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Wednesday, 20th February 2013
In General Japan News,

Calls to change inheritance laws for Japanese children born outside marriage

Inheritance law may be set to change in Japan as it is announced that there is a push to alter current legislation which states that children who are born outside of marriage do not have full rights to inherit assets.

Under the current system, babies born out of wedlock only stand to inherit half their parents' property compared to 100 per cent for those begot from marriage.

The calls for change follow the case of an unnamed man who suggested that he should be entitled to the same inheritance as his siblings who were born within wedlock.

A court ruled that the current situation is unconstitutional. The Shizuoka District Court stated that "granting a smaller share of an inheritance to children born outside a registered marriage has become less legitimate".

The man suggested that the court was right to rule the way it had as he believes it is unfair to discriminate a person "for something that is out of his or her control".

Just two per cent of children are born out of wedlock in Japan, which is much less than in the US where some 40 per cent of births in 2007 were to mothers who were not married.

In 2008, the rights of children born outside of marriage were highlighted when a change in the law meant that those born out of wedlock to a Japanese man and foreign woman would be granted citizenship.

The change in legislation meant that children whose fathers were Japanese but whose mothers weren't would now be able to apply for nationality as long as they were acknowledged by their dads.

Under the old law, fathers had to claim the child before it was born or marry his or her mother before the child was 20 if the infant was to be able to claim Japanese citizenship.

The Justice Ministry declared that it was unconstitutional to not allow children citizenship on the basis of its parents marital status.