Thursday, September 5, 2013
As I have previously discussed, Japan’s Supreme Court convened to determine the constitutionality of a Civil Code provision entitling children born out of wedlock to only half the worth of the estate handed down to “legitimate” heirs.
In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court has declared the provision unconstitutional, prompting a revision to the Civil Code, the first since 1898.
The unanimous decision reflects the increasing diversification of Japanese families and global trends towards ending discrimination. Chief Justice Hironobu Takesaki stated, “Even though the system of legalized marriage has long been considered the norm in Japanese society, the fact remains children themselves have no control whatsoever over their parents’ nonlegal marital status.”
See Tomohiro Osaki & Reiji Yoshida, Top Court Shoots Down Unequal Inheritance Rights, The Japan Times, Sept. 4, 2013.
Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.