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The government sees a big change in attitudes about separate surnames by married couples and plans to discuss the possible introduction of a two-name system, the top government spokesman said Monday.

“We think there has been a big change,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, referring to a government survey released Saturday showing that those in favor of the use of separate surnames far outnumber those opposed.

“The government will study the (two-name) system and deal with the issue appropriately,” Fukuda said.

The Civil Code currently prohibits married couples from using separate surnames.

The survey, conducted by the Cabinet Office on 5,000 adults nationwide in May, drew a response percentage of 69.4. A little more than 65 percent favored the use of separate surnames by married couples, while 29.9 percent were against.

The percentage of people in favor is up from 55 percent in the previous survey in 1996.

A Justice Ministry attempt in 1996 to submit relevant laws to introduce the system was derailed by strong objections by members of the Liberal Democratic Party.

Justice Minister Mayumi Moriyama, a known supporter of the separate surname system, has indicated the government considers the survey a major factor in considering legal changes.

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