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Japanese lawmaker questions gov't move to allow use of maiden names as aliases

Former Defense Minister Tomomi Inada is seen in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward in this June 29, 2017 file photo. (Mainichi/Yoshiya Goto)

TOKYO -- Former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) policy chief Tomomi Inada has questioned the Japanese government's move to allow the use of original family names as an alias after marriage, pointing to a lack of legal backing.

    "I have doubts about this country, as a nation ruled by law, moving to grant permission for the use of aliases, which are not backed by law," Inada told a House of Representatives Committee on Judicial Affairs session on April 16.

    The government has been taking steps to indicate one's "former surname" alongside their legal surname in passports and other official documents upon the applicant's request. However, Inada criticized the move, saying, "Aliases are not recognized in other countries, and you may get mistaken for a suspicious individual."

    Inada has been calling for the introduction of a system providing a legal basis for the use of one's premarital name, instead of allowing the use of aliases or married couples to continue using their respective original family names at their discretion. During the April 16 judicial panel session, the former defense minister noted, "You can't register real estate or businesses under an alias," and called for a law to permit use of premarital surnames for such transactions.

    Inada also took issue with Japan's current system for same-sex marriages, under which foreign partners of Japanese nationals are barred from obtaining a residency status in Japan.

    "It's unfair, as foreign couples (married overseas) are granted residential status," Inada said.

    Responding to the lawmaker's assertions, Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa only commented, "We will listen to various opinions and give the issue proactive consideration."

    (Japanese original by Shuhei Endo, Political News Department)

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