The July 21 election revealed an exciting trend in Japanese politics—28 women were elected to the upper house of Parliament, tying the record set in 2016. Though women now only make up 23 percent of seats, this is the highest number of female political representation in Japan’s history.
With a surge of women entering Japanese parliament, the game could very well change when it comes to who the law benefits in Japan. Historically, laws have favored men—they were the first to vote, they once had full control over their spouses, and continue to make more money than the opposite sex today.
Yet, the playing field will likely be leveled with time. Though the state of women’s rights in Japan is often under scrutiny, the nation has made strides in recent years to better the lives of women, hinting that things are only going to get better.
Let’s look at 10 Japanese laws already in place that are benefiting women in Japan.
1. The right to divorce in 1896
We know that marriage contracts—though legally binding until at least one of the participating parties perishes—were made to be broken.
Yet, the epidemic of divorce is a relatively new phenomenon, especially for women.
Article 728 of Japan’s Civil Code (also known as Act No. 89 of 1896) granted women the right to separate from their spouses. Matrimony has existed in some form in Japan for centuries, yet only about 100 years ago did half the equation have the power to end it. Imagine having no way out of an abusive or dead-end marriage!
The Civil Code further prohibited nuptials between close and adopted relatives and required minors to …continue reading