Research Output
Married Couples’ Same Surname Issue in Japanese Family Law
  Despite the traditional postulates of jurisprudence regarding the necessity to introduce flawless bills, each legal system struggles with issues which arouse controversy and become the subject of a lively political and legal debate. Even if the controversy affects millions of people and their private lives, the decision to solve it is limited by government policy. For example, this pattern is reflected in the married couples’ same surname issue in Japanese Family Law. Japanese courts investigated it yet did not provide any binding solution. The media have also increasingly raised this problem as an example of a private law defect requiring a fundamental change in the near future. Still, public awareness of the legal controversy is insufficient to overcome it. Even though a large part of Japanese society supports the reform of the married couples’ same surname system, the government protects it as an embodiment of Japan’s legal tradition and a symbol of family unity. Undoubtedly, the dispute regarding the need to revise Family Law went beyond the legal debate and became a significant political and social issue in the last three decades. Unfortunately, Western legal scholarship is still unaware of this vivid example of the 21st-century rivalry between the liberal/individual and the conservative/collective views in one of the most distinguished private law systems.



Japanese Family Law, surname in Family Law, Japan, Family Law

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