Japan sex-change parents can't change records
Mon Oct 29, 2007
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Supreme Court has denied pleas from two people with gender identity disorders to change their sex in government household records, their legal adviser said on Monday.
Masami Osako, 51, and Sayaka Morimura, 47, had wanted to have their registered sex switched to female from male after undergoing sex-change operations.
But both were denied the move under a law that says people who have children cannot change their sex on the household registry. Osako and Morimura each have a child with wives they had divorced before their sex changes.
Lawyer Toshiyuki Oshima, who advised the two separate cases, said he now planned to urge politicians to change the conditions under which transsexuals can change their records.
"Now that the Supreme Court has denied the change, we now have grounds to ask lawmakers to revise the law so that people with children can also have their registry changed," Oshima said by telephone.
Under a law in place since 2004, people diagnosed with gender identity disorder can change their sex in Japan's detailed household registry system, but under several conditions, including that they are unmarried and have no children.
More than 570 people succeeded in changing their registered sex under the law up until the end of 2006, Oshima said. Eight have been denied the change, all because they had children.
The Supreme Court ruled that allowing a registry change for someone with a child would "add confusion to family discipline and would possibly cause problems for the child's welfare."
Japanese parents cannot change registered sex: top court
1 day ago
TOKYO (AFP) — Japan's top court has ruled that people cannot change their registered sex if they have children, lawyers said Monday.
The Supreme Court rejected a plea by Masami Osako, a 51-year-old born as a biological male who has gender identity disorder, to change her family registry entry to describe herself as a female, her lawyer said.
Osako, of the western city of Amagasaki, lived as a married man and fathered a child before getting divorced and undergoing a sex change operation.
A similar plea by Sayaka Morimura, 41, of Ikoma, near the western city of Nara, has also been turned down by the court, her lawyer said.
The pleas had earlier been rejected by local courts.
The two had sought to amend a law that allows people with gender identity disorder to change their sex in registers if they are 20 years old or older, unmarried and childless and no longer have functioning reproductive organs of their former genders.
"If a gender change is approved for a person with a child, it may disrupt order in the family and cause problems with regard to the child's welfare," the Supreme Court ruled, according to the lawyers.
"The law does not lack rationality or contravene the constitutional right to equality."
In July 2004, Japan introduced a law that allows people to register under a different sex after sex change operations.
The law was meant to eliminate embarrassment and discrimination against Japanese who have changed sex. They had earlier been obliged to present birth records that showed them to be of a different gender when they sought jobs or housing.