Living Infomation

Comprehensive Living Guide for Foreign Residents in Japan

Top page >Legal procedures for your stay in Japan

Family registry (koseki)

Japan manages a family registry system. This system registers and officially certifies the personal events occurring in a person’s life including birth, marriage(s), childbirth(s), and death. Foreign residents do not have a family registry in Japan but are subject to the Family Register Act and are therefore required to notify of any births and deaths occurring in Japan to the local municipal office located in their area of residence. In case of a marriage or divorce, they are also required by law to notify their local municipal office. Such events also have to be reported to the government of the country of the individual's origin. The process and requirements for notification may vary by country; contact your country's embassy or consulate for details.

Any documents written in languages other than Japanese must be accompanied by an appropriate translation with the name and signature of the translator indicated. Necessary documents are listed below for information purposes only and additional documents may be required. Please contact your municipal office in the ward (or city, town or village) for details.

Marriage notification

If you wish to officially get married in Japan, you may do so by reporting your marriage to the municipal office in the ward (or city, town or village) of either your or your spouse's area of residence. Your marriage notification becomes effective immediately following the acceptance by the office. Required documents are listed below. If both you and your partner are a foreign national and wish to get married in Japan, you may do so at your country's embassy or concerned offices.

  • Marriage notification form: the form needs to be signed and sealed by two witnesses (only signature is necessary if a witness is a non-Japanese national)
  • Passport
  • Affidavit of competency to marry/Certificate of legal capacity to contract marriage (issued by your home country's embassy or consulate in Japan or an appropriate local municipal office within your country)
  • Copy of family register (Japanese citizen)
If both of you and your marrying partner are foreign nationals living in Japan, contact your municipal office in the ward (or city, town or village). After the marriage notification is accepted, if necessary, you may need to change your status of residence, etc.

Divorce notification

If you wish to have an uncontested divorce in Japan, you may do so by reporting your divorce to the municipal office of either your or your divorcing spouse's area of residence. Your divorce notification becomes effective immediately following the acceptance by the office. Required documents are listed below. Your divorce notification issued in Japan may not be legally valid in your country, depending on its own regulations. If both you and your partner are foreign nationals and wish to get divorced in Japan, you may do so at your country's embassy or concerned offices.

  • Divorce notification form: the form needs to be signed and sealed by two witnesses (only signature is necessary if a witness is a non-Japanese national)
  • Passport
  • A copy of family register
  • Resident card, special permanent resident certificate, etc.

Notification of birth

If your child is born in Japan, you are required to report the birth to the municipal office of the actual place of birth, your home address, or your registered domicile. The notification has to be submitted within 14 days of the birth by either the mother or the father of the baby. The documents required for the notification of birth are as follows:

  • Form of notification of birth
  • Personal seal (inkan/hanko; may be substituted by signature for non-Japanese nationals)
  • Birth certificate (attached to the form of notification of birth; to be filled out and signed by a doctor or a midwife)
  • Others (health insurance card (kenko hokensho) / mother-child record book (boshi kenko techo) )
According to Japanese law, a child who is born in Japan to non-Japanese parents is still considered as a foreign national and is not entitled to Japanese nationality. Couples who are both foreign nationals and have a baby in Japan are therefore required to acquire their baby's permission for residential status after they report the baby's birth to the municipal office in the ward (or city, town or village) where you reside.

Notification of death

If a foreign national dies in Japan, a notification of death has to be submitted to the municipal office of the place of death or the deceased's address. The notification has to be made by a family member, a cohabiter, or any other concerned individual of the deceased within seven days of the day this individual was informed of the death. The required documents for the notification of death are as follows:

  • Death notification form
  • Death certificate (attached to the notification form; to be filled out and signed by a doctor)
  • Resident card, special permanent resident certificate, etc. (to be mailed to Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau within fourteen days)
  • Personal seal (inkan/hanko; may be substituted by signature for non-Japanese nationals)

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Top page >Legal procedures for your stay in Japan
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