What is the family registration system in Japan?

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The family registration system is used in Japan to register Japanese citizens from birth until death.  In this way, the family register acts as a birth certificate, death certificate, proof of marriage and proof of divorce.  It also can be used to certify Japanese citizenship.  The family register, as the name suggests, is based upon familial relationships and parents, children and spouses will all usually be listed in the same register under a shared last name.

The family registration system is left up to local municipal governments and therefore each register is maintained at a city, town or village level.  While many of these local governments have started to modernize their family registries through adoption of computer and internet technology, some family registries in small towns are still based on paper.

If you have any questions about Japanese family registers, please contact our office to set up a consultation.