File No. 894.4054/12

The Japanese Ambassador to the Secretary of State

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your note of even date transmitting to me a copy of a letter from the Department of Labor asking for further information upon the subject of the so-called “picture brides.”

In elucidation of the point inquired about by the Department of Labor and in amplification of my previous memorandum on this subject, I beg to state that in the law of Japan it is provided that marriage is complete and takes effect immediately upon its being notified either in writing or orally to the registrar by both parties with the participation in the act of at least two witnesses of full age and its being accepted by him; that if a document is employed for such notification it must be personally signed and sealed by the [Page 850] parties and the witnesses, but it is not necessary that the parties personally appear before the registrar; that if the notification is made orally both the parties and their witnesses must personally appear before the registrar.

There is no provision in the Japanese law specifically for a case where one of the parties to a marriage contract lives in Japan and the other under foreign jurisdiction nor has there appeared before the court any case involving this point for the reason that the places of actual residence of the parties concerned form no essential requirement for a marriage to be legalized. Such being the essence of the formal marriage in Japan, a Japanese man residing in this country can marry a Japanese woman residing in Japan by personally signing and affixing his seal to the document to be presented before the registrar in Japan and the validity of such marriage is amply attested by the issuance of certified copy of the family registry bearing the official seal of the registrar which document the so-called “picture bride” proceeding to this country is always provided with.

I may add that the marriage system of Japan being as hereinbefore stated, it would be inappropriate to use the phrase “marriage by proxy” in relation to the subject under consideration.

Accept [etc.]

Aimaro Sato