Japanese Constitution

Article 24. Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis. With regard to choice of spouse, property rights, inheritance, choice of domicile, divorce and other matters pertaining to marriage and the family, laws shall be enacted from the standpoint of individual dignity and the essential equality of the sexes.

Source: House of Councillors, the National Diet of Japan

Source: World Intellectual Property Organization

Japanese Civil Code

  • (Puberty) Article 731. A man may not marry until the completion of his full eighteen years of age, nor a woman until the completion of her full sixteen years of age.
  • (Prohibition of plural marriage) Article 732. A person who has a spouse may not effect an additional marriage.
  • (Re-marriage) Article 733. A woman may not re-marry unless six months have elapsed from the day of the dissolution or annulment of her previous marriage.
    2. In cases a woman is pregnant from before the dissolution or annulment of her previous marriage, the preceding paragraph shall cease to apply as from the day of her delivery.
  • (Prohibition of marriage between relative by blood) (27) Article 734. No marriage may be effected between lineal relatives by blood, nor between collateral relatives by blood up to the third degree of relationship; however, this shall not apply between an adopted child and any of the collateral relatives by blood on the side of the adoptive relatives.
    2. The provision of the preceding paragraph shall also apply even after the relationship has terminated in accordance with the provision of Article 817-9.
  • (Prohibition of marriage between lineal relatives by affinity) (27) Article 735. No marriage may be effected between lineal relatives by affinity. The same shall apply after the relationship by affinity has ceased in accordance with the provision of Article 728 or Article 817-9.
  • (Prohibition of marriage between adopted child and adoptive parent) Article 736. No marriage may be effected between an adopted child, his or her spouse, his or her lineal descendants or their spouses on the one hand, and the parent by adoption or his or her lineal ascendants on the other, even after the relationship has ceased in accordance with the provisions of Article 729.
  • (Minor's marriage) Article 737. A minor child shall obtain the consent both of his or her father and mother in order to marry. 2. If either the father or mother does not give the consent, the consent of the other parent only shall be sufficient. The same shall also apply, if either the father or mother is unknown, or is dead or is unable to declare his or her intention.

Source: Yale Law School Representing Children Worldwide

Public Housing Law (Original Public Housing Law not available in English)

  • Article 23(1) Excerpt from IGLHRC Shadow Report: “Article 23(1) of the Public Housing Law makes rental of public housing available to relatives who are cohabitating or are planning to cohabitate, including those who, while not legally married, are de facto married. As Japan does not recognize either same-sex marriage or same-sex partnership, this law applies only married and unmarried opposite-sex couples.”
  • Basic Act for Housing 2006?: http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail/?ft=2&re=02&dn=1&yo=Housing&x=0&y=0&ky=&page=1

Law for the Prevention of Spousal Violence and Protection of Victims

  • Chapter I General Provisions, Article 1(3) (3) The term "spouse" as used in this Act shall include persons who are in a de facto state of marriage, even if it has not been legally registered, "divorce" shall include the circumstances of persons who were in a de facto state of marriage, even if it were not legally registered, and whose situation has changed to a de facto state of divorce.  (Interpreted to mean heterosexual couples – see IGLHRC shadow report)

Source: Japanese Law Translation http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail/?ft=1&re=02&dn=1&x=0&y=0&co=01&ky=housing&page=28

Law Concerning Special Cases in Handling Gender for People with Gender Identity Disorder  (Law No.111 on July 16. of 2003) (Effective Jul. 16, 2004)

  • Article 1: Purpose This Act provides the statutory handling of special cases for people with Gender Identity Disorder.
  • Article 2: Definition In this Act, “Gender Identity Disorder” means a person, despite his/her biological sex being clear, who continually maintains a psychological identity with an alternative gender (hereinafter, “alternative gender”), who holds the intention to physically and socially conform to an alternative gender, and who has been medically diagnosed in such respects  by two or more physicians generally recognized as holding competent knowledge and experience necessary forthe task.
  • Article 3: Procedure to Change the Treatment of Gender 1)The Family Courts are authorized to adjudicate a change in the handling of gender upon the application of a person with Gender Identity Disorder who fulfills the following requirements: i.) The person is 20 years or older; ii.) The person is not presently married; iii.) The person does not presently have a minor child; iv.) The person does not have gonads or permanently lacks functioning gonads; and v.) The person’s physical form is endowed with genitalia that closely resemble the physical form of an alternative gender.
  • Article 4: Statutory Handling of People Adjudicated to Have Changed Their Gender 1.) People who are adjudicated to have changed their gender, except as may be specifically provided otherwise in the laws, are regarded as having changed to an alternative gender in the application of the Civil Code (Law No. 89 of 1896) and all other laws and regulations. 2.) Except as may be specifically provided otherwise in the laws, the provisions in the previous section shall not affect personal status and/or any rights and obligations arising prior to the adjudication of having changed one’s gender.
  • Article 5: Application of Domestic Relations Trial Act In the application of the Domestic Relations Trial Act (Law No. 152 of 1947), the adjudication of a person’s change in gender is regarded as a listed matter included in Article 9, Section1 thereof.
  • SUPPLEMENTAL PROVISION (EXCERPTED) Effective Date This law will come into effect one year after the date of its  promulgation (July 16, 2004)

Source: Asian Pacific Law & Policy Journal  (Translation including amendment from 2008 re: minor child in Article 3) http://blog.hawaii.edu/aplpj/files/2013/01/APLPJ_14.1_Ota_vFINAL.pdf

Additional Resources