On Tuesday, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government unveiled plans for a new registration system that would recognize same-sex partnerships.
The news comes after that of the governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike promise at the end of last year, the government of the capital would launch a system allowing same-sex couples to access many advantages linked to marriage, including the right to visit the hospital and the possibility of renting apartments whole.
With the adoption of the policy, which is due to take effect in November, Tokyo joined the other eight prefectures that have already introduced some form of same-sex partnership system, including Aomori, Akita, Ibaraki, Gunma, Mie, Osaka, Fukuoka and Saga.
The Tokyo districts of Shibuya and Setagaya were the first to start a system in 2015, and the city of Sapporo was the first major city to recognize same-sex relationships in 2017.
Certifications that will serve as proof of partnership will remain separate from a marriage license as certain rights, including tax breaks and benefits, will remain exclusive to heterosexual couples.
The press release described the purpose of the new system as a way “promote Tokyoites’ understanding of sexual diversity and reduce the inconveniences of daily life surrounding sexual minorities in order to create more pleasant living conditions for them”.
Eligibility criteria include be over the age of 18 and have at least one partner resident in the capital, whether for work or study.
Even though the majority of the Japanese public is in to favor same-sex marriage, as the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reports, with 41% of respondents saying same-sex marriage should be approved, Japan’s conservative party holds a majority in parliament.
Japan remains the only member of the Group of Seven (G7) – an assembly of the world’s most industrialized economies – not to allow same-sex marriage.
Strongly advocates for gender equality pushed for same-sex marriage legislation when Tokyo was to host the 2020 Summer Olympics; however, the conservative Liberal Democratic Party rejected the bill.
In a landmark decision last year, the Sapporo District Court in Japan ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
The tribunal Explain that sexuality, like race and gender, is not a matter of preference and therefore same-sex couples should enjoy the same benefits as opposite-sex couples.
Despite the landmark decision, it has not produced any form of concrete legal rights for Japan’s LGBTQ-plus population, and even with the planned implementation of the partnership system in a few months, human rights groups man agree that the country still has a long way to go. protect the rights and interests of its sexual minorities.
Featured image via Reuters
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