2013 (Ju) No. 233

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A mother, on behalf of her infant child, filed a lawsuit for a declaratory judgment for absence of parent-child relationship with the appellant––a man to whom the mother was married when the child was born. The request for the judgment was based on the fact that a DNA test result showed that, with 99.99 percent probability, the infant was a child of a different man, with whom the mother was having an affair. By the time of the trial, the wife and the child had left the appellant to live with the child’s biological father. Article 772 of the Japanese Civil Code, in general, presumes a man to be the father of a child if the man is married to the mother of the child at the time of conception. While Article 774 allows the husband to file a proceeding to rebut such a presumption, the wife or the child does not have standing to initiate such a proceeding. The Supreme Court, stressing the importance of maintaining legal stability pertaining to familial status, found that the facts that (i) there was scientific evidence that clearly denied a biological father-child relationship and that (ii) the child was currently raised––without any problem––by the biological father does not negate the presumption of the father-child relationship under Article 772 of Japanese Civil Code, as the importance of maintaining the legal stability pertaining to familial status would not be undermined by such factors. Therefore, the Supreme Court found that there was no legal ground to deliver the requested declaratory judgment.



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