There is a growing movement to amend or review family legislation here in Japan.
In fact, four of the nine subcommittees of the Legislative Council of the Ministry of Justice are currently occupied by subcommittees on family legislation.
In court practice, in recent years, the Supreme Court has also reached a number of important decisions on family-related issues, including assisted reproductive technology.
These are due to advances in science and technology, advances in biological knowledge and the expansion of social awareness and movements (LGBTQ+ is one example), as well as an important review of the presumption of paternity in the Draft Outline for the Revision of the Civil Code (Parent and Child Legislation) published by the Legislative Council in February 2022. This is in response to an urgent social need to reduce the number of children without nationality.
It is very important to address each of these issues seriously. As a practising lawyer, one of the most important duties is to deal with the issues that arise every day.
On the other hand, it is also worth considering what ‘family’ means from a broader perspective.
The family legislation of a country is largely dependent on the “family” that the country considers ideal, or the kind of people it recognises as ‘family’ and seeks to protect.
By taking a broader perspective on how we understand the ‘family’ and how it should or should not be changed, we will be able to understand the root causes of the various family-related issues and to think about how to create a better family law system.