• Kyodo

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The Kobe Family Court ruled Thursday that a 32-year-old Saitama Prefecture woman without a family registration can have her name entered in her mother’s register.

The woman, who declined to be named, was not registered after she was born in 1981 because her mother did not want her registered under the name of her estranged husband at the time, as he was not her biological father. The mother had left her husband allegedly because he was abusive, and the couple divorced in 1984.

Under the law, if a woman gets pregnant while she is married, the husband is automatically designated the baby’s lawful father. Thus the mother did not register her daughter’s birth because she did not want her husband to become the lawful father.

In response to the woman’s request made in April, the court confirmed that her mother was separated from her husband at the time of her birth and stated that the woman is not assumed to be the man’s child. It is rare for a court to deny a blood relation only with a mother’s testimony, without implementing a DNA test, according to the woman’s lawyer.

After the ruling, the woman said: “Thirty-two years was a long time. Now I can become a Japanese citizen. I want to live proudly from now.”

The woman said she suffered various difficulties in life because she was not registered, including the inability to obtain national life insurance or a license to become a cook.

A citizens’ group that supports the woman said there are at least 10,000 people without family registrations in Japan.

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