A Japanese married couple petitioned for a court order that a Japanese local government accept birth registers for twins born from a surrogate mother in Nevada with the ovum and sperm of the Japanese couple. The state of Nevada, pursuant to its state court, had issued birth certificates for the twins, which showed the Japanese couple as their parents. The Supreme Court reversed the High Court’s ruling that the birth registers need to be accepted. It stated that Article 118 of the Japanese Civil Proceedings Act prescribes that a final judgment made by a foreign court takes effect in Japan only if it satisfies all enumerated conditions, which include that “the foreign court’s ruling and its proceedings are not contrary to public policy in Japan.” The Supreme Court recalled that the Japanese Civil Code stands on the premise that a mother of a child is a woman who conceived and delivered the child and that a mother-child relationship is established through objective factors such as gestation and delivery. According to the Supreme Court, when a parent-child relationship can be legally established is a matter that forms the basis of the country’s legal order, and factors for finding such a relationship must be unequivocal. Thus, the Court found that a mother-child relationship between the twins and the Japanese wife could not be established, given that the Nevada court’s ruling, which recognized a parent-child relationship contrary to Japanese laws, ran against the public policy in Japan. In its statement, the Supreme Court urged the Japanese legislature to address the issues of parent-child relationships and assisted reproductive technology through legislation.
2006 (Kyo) No. 47