business in Japan are occupied by women, "lagging extremely behind internationally," the Cabinet Office said in the new five-year plan.


At the same time, conservative lawmakers reused to consider different surnames for married couples.

Japan's Civil Code requires a married couple to share a surname, and conventionally, the burden has largely fallen on women to change names after marriage. The draft gender equality promotion policy had included wording positive about different surnames, but such language was dropped amid opposition from conservative lawmakers.

 

nahadef

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When Abe first announced his 'plan' years ago, it pissed me off. It was such blatant lip service. (There's a 50/50 chance i griped in a thread here at the time.)

if they actually do something, for example, setting up school programs which create work experience opportunities or mentor programs for girls, I'd be all for it. But just saying you're going to do better into press microphones and passing the ball up the field isn't gonna cut it
 
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thomas

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Marukawa Tamayo, Japan's minister for women’s empowerment and gender equality, confirmed that she signed a document that opposes dual surnames for married couples and claimed her “personal belief” would not affect her duties. Marukawa is married to Taku Otsuka, a Lower House member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party but uses her maiden name during her activities as a lawmaker.

o_O

The document, dated Jan. 30, was sent to members of the Saitama prefectural assembly, which is seeking to adopt a written opinion calling for a system that allows married couples to use separate surnames. Fifty Upper and Lower House members of the LDP signed the document to express their opposition to such a system. At a news conference on Feb. 24, Marukawa said that she agreed with the contents of the document and signed it. But she also noted that she is in a position to promote gender equality within the government, and that she intends to put her ministerial duties before her own opinion. Marukawa also doubles as minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, an event that is committed to ensuring gender equality. “I will do whatever I can, including setting aside my own thoughts, to gain the understanding of the international community to hold the Games,” she said.

Source: Gender-equality minister signs paper opposing dual surnames : The Asahi Shimbun

marukawa-tamayo.jpg

 
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thomas

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Japan's Supreme Court ruled that forcing married couples to choose one common surname is not unconstitutional.

Article 750 of the Civil Code stipulates "a husband and wife shall adopt the surname of the husband or wife in accordance with that which is decided at the time of marriage." The provision applies only to Japanese couples as foreigners married under the country's system are able to keep their family names. Critics say the provision originating from the 1898 Civil Code reflects the traditional concept of marriage as an arrangement involving families rather than individuals. Usually, a woman left her family to become part of her husband's family. As of 2015, 96% of married couples in Japan used the husband's surname, according to government data.

The family register law stipulates a couple must determine a shared surname to have their marriage registration accepted. The 2015 top court ruling said the practice of using the same surname was "well-established in society" and there is no gender inequality in the system. But among 15 justices, five, including all three women, said prohibiting separate surnames was unconstitutional, citing the disadvantages involved in changing a name. The court acknowledged individuals who change their surnames, in most cases women, could "feel their identities lost" and face other disadvantages in terms of social credibility, but said people are not forbidden to go by their maiden names in the current system.


Marukawa Tamayo, Japan's minister for women’s empowerment and gender equality (see above), uses her maiden name in politics. Her husband's surname is Otsuka (found on JT today). Wouldn't that destroy her family unity and affect her children, too?
 

mdchachi

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Marukawa Tamayo, Japan's minister for women’s empowerment and gender equality (see above), uses her maiden name in politics. Her husband's name is Otsuka (found on JT today). Wouldn't that destroy her family unity and affect her children, too?
Only if it were allowed in official documents (戸籍). That would rip the very fabric of society apart.
 
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thomas

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If a couple cannot decide whose surname to take, choose by lottery or, in modern times, start an online questionnaire. 😄

Married couples in Japan must select only one surname for registration. Tamura and Ishikawa both wanted to keep their family names. If one of them had a surname like Domyoji that was “so cool that everyone envies it,” the other would be willing to accept it. But both Tamura and Ishikawa are quite common surnames in Japan. A 30-year-old husband and wife in Kyoto Prefecture who faced a similar problem were featured in the “Otoko to Onna” (Men and women) column of The Asahi Shimbun’s Feb. 14, 1971, morning edition. They picked their family name by lottery.

Fifty years after the article was published, Tamura and Ishikawa reached a solution: They asked strangers on the internet which surname “sounds better.” They paid each respondent 10 yen (9 cents) on a questionnaire site. After about an hour, 300 individuals responded. Ishikawa won by a 7:3 ratio, and they adopted the more popular one. Asked about the defeat, Tamura said, “There is no choice since we had promised to accept the outcome with no hard feelings.”

 
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