Upper House lawmaker Mizuho Fukushima and her partner, Yuichi Kaido, have been together for about 40 years. They don't celebrate any kind of anniversary, however, because they've never been officially married.

The couple made a mutual decision to abstain from getting married several decades ago for one simple reason — they wanted to keep their own surnames.

By law, Japanese couples must adopt either the husband's or the wife's family name when registering the marriage at their local ward office, with surveys showing that more than 96 percent of couples opt for the husband's last name.