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Gov't council to ponder allowing care workers to use maiden name on nat'l licenses

TOKYO -- A government council on Feb. 26 will consider allowing workers with national nursing and child care certifications to use their maiden names professionally to promote work continuity.

The issue is one of 14 priority areas the Council for Regulatory Reform is set to debate in the coming weeks, and its recommendations will be finalized in a report to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by the end of June.

The government decided in September 2017 to allow all married national bureaucrats to use their maiden names professionally. Lawyers, judicial scriveners, certified public accountants and some others with national qualifications are also now permitted to keep using their maiden name if they notify the relevant professional association, such as the Japan Federation of Bar Associations. This past January, it became possible for doctors to list both their maiden and married names on their medical licenses if they so desired.

However, child and nursing care workers generally cannot work under their maiden names, as they are required to have their professional certificates reissued after a change of surname. Some individual facilities allow people to use their maiden names on the job, though their certifications carry their married surname.

Women's empowerment minister Satsuki Katayama suggested at a Feb. 26 news conference that she wanted to see expanded use of maiden names for certified professionals, saying, "It's surprising that it's not permitted on national qualifications."

(Japanese original by Minami Nomaguchi, Political News Department)

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