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The Supreme Court on Wednesday again ruled that century-old legal provisions forcing married couples to use the same surname are constitutional, upholding a 2015 judgment. The latest decision dismissed requests filed by three couples in 2018 to keep their separate surnames after local governments refused to accept their marriage registrations.

Two days earlier, an American Japanese LGBTQ couple sued the central and local governments, arguing that their refusal to recognize their marriage after one of them underwent gender transition is unconstitutional, Magdalena Osumi reports.

Elin McCready and Midori Morita filed a suit with the Tokyo District Court against the state as well as Tokyo’s Meguro and Ota wards. Both wards have refused to recognize McCready’s gender transition due to the legal status of same-sex marriages in Japan.

'It's just our family' documentary trailer | IKIX STUDIO
‘It’s Just Our Family’ documentary trailer | IKIX STUDIO

Earlier this month, a woman in a same-sex relationship also filed a damages suit against her former employer, the Hokkaido government and a mutual aid association seeking ¥4.8 million for being denied spousal benefits.

Whatever the outcomes of these cases, you can bet on one thing: If the government loses, it will appeal at every opportunity. As Philip Brasor notes in Media Mix, news outlets seldom talk about how Japan’s judicial system can drag things on for years — with the result that some plaintiffs don’t live to see justice done.