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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Same-Sex Marriage in Japan? Shibuya Ward in Tokyo Makes a Move


Shibuya Ward Office in Tokyo has recognized a same-sex couple as being in a relationship equivalent to marriage. Accordingly, it is to propose to the ward council that the couple be issued with a certificate recognizing their relationship.

Apparently the couple had been denied the opportunity to be treated as a couple when applying for housing and when one of the couple was hospitalized. So, in July of last year, the Shibuya ward office began getting opinions from people involved and set up a committee of people familiar with the issues raised.

The ward has just reviewed and accepted the findings of the committee, and has therefore determined to pursue the issuance of a certificate, putting the proposal to the ward council. The ward office is intending to seek the cooperation of all businesses in Shibuya ward in recognizing all same-sex couples in the ward and treating them no differently from married couples. Both partners must be 20 years of age or over.

The system will be different from marriage, but if same-sex partnership comes to be recognized by the issuance of a certificate, this will be the first case of its kind in Japan, and is expected to start a debate concerning Japan's current, traditional household registration system, or kosekitohon.

Update - Setagaya ward will introduce the same legal recognition to same-sex couples as Shibuya from November 2015.

Stay tuned for more gay marriage news from JapanVisitor Blog.

Read more about gay Japan.

(The above is summarized and translated from Japanese media reports.)

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