• Kyodo


A female teacher in her 40s and the Tokyo school she is employed at have reached a settlement that allows teachers to continue using their maiden names after marriage, the woman’s lawyers said Friday.

Nihon University’s Third Junior and Senior High School, based in the city of Machida in western Tokyo, had prohibited teachers from using their maiden names, saying the use of the name registered in family registries made it easier to manage and specify individuals.

But the terms of the deal, which was mediated by the Tokyo High Court and reached Thursday, will allow the female teacher and her colleagues to use their maiden names in school documents upon request.

In October, the Tokyo District Court dismissed the teacher’s request that she be able to use her maiden name. That ruling said that asking the teacher to use her married name made sense as a practical issue, prompting the plaintiff to appeal to a higher court.

The teacher began working at the school in 2003 and married in 2013, taking her husband’s surname and entering his family’s registry.

In December 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that a law requiring spouses to choose a single surname was constitutional and that disadvantages of having to choose a single surname had been eased because the use of maiden names at work had become prevalent.

The October ruling, however, stoked anger among proponents of using maiden names, saying that their usage remained an uncommon occurrence — an apparent step back from the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling.

“I’m really happy that I could use the name I want,” the teacher said in a statement through her lawyer.

The school, meanwhile, said in a statement that it accepted the settlement, adding that an extended court battle would not benefit anyone.

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