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Justice Minister Shozaburo Nakamura said Tuesday he has urged Liberal Democratic Party officials to restart discussions on revising the Civil Law to allow married couples to retain separate family names.

The Justice Ministry has already compiled a bill to revise the Civil Code, which currently requires couples to use one surname, so that couples will be allowed to choose whether to keep separate surnames when they marry.

Counter to the draft, an LDP subcommittee had compiled a plan that accepts one surname for family registration but allows use of a previous surname for other official situations, such as on passports and at the workplace. But the revision plan was never officially approved by the Cabinet because it met strong opposition from a number of old-guards of the conservative party.

Nakamura said the legal revision should be made through a bill drafted by legislators, rather than one drafted by the ministry. Although aware of the lack of agreement within the party, Nakamura said the matter needs further discussion because more citizens are interested in the issue.

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