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‘Prenups’ uncommon but doable; aid for avid J. League fans

by Ashley Thompson

Lana is planning to get married in Japan and wants to know if it’s possible to arrange a prenuptial agreement.

“I am about to get married to a Japanese national and would like to inquire about ‘prenup’ agreements in Japan,” she writes. “Are they upheld by the court? If we were to write up our own, will it have to be registered with the ward office, or any other office, to be legally binding? If you have experience handling prenup agreements in foreign marriages, can you please tell me about your service fees?”

Yes, it is possible to make a legally binding prenuptial agreement in Japan, although it isn’t a common practice. According to attorney Kaoru Haraguchi of Haraguchi International Law Office: “It is possible for couples to enter into a contract concerning their property rights and duties before they get married (Article 755 of the Japanese Civil Code). They can seek remedy with the court as long as this is considered to be an official contract.”

You can write the agreement yourselves or pay a lawyer to do it. Legal fees will vary — it would cost ¥300,000 to ¥500,000 to hire Mr. Haraguchi’s firm to make a prenup in English and Japanese and have it officially registered.

If you write the agreement yourselves, you’ll need to take it to the Legal Affairs Bureau that has jurisdiction over the address of the party that will be the “head” of the family in the family registry. Explain that you want to register your prenuptial agreement, called a konzenkeiyakusho. They should give you a registration application, or tōkishinseisho. Fill out the form (take it home and bring back if necessary) and submit it along with all of the required documents listed below.

When you visit the office, along with your prenup and registration application, bring a document to prove your address, such as a certificate of residence (jūminhyō); a document to prove you’re not married, which you get from your country’s embassy if you’re not Japanese; your hanko (signature seal) and hanko registration (it must be officially registered); and cash to cover the fee. The office we called quoted ¥10,800, but you may want to confirm the fee with the office you visit. Once you’ve submitted the application, they will check it over to make sure everything is in order and, if there are no problems, make it official.

To locate a Legal Affairs Bureau branch, search for hōmukyoku or see this page (Japanese only): houmukyoku.moj.go.jp/homu/static/kakukyoku_index.html.

For more information about Haraguchi International Law Office or to contact Mr. Haraguchi, visit haraguchi-law.com/english/index.html.

Thanks to David Thompson for his research assistance.

Dedicated follower of J-footy

Radek is looking for sites to discuss J. League first-division soccer with other English speakers: “I am an avid football fan looking for an opportunity to exchange views with Japanese football supporters. I have visited a number of J1 league club websites. However, language seems to be a constraint.”

Big Soccer, though not Japan-specific, has forums for Japanese club football at www.bigsoccer.com/community/forums/japan.1068/.

JSoccer.com covers all aspects of soccer in Japan, men’s and women’s.

Football Japan Minutecast is a blog written by a J. League fan: minutecast.footballjapan.jp.

A British football journalist living in Japan writes about his experiences and shares articles he writes for other publications on Sakka Nihon, at sakkanihon.wordpress.com.

The blog Vinci Per Osaka focuses specifically on the Gamba Osaka team. See www.since-1991.com.

Go! Go! Omiya Ardija covers the Omiya Ardija team but also provides information and links to anything J. League-related: omiyaallezallez.blogspot.jp.

If you know of other English-language J. League forums or sites for fans to connect, please drop us a line.

Many thanks to @Claire_Debenham for her suggestions.

Ashley Thompson writes unique how-tos about living in Japan online at www.survivingnjapan.com. Send all your queries, questions, problems and posers to lifelines@japantimes.co.jp.