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Japan gov't junior coalition party 'completely in favor' of separate surnames in marriage

Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of Komeito, is seen in this file photo. (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of the Japanese ruling coalition's junior party Komeito, has stressed his support for allowing married couples to choose between having the same last names or separate ones during a question-and-answer session with high school students on March 8.

    Speaking at a special event in Tokyo organized by correspondence high school N Koko, Yamaguchi responded to the question on the selective separate surname system by emphasizing, "Thank you very much for that question. Komeito is completely in favor."

    Regarding why no such policy has been implemented, he explained, "Part of the (Komeito's coalition partner and ruling) Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is strongly opposed to it." He went on to say, "It's not in keeping with the times to be caught up in traditional views of what a family constitutes."

    On Minister of State for Gender Equality Tamayo Marukawa's decision to include her name on a document by a group of lawmakers opposing separate surnames for married couples, Yamaguchi said, "In a Cabinet member's position, your thinking should be based on the government's," suggesting that Cabinet members should not be putting forward their own views.

    Among the other questions raised by students was whether Komeito would continue to maintain its partnership with the LDP for the coalition government. Yamaguchi replied, "We've formed coalitions with the LDP in the past because they're a better partner in terms of experience, human resources and collective power. But this isn't forever. They are (coalition) administrations that exist because they have the support and trust of the people."

    (Japanese original by Noriaki Kinoshita, Political News Department)

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