Five people in Japan are to file a potentially groundbreaking lawsuit against the government, to try and get a law changed which forces couples to have the same surname.
The group say the civil code violates equal and personal rights for married people.
While women are able to use their maiden names at work, they must use their registered surnames for official documents.
If the group succeed, married Japanese men and women will be able to keep separate names if they wish, removing a major obstacle to gender equality in Japan.
Machiko Osawa is a Japanese academic living in Tokyo.
First broadcast 12 January 2011
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