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Ministry of Justice of Japan Accepted for the First Time a Marriage Certificate to Register the Child of a Woman without a Family Registry

On 11 June 2008, the birth certificate of a child born to a mother without a family registry was accepted and registered by a municipality in Hyogo Prefecture. The woman was not registered because the Civil Code states that any child born to a woman less than 300 days after her divorce is considered to be the child of the "previous husband", and her marriage was not legally recognized either. If the birth was not registered, the new born baby whom the woman gave birth to in late May would also be without a family registry, and this has raised concerns.
A child of a non-registry woman cannot have a family registry under the current Civil Code. In this connection, Justice Minister Hatoyama said in a press conference on 3 June that the "basic policy is to treat (this boy) warmly in order not to remove him from the family register", and the Ministry of Justice indicated their decision to the relevant municipality, saying "if a woman can prove her identification with another document, the office can accept the marriage certificate". The woman in this case could prove her identification with her birth certificate by the doctor and other documents, and the municipal government recorded the legal marriage in the husband's family registry. However, this woman remained without a family registry.
 Another woman in Kameyama City in Mie Prefecture requested to register her child on the Basic Resident Register. She was not registered due to the so-called 300 day mark rule. According to Mainichi Shinbun, on 11 June, however, Mayor Tanaka of Kameyama City took the opposite view, saying "we cannot enter a child without a family registry on the Basic Resident Register, which does not comply with the Basic Resident Register Law.".
 Article 772-2 of the Civil Code states that "A child, born 200 days or more after the day on which the marriage was formed or born within 300 days from the day on which the marriage was dissolved or annulled, shall be presumed to have been conceived during marriage" and any child born to a woman less than 300 days after her divorce has to be registered as the child of the previous husband.
 In order to be included on the natural father's family registry, one must apply to mediate the denial of legitimacy to the family court, and the previous husband must testify that the child is not his. However, in some cases such as divorce due to domestic violence or other reasons, gaining cooperation from the previous husband in the family court can be difficult, the birth certificate of the child cannot be submitted, and consequently the child has no family registry.
 With regard to the amendment of Article 772-2 of the Civil Code, a project team in the ruling party drafted a new bill in 2007, but they did not submit the draft to the Diet because of the objections within the ruling LDP party, and decided that they would continue their discussions. The scope of the draft included referring to pregnancy "after the divorce" as well as "before the divorce", and shortening the waiting period for remarriage for women only for 100 days, rather than after the divorce from 6 months. (12 June 2008)

Sources:
·"Parents of non-registry children Form a Family Union to Request Revision of 300-Day Rule" Shikoku Shinbun (20 April 2008) (Japanese)
http://news.shikoku-np.co.jp/national/social/200804/20080420000273.htm
·"Infant Registered in Unprecedented Move" asahi.com (12 June 2008) (Japanese)
http://www.asahi.com/edu/kosodate/news/OSK200806110040.html
·"Child without a Family Registry: Mayor of Kameyama City Cannot Register to Comply with the Regulation" Mainichi Shinbun (12 June 2008) (Japanese)
http://mainichi.jp/life/edu/child/archive/news/2008/06/20080612ddlk24040164000c.html


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