A Taiwanese friend S recently got married to her Japanese boyfriend. A day before her marriage registration at the ward office, I asked if she was going to use her annual leave to take time to submit their marriage and another married friend J chimed in saying the counter is open 24/7.
Wow, but why the need to do that? I thought. Both S and J replied that it is so that people can submit their marriage anytime since people are usually at work in the day. Ok, that sounds fair but I felt that there is more to that than the simple reason of people having to work in the day. Because the ward office is closed for all other purposes like getting your residential slip, your national insurance, your national pension, and what not, it does not seem logical that “people are at work during office hours” is a good reason enough for the counter to be open 24/7. Otherwise, all these other services should also operate 24/7.
I went to search further and found that one big reason was for inheritance purposes. In the event that couples wishing to get married keep delaying their application because they are unable to find time to do it, and if during this time, one party dies, the other party will not receive the proper deserved inheritance since they are not officially married.
This is true of divorce cases as well since women are not allowed to remarry within 3 months of divorce (revised from 6 months), and if the counters are not open 24/7, it becomes difficult for women to remarry as the estranged marriage will keep dragging on. As for the law, it has to do with identification of the father of the child if the woman is pregnant, but that can be an entry in itself so I shall not deviate from the topic at hand.
In any case, if you want to marry your Japanese partner, you can be assured that you can do it anytime, even at 12mn on a date that is meaningful to you and your partner.
Aww… how romantic.