Akashi first city to remove ‘illegitimate’ birth filing


Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture, said Tuesday it has stopped asking on birth registration forms whether a baby was born out of wedlock, the first city in Japan to do so.

However, the new form is optional: It doesn’t replace an existing form with “legitimate” and “illegitimate” categories.

“We believe a society more tolerant of diversity would be better to live in,” Akashi Mayor Fusaho Izumi said. “We made this decision in response to a Supreme Court ruling and other factors.”

The top court said in a ruling last Thursday that it isn’t essential that a birth registration state whether the child is legitimate or not, contravening a Census Registration Law provision.

Akashi’s measure “is an undertaking that comes ahead of the law’s revision,” said Kazuyuki Sugawara, 48, a care worker in Tokyo who has been seeking to eliminate discrimination against children born out of wedlock. “I am encouraged.”

Sugawara was one of the plaintiffs in the case that drew Thursday’s top court ruling.

Noriko Mizuno, a law professor at Tohoku University, described the birth registration issue as misconceived. “Even if the birth registration item is removed, you can tell a person is born legitimate or out of wedlock if you look at the census registration,” she said.

The Justice Ministry said Akashi’s new form is the first in Japan that does not include the “legitimate” child section.

  • Ian

    Japan should do more to stop its rampant “in-group” vs. “out-group” dichotomy in society. Further, more should be done to promote multiculturalism, BGLT awareness, as well as stopping hate groups from terrorizing Korean communities in Japan. It’s not only the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense.

    All this social awareness begins with empathy training. Empathy (imaginatively putting one’s self into the metaphorical shoes of another person in order to attempt to discover how they feel or think; also called “theory of mind” in scientific jargon) is the most complex of human emotions, yet the least used. Shuffle the deck of cards that life deals to individuals, and anyone could be born out of wedlock, become a foreigner living in xenophobic country, have gender issues, sexual preferences that are not the norm, be rich or poor, or experience what minority groups do. Such is what empathy training emphasizes. And it should be taught all throughout early school years.

    • Children don’t need training to accept others. It comes naturally to them. They only need to not have the training to not accept others.

      Replacing the current form of social engineering with another form that you prefer is the same method of betraying the mind of the child, and the outcome would be almost as bad.

      • Ian

        Children reject strangers by two years old age or even younger. It is innate. They panic when they see strangers up close. Read Developmental Psychology books, will you? This trait echoes into adulthood. Why do you think people are so suspicious of strangers all throughout their lives?! We need to combat societal ignorance that leads to in-group vs. out-group distinctions.

        The opposite of what you wrote is therefore true. “Behavior & Discipline; Toddler Stranger Anxiety… If you thought stranger anxiety was reserved for younger babies, think again. Stranger anxiety often resurfaces in toddlers between 12 and 24 months old — and even non-strangers (like Grandma!) can be the primary targets. (http://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler-behavior/toddler-stranger-anxiety.aspx).

        You need to re-appraise your naive Rousseauian “nature is perfect” construles. Read Stephen Pinkers’ “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined” and get up to date on the science of conflict.

        Empathy training is needed. It is as important as reading and writing. Your “social engineering” term shows your ignorance/fear. Children are less likely to bully when taught empathy, for example. Is that a bad thing for you?! “Underlying all of this: ‘The number one need of any human is to be liked by other humans,’ Lavoie told LiveScience. ‘But our kids are like strangers in their own land.’ They don’t understand the basic rules of operating in society and their mistakes are usually unintentional, he said. http://www.livescience.com/6032-studies-reveal-kids-bullied-rejected.html
        I would like use academic papers to cite but I doubt you would read them. Am I correct with that assumption here?
        It is people who do not understand Causality that stop human progress, due to fear/ignorance.

      • Your original claim was about accepting/tolerating the existence of others who differ from the self, in sexual preference, gender, ethnicity, etc…i.e., you voiced your intention to culturally normalize the abnormal.

        Now you have introduced the unrelated case of “strangers” as a whole, which you never mentioned in your original comment. This is an attempt to hide your agenda behind the cloak of “well, empathetic socialization is necessary for everyone”.

        If you view people as deriving their identity primarily from group-association, then yes, empathetic socialization is logical an futile. Logical because people raised to be “that way” have difficulty seeing beyond their own culturally conditioned collectivism. Futile because you can’t defeat the source of “in-group”, “out-group” thinking by embracing it at the same time. You have to reject the entire premise from the start.

        One who does not look to groups, movements, or other collective entities to bestow his individual identity, one who is not looking to “belong”, does not require social crutches. That is because the bonds such individuals form are based on mutual values with others, not on differences being wrong and commonalities being right. Rejection or indifference from those who do not share in those values is not a loss. In fact it provides great contrast to those who do share those values.

        Even if one can fit in easily with other due to the conditioned altruism of empathetic training, upon what would they further bond over? “It was a sacrifice for me to accept you.” is not the premise upon which genuine friendships can be built.

        “The factors [leading to bullying] involve a child’s inability to pick up on and respond to nonverbal cues from their pals.”

        Ah science, what a casual statement of victim blaming.

        “The number one need of any human is to be liked by other humans.”

        Liked by whom? If their number one need is to be liked, then what kind of identity is doing the “liking”? Just another approval-seeking human being. And if approval is the standard, no wonder there is bullying; the means to that become irrelevant. Punching someone in the face becomes as valid as academic achievement, real-world skills, or simple common interests.

        This problem becomes worse precisely because children are raised to be socialized in the Deweyian fashion, and not individualized. They are raised primarily to “fit in” instead of being raised to be competent to handle the objectively defined demands of life. And wherever there is a government monopoly on education, expect this to get worse and worse.

      • Ian

        Your rant is becoming even more incoherent.

        First of all, you contradicted yourself during your first response. “They only need to not have the training to not accept others.” This too is social engineering.
        It also advocates my original point about empathy training. I added the part about strangers due to the fact that children have an innate distrust of out-group members (which you are totally unaware of, yet you certainly rejected strangers/out-group members as a child, like we all did when we were young). Stranger studies in developmental psychology demonstrate my point well.

        You are confused and incoherent. Therefore you lack critical reasoning skills and how to present a good argument. You are too rigid in your linear thinking, which seems more like right wing conspiratorial paranoia. Why? Because of the poverty of your critical thinking skills.

        There are many faults with your jump-to-conclusions type of reasoning. You vaguely express incoherent ideas, and do so without reference to peer reviewed academic science papers because you have no real familiarity with the scientific method, do you?

        This is what I mean by incoherent ranting: “Futile because you can’t defeat the source of ‘in-group’,
        ‘out-group’ thinking by embracing it at the same time. You have to reject the entire premise from the start.'” This is an example of why you need to be versed in the scientific method, as well as how to effectively argue a case. You have not explained your thesis, therefore you jump to conclusions based on one faulty premise to another. When you build your foundation on sand your argument collapses under its own weight. You ultimately make no sense at all. Try to be more causal and seek a foundation in the scientific literature.

        Here is another example: “Ah science, what a casual statement of victim blaming.” You certainly did not read the entire article. Instead you simply issued a knee-jerk edict and jumped to conclusions. You are therefore not a bigger picture thinker. The article’s point is the following: Bullies are more reluctant to victimize someone they identify with. So too subordinates are less likely to be bullied if they can understand the psychology of the bullying aggressor. Knowledge is power, in the end. You denigrate as “social engineering” what is actually beneficial and practical knowledge gained from scientific inquiry. Resultantly, people like you hold back fuller human potential from being reached due to your regressive knee-jerk reasoning skills.

        You obviously have not studied Socratic reasoning, rhetoric (how to argue a point of view), the scientific method (how to determine what’s real), or levels of evidence (inductive, deductive, correlational, empirical). You do not use any form of logic here, plus you think testimonial conjecture is rational. It is not. You need to be evidence based in order to prove/disprove your point. You fail to do this. This is why you have no real point to make, and contradict yourself in your purely emotional-plea of a rant. I hope our banter here will motivate you to study rationalism.

        Summarily, you are simply motivated in this
        discussion by your need to feel dominant at any cost, logic be damned. You therefore demonstrate control issues by your rigid thinking paradigm. You desperately need empathy training in order to realize your fuller human potential. I suggest you start with Plato’s Socrates. Meno’s Slave is a good starting point. Your shibboleths require self-examination. Socrates merely posed questions that made supposedly learned men question their cherished, yet ultimately non-causal, beliefs. Many of his finer points about rationalism involved Theory of Mind (empathy) issues. Good luck with that.

      • You’re trying too hard. Don’t embarrass yourself. Just say what you want to, directly.

        When I remove all of your psychological assumptions and ad homs: We end up with this:

        1) You contradicted yourself during your first response. It’s social engineering. No reason is given as to why.

        2) This non-given why only adds to me previous points. Why? No answer.

        3) You have not cited peer-reviewed journals, therefore anything you say is invalid. Why? No answer.

        And that’s it. Much cleaner and shorter.

        And now:

        “not training kids to not accept others” is to social engineering as “not punching someone in the face” is to coercive force.

        “Bullies are more reluctant to victimize someone they identify with.”

        Great. Did you know that dogs are more likely to have sex with other dogs? Or do you need a study to find that out, too?

        Well, nevermind. Let bullies set the framework for everyone else’s behavior. Then we can find out how to better conform to their desires. Better to advocate piecemeal destruction of the souls of the non-bullies than to have to face the scary scary scariness of standing alone, getting in a fight, or god forbid, thinking for yourself.

        Not just any premise is a rational starting point for inquiry. It doesn’t matter what the method is:

        I probably have been rejected by groups or not. I never noticed because I never sought the approval of a group in order to confirm my identity. I define myself; self-esteem is not a function of reference to others.

        Rejection is not even necessarily a bad thing. If a group of heroin addicts rejects you for not being “cool enough”, are you really missing out on anything? If a bully would stop bullying you if he “identifies with you” say, by you “getting your colors” by bullying others, would that be a good course of action? And then what happens in the resultant world of bullies? If a clique of rich kids wouldn’t accept you because your clothes are not “brand-name” enough, or you don’t speak whatever lingo, is it really a value for you to belong to a group whose primary bond is through their own shallowness, superficiality and lack of independent judgement?

        What would someone gain by being accepted by such people? It would not be a benefit, it would be an effort in dismissing the need to think and judge for oneself; an effort to dismiss the existence of the self and feel safe being surrounded by things that are detrimental to his life (whether he knows it or not).

        There are only two ways to go down this path. It is full collectivism or full individualism. You can’t defend the poor feelings of the rejected individual when he fails to fit in to the larger collective. He’s not important, right?

        Or he is, in which case we have to re-frame the question:

        The collectivist question is: How can individual kids better fit in to *insert collective buzzword here*?

        The individualist question is: How can individual kids better develop and recognize their own values through relationships with others?

        One implies that there is intrinsic value in acceptance into the group.

        The other implies that the values of the child are his own, first, before a social existence can ever become of value. After all, if an individual does not cultivate a “person” and values that are his, for what can he feel accepted for? And by what standard can he feel attracted or unattracted to others?

        You keep saying “scientific method”. But I was never debating the method. I was never debating the results. I am challenging the premises of the study, and the standard of good by which the results are evaluated.

      • Ian

        “You’re trying too hard. Don’t embarrass yourself. Just say what you want to, directly.” Science is embarrassing for you, not for me. And I am expressing myself plainly. What exactly don’t you understand about empathy training being of sound benefit? You are incoherent and
        irrational in your opposition to Enlightenment ideals. Empathy training is incorporated into those ideals, since before Adam Smith’s “fellow feeling” writings. Don’t you read Enlightenment/science-related materials? If you did then you would not be prone your delusional jumping-to-conclusions reasoning style.

        “1) You contradicted yourself during your first response. It’s social engineering. No reason is given as to why.” The answer is obvious. Children are innately prone to reject strangers as well as out-group members, aren’t they? So if you want to “not teach” them to not reject other people then that is, in practice, changing their natural inclinations. Which is a form of social engineering, isn’t it? Your point about “not teaching” kids to reject outsiders needs developing, here. You assume kids are perfect angels and would refuse to reject out-group members, unless they are taught to. This is a very incorrect assumption. That is why I offered pop science articles for you to read, which you obviously haven’t. So arguing against your unscientific bias means I have to correct your knowledge bank (which is small/faulty) and your arguing/reasoning skills, which are absurd!

        Your level of critical thinking insight is extremely low. For example: “‘Bullies are more reluctant to victimize someone they identify with.’ Great. Did you know that dogs are more likely to have sex with other dogs? Or do you need a study to find that out, too?” What to hell are you going on about?? You make no sense! What does empathy training in humans have to do with dog sexual practices? You oppose empathy training as bad “social engineering.” Stick to your original point. Or are the benefits of empathy training so obvious, such as dogs wanting sex with other dogs is obvious, that you are now contradicting yourself… Again!! See how faulty your reasoning skills are??

        “You keep saying ‘scientific method’. But I was never
        debating the method. I was never debating the results. I am challenging the premises of the study, and the standard of good by which the results are evaluated.” Science is what psychology is, so, yes, we are debating
        the scientific method. It’s a given. When you wrote “social engineering,” well, that is a science term. By writing that term you entered into a scientific debate. And if you are “challenging the premises of the study” then that too is scientific method evaluation. Since you don’t display accurate knowledge of the scientific method itself there needs to be a correction of your misrepresentation of Science.

        Therefore challenge on scientific grounds, only, here. Emotional pleas are not worthy of comment. This is why I insist on citing peer reviewed journals, and to talk the language of science, not emotional conjecture. Your subjective emotional ranting only reveals your true motivation: to get a self-esteem boost through feeling “right” and dominant. You messed with wrong commenter, haven’t you? You couldn’t resist adding
        your two-bits about social engineering in your original comment, so now you’re in over your head — because I use the scientific method, and you use emotional conjecture.

        “Well, nevermind. Let bullies set the framework for everyone else’s behavior. Then we can find out how
        to better conform to their desires.” The main body of your writing is either non-sequitur babbling (such as your statement above, which is completely unrelated… Or in being generous to you even advocates my thesis about the necessity of empathy training, doesn’t it?), or just superficial insight. Of course people need to find their own individuality, but this ideal is too a form of social engineering, isn’t it? The East places more emphasis on “group” social engineering (e.g.
        Confuciusism) while we in the West have the Renaissance’s individualism emphasized in our social engineering. So what?! Talk about embarrassing one’s self, will ya? Your level of insight is appallingly low, isn’t it?