National

Support for use of dual surnames in Japan rises to over 40% in government survey

JIJI

More than 40 percent of Japanese support a proposed legal change that would allow married couples to use separate surnames, a Cabinet Office survey shows.

The ratio of respondents who said they would have no problem with the revision stood at 42.5 percent, up 7.0 points from the previous survey in 2012.

The ratio of those opposed to the proposed revision stood at 29.3 percent, down 7.1 points.

The interview-based survey between November and December covered 5,000 people 18 or older and drew valid responses from 59.0 percent. The results were released on Saturday.

The survey was the first to include respondents 18 and 19 years old. Previously, people 20 or older were covered as that was the previous age of adulthood.

The survey also showed the approval rate bouncing back from its decline in the 2006 and 2012 surveys.

Among proponents of the law change, only 19.8 percent wanted to use different surnames with their spouses. About 47.4 percent said they did not.

Asked if differences in surnames among couples, parents and children could affect family bonds, 31.5 percent said bonds would weaken, down 4.6 points, and 64.3 percent said there would be no impact, up 4.5 points.

The Justice Ministry’s Legislative Council in 1996 proposed allowing married couples to use separate surnames. But no legislative action has been taken amid strong opposition to the proposal.

In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that a Civil Code clause denying the use of separate surnames was constitutional.