Is it possible to sue someone for engagement fraud in Japan?

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Breach of a promise to marry can lead to an award of damages in Japan.  Furthermore, similar to some types of commercial contracts, promises to marry do not have to be written down to be enforceable, as long as there is enough evidence to show the existence of the promise.  In many cases for breach of a promise to marry, the promise can be proved through showing that the couple had a traditional engagement ceremony, notified family and friends or purchased rings before the promise was broken.

Proving the existence of a promise to marry is the burden of the party bringing the lawsuit.  Therefore, the suing party must present enough evidence to show the existence of a promise to marry and show that there was no good reason to cancel the marriage.

When suing for a broken promise of marriage, it is not possible to ask the court to enforce the contract because that would essentially result in forcing one party to marry the other against his or her will.  Instead, a successful lawsuit for breach of a promise to marry will result in money damages.  These damages can include mental suffering as well as any costs incurred in preparing for marriage.  These costs can include items purchased for the wedding, hotel booking fees or even costs associated with quitting work to become a stay-at-home spouse.

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