Tokyo Judge Upholds an Old Law on the Surnames of Married Couples in Japan

A Tokyo Judge recently ruled that a Japanese law requiring married couples to use the same surname is constitutional. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit had sought to set the law aside on the grounds that the law dating back to the 19th century was discriminatory. The plaintiffs specifically pointed out that the law is enforced against Japanese citizens but not foreigners.

One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is Yoshihisa Aono, the CEO of the software firm Cybozu. Mr. Aono stood out from other plaintiffs due to the fact that he took his wife’s family’s name once married. According to a Quartz article on the decision, Mr. Aono still uses his prior name in business dealings.

The attorney representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit vowed to appeal the decision all the way to Japan’s Supreme Court if necessary.

In North Carolina, spouses are not required to use the same surname once they marry. However, North Carolina law does permit spouses who took upon the surname of their spouse to resume their prior surname as part of a divorce from their spouse.

If you need assistance resuming your prior surname or maiden name, or with any other North Carolina family law issues, please contact us at (704) 810-1400 to request a consultation today.