Japan will decide this week whether to uphold, amend or strike out the controversial law which dates back to the 19th century. The law was intended to eliminate issues relating to paternity of children born following the end of a marriage and to which family they should be registered. Many argue that this law is now outdated and overly paternalistic. Women should be free to marry immediately following divorce as in the majority of other countries. The law ensures that women effectively remain under the control of their ex-husband, even after divorce and many children are left in a state of limbo as they cannot be registered to their new family and, as such cannot apply for a permanent job or receive social welfare.
Japan's highest court will rule this week on a pair of 19th century family laws that critics blast as sexist and out of touch. The Supreme Court will weigh the legality of a six-month ban on women remarrying after divorce and another law that requires husband and wife to have the same surname, in a highly anticipated decision set for Wednesday. The court will decide whether to uphold, amend or strike down the controversial legislation, which dates back to an era of starkly different social mores. The half-year remarriage ban is linked to complex rules over the timing of a child's birth after divorce - designed to determine whether a child belonged to the ex-husband or the new spouse's family in an era before DNA testing.