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Can a woman divorce a man in Japan?

Can a Woman Divorce a Man in Japan?

The Basics of Divorce in Japan

In Japan, divorce is governed by the Civil Code. Both parties must be at least 20 years old and have been married for at least three years. Unlike some Western countries, there is no concept of fault-based divorce, so couples can divorce for any reason. However, if only one party wants to end the marriage, they must first attempt mediation with their spouse.

Gender Roles in Japanese Society

Japan is known for its traditional gender roles, and this can play a role in divorce proceedings. Women are often expected to prioritize their family responsibilities over their own desires or career aspirations. This can make it difficult for women to initiate divorce, as they may face social stigma or financial difficulties.

Japanese Snack Box

The Role of Family Courts

In Japan, family courts handle divorce proceedings. The court will consider factors such as custody of children, property division, and spousal support when making its decision. If the couple cannot agree on these issues, the court will make the final decision.

Child Custody in Japanese Divorce Cases

Child custody is one of the most important issues in any divorce case. In Japan, courts typically award custody to the mother, but this is not always the case. The court will consider factors such as the child’s age, health, and relationship with each parent when making its decision.

Property Division in Japanese Divorce Cases

In Japan, property acquired during the marriage is generally divided equally between the spouses. However, if one spouse contributed significantly more than the other to the acquisition of certain assets, they may be entitled to a larger share.

Spousal Support in Japanese Divorce Cases

Spousal support (also known as alimony) is not always awarded in Japanese divorce cases. If one spouse has significantly more income or assets than the other, they may be required to provide financial support for a period of time.

Challenges Women Face During Divorce

Women in Japan may face a number of challenges during divorce proceedings, including social stigma, financial difficulties, and difficulty finding housing. These challenges can make it difficult for women to initiate divorce or to negotiate a fair settlement.

The Impact of Divorce on Children

Divorce can have a significant impact on children, both emotionally and financially. It is important for parents to work together to minimize the impact on their children and to prioritize their well-being during the divorce process.

Supporting Women During Divorce

There are a number of organizations in Japan that offer support and resources for women going through divorce. These organizations can provide legal advice, financial assistance, and emotional support during what can be a challenging time.

The Future of Divorce in Japan

As Japan continues to modernize, attitudes toward divorce are slowly changing. However, there is still a long way to go before women have equal rights and opportunities in divorce proceedings.


While women can technically divorce men in Japan, they may face a number of challenges during the process. It is important for women to seek out resources and support during this time and to prioritize their own well-being and that of their children. As Japan continues to evolve, it is likely that attitudes toward divorce will also change, leading to greater equality for both men and women.

How to divorce a Japanese husband?

In Japan, couples can get divorced either through the family court or through a simpler registration process at their local ward office. The registration process, known as “mutual consent divorce” or “kyogi rikon” in Japanese, is often quicker and less costly than going through the family court system.

What happens if you get divorced in Japan?

After getting divorced, it is important to inform the Minister of Justice or your local immigration office within 14 days. If six months have passed and there is no valid reason to keep your immigration status (as the spouse of a Japanese national or permanent resident), it may be revoked.

Can a man get divorce from his wife?

In cases where both parties do not agree to a divorce, the husband must provide evidence of one of several grounds for divorce, such as adultery, cruelty, or desertion, in order for the court to grant the divorce. However, a husband is allowed to divorce his wife for any reason.

How fast is divorce in Japan?

In the case where a husband and wife cannot come to a mutual agreement for divorce through discussion or mediation, the family court may intervene and make a decision for them called “shinpan rikon.” If this decision is made and neither party objects within 2 weeks, the divorce is finalized.

Is divorce expensive in Japan?

Upon being registered with the family register, the divorce becomes official and there is no fee for the divorce itself. However, copies of the certificate are available for a fee of 300-350 yen ($2-3) each. If neither party is Japanese, an informal procedure can be used to obtain a divorce.

Can I lose my residency if I get divorced?

If you hold a green card and are a permanent resident when you get divorced, your status should remain the same. However, the divorce may delay your eligibility for naturalization, requiring you to wait for five years instead of three.

It is worth noting that Japan has a very low divorce rate compared to other developed countries. This is due in part to cultural factors, such as the emphasis on family and social cohesion. However, the country has seen a gradual increase in divorce rates over the past few decades, especially among younger couples.

Another factor that may contribute to the challenges women face during divorce in Japan is the lack of legal representation. While both parties are required to attend mediation sessions and court hearings, they are not required to have an attorney present. This can put women at a disadvantage, especially if their spouse has hired a lawyer.

In recent years, there have been efforts to reform Japan’s family law system and make it more equitable for both parties. In 2019, a new law was passed that requires divorcing couples to work out a parenting plan before the divorce is finalized. This is intended to promote cooperation between parents and minimize the impact of divorce on children.

Overall, divorce can be a difficult and emotional process for anyone, regardless of gender or nationality. It is important for individuals going through this process to seek out support and resources, whether from friends and family or from professional organizations. With the right support, individuals can successfully navigate the challenges of divorce and emerge with a brighter future ahead.

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