Is it possible to sue someone for adultery in Japan?

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In Japan, married couples have a legal obligation to remain faithful to each other.  Therefore, if one spouse is unfaithful, both the unfaithful spouse and the cheating 3rd party, may have an obligation to pay damages to the non-cheating spouse.  This is also true in the case of couples who are merely engaged rather than married, especially when the affair causes the breakup of the engagement.

This rule applies even if the 3rd party did not know of the marriage or engagement, as long as a reasonable person in his or her circumstances would have known.  Willful ignorance of the other party’s wedding ring is not a defense.

Furthermore, these damages can be claimed completely independently from whether the couple files for divorce or not.  Therefore, it is possible for a wife to sue the mistress of her husband while still continuing to stay married.

If you have any questions about divorce in Japan please contact our office to set up a legal consultation.