Original Article from here.

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Ayu’s Divorce! However, without entry into the family register, she is not a divorcee in Japan!
18 January 2012.

Singer Hamasaki Ayumi (33), who got married on New Year’s Day last year to Austrian-born actor Manuel Schwarz (31), has successfully filed for divorce through a lawyer at Nevada’s courthouse on the 17th. She is expected to be granted divorce soon. As the two did not register their marriage at the Japan public office, Hamasaki still maintains her status as unmarried. Hamasaki has left Japan for the Middle East on the 16th for work, and is expected to return at the end of this month.

The divorce application was submitted this afternoon (16th night, Japan Time) through a lawyer, and has been accepted.

The two held a wedding ceremony in a church in Las Vegas, Nevada, on New Year’s Day last year, and obtained a wedding certificate. However, this was never submitted to the Japan public office. Regarding this, Hamasaki’s company avex commented that “All wedding proceedings were conducted in Nevada, in accordance to their system”. As such, Hamasaki’s status remained as unmarried in the local family register.

Before her marriage, Hamasaki spent long periods of time in the US, and her plan was to spend her married life together with Schwarz in Los Angeles. However, the Tohoku Earthquake Disaster in March last year swayed Hamasaki’s heart and decisions. On the 16th, she left a message on her fanclub site, stating that “a strong feeling of reluctance to leave Japan grew inside me, and I could not imagine myself living in the US. In the end, my husband was left by himself as the days went by”.

Before the wedding, Schwarz frequently came to Japan to meet with Hamasaki, and continued to do so several times after the disaster. However, the gap between them gradually widened. Last November, Schwarz released a shocking nude photobook, which invited much distrust. As of now, he has made no claim for settlement money. On the other hand, rumors started that Hamasaki had found a new boyfriend, though avex insisted that “this is not the case”. They claimed that there is no third party involved.

The two met while filming the PV for “Virgin Road”, Hamasaki’s single which was released on 8 October, and started dating. On New Year’s Eve of the same year, they announced their lightning marriage, and held their wedding ceremony at Las Vegas on New Year’s Day, attended by 10 or so close friends and staff.

Right after the marriage, the two often exchanged tweets, but during the second half of last year, tweets about her husband decreased drastically. Hamasaki has now dropped Schwarz off her follow list, but Hamasaki is still currently on Schwarz’s list.

Before her divorce announcement on the night of the 16th, Hamasaki flew to the Middle East to shoot a PV for a new song. She has planned to return at the end of the month, and everyone is looking forward to hearing her comments on this issue.

◆The procedure to get married in Las Vegas, Nevada, known as the “Marriage Capital of the World” is fairly simple. About 100,000 marriage applications are received per year. Two people can just head to the public office and apply for a marriage license. All that is needed are identification papers (such as passport), and a $60 handling fee. After agreeing to the marriage terms and signing on the papers, one can obtain a marriage license. After that, as long as a wedding ceremony is held in Nevada within a year, the couple will be officially married. The procedure is the same for both citizens and foreigners.

As for the ceremony, an exchange of vows is to be done before a priest, and that will earn the priest’s signature on the marriage license. After submission of the signed license to the public office, one can make copies of the marriage certificate. After application for marriage registration at the Japan public office, one is required to submit this copy of the certificate together with a translated copy within 3 months of the ceremony. Hamasaki did not follow through on this last step, and is thus not registered as married in Japan. She has no record of ever being married in the family register.

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