Japanese Women May Be Allowed to Keep Maiden Names

The Democratic Party of Japan plans to introduce a bill as early as next year that would allow women to keep their maiden names after marriage. According to The Youmiuri Shimbun, the bill would allow married couples to use separate surnames, amending the 1947 Civil Code. Under the proposed law, children would be able to choose one of their parents’ surnames, reported Bloomberg.

Under current law, Japanese men can take their wives’ names upon marriage. However, more than 95 percent of Japanese women take their husbands’ last names, according to the Agence France-Presse .

Japanese women’s rights activists argue for an alternate surname system both for equity reasons and due to professional inconveniences that occur when one’s name changes. Conservative lawmakers have blocked similar legislation in the past, claiming that such a change would harm family unity.


Bloomberg 9/28/09; The Youmiuri Simbun 9/28/09; Agence France-Press 9/28/09

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