Japanese Women Lose Fight to Keep Their Surnames - Dec. 15, 2015
What’s in a name? In Japan, quite a lot.
Japan’s Supreme Court said Wednesday that married couples must continue to use only one surname, rejecting a lawsuit filed by five plaintiffs who wanted to make it easier for women to keep their maiden names.
The 19th century law affirmed by the court doesn’t specify which spouse should change their surname, but an overwhelming majority of women take their husband’s.
In a separate ruling released Wednesday, the court said a law requiring divorced women to wait six months before remarrying was unconstitutional, and recommended shortening the ban to 100 days.
Many women, gender equality experts, and even a UN committee have said these laws are discriminatory and outdated.