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Over 40% support separate surnames

Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — Over 40 percent of Japanese people support a proposed law change to allow married couples to use separate surnames, a Cabinet Office survey released Saturday showed.

The proportion of respondents who said they have no problem with the law revision stood at 42.5 percent, up 7.0 points from the previous 2012 survey.

The share of respondents who opposed the law change declined 7.1 points to 29.3 percent.

The interview-based survey, conducted between November and December, covered 5,000 people 18 or older. Valid responses were given from 59.0 percent.

Beginning with the latest survey, respondents 18 and 19 were included. Previously, people 20 or older were covered.

The rate of support for the law change bounced back after falling in the 2006 and 2012 surveys.

The approval rate climbed 11.3 points to 50.9 percent for men in their 30s, but declined 0.9 point to 52.4 percent for women aged under 30.

Among respondents supporting the law change, only 19.8 percent wanted to use different surnames with their spouses, compared with 47.4 percent who did not.

Asked whether differences in surnames in couples or parents and children could affect family bonds, 31.5 percent said bonds will weaken, down 4.6 points, and 64.3 percent said there will be no impact, up 4.5 points.

The Justice Ministry’s Legislative Council in 1996 proposed allowing married couples to use separate surnames. But no legislative action has been taken amid strong opposition to the proposal.

In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled a Civil Code clause denying the use of separate surnames constitutional.Speech

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