Tokyo’s largest dis­trict OKs same-sex part­ner­ships

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Tokyo’s largest dis­trict has said it will start is­su­ing “part­ner­ship” cer­tifi­cates to same-sex cou­ples from Novem­ber, be­com­ing the sec­ond in Ja­pan to rec­og­nize such unions fol­low­ing a pi­o­neer­ing move by the cap­i­tal’s bustling Shibuya ward.

While the cer­tifi­cates would not be legally bind­ing, the Se­ta­gaya dis­trict coun­cil said it hoped they would en­cour­age hos­pi­tals and land­lords to en­sure same-sex cou­ples re­ceive sim­i­lar treat­ment to mar­ried peo­ple.

Ap­pli­cants must sign a writ­ten oath stat­ing their in­ten­tions as part of the ap­pli­ca­tion process.

The de­ci­sion last week comes af­ter next-door Shibuya dis­trict — a busi­ness and shop­ping hub that is home to in­ter­na­tional firms and em­bassies — passed an or­di­nance in March to start is­su­ing the part­ner­ship cer­tifi­cates.

It was the first such same-sex unions in Ja­pan.

Shibuya’s cer­tifi­cates are ex­pected to be is­sued from Oc­to­ber.

Se­ta­gaya ward is the largest of Tokyo’s 23 dis­tricts with a pop­u­la­tion of about


of 874,000 peo­ple, 6,000 for­eign­ers.

The wards’ cer­tifi­cates will carry only sym­bolic sig­nif­i­cance, since the Ja­panese con­sti­tu­tion iden­ti­fies mar­riage as a union based on mu­tual con­sent of the par­ties from “both sexes.”

While Ja­pan is largely tol­er­ant of ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity, there is no spe­cific le­gal pro­tec­tion for gay peo­ple, who com­plain that they may be pre­vented from vis­it­ing sick loved ones in hos­pi­tals or may be re­fused a ten­ancy be­cause their re­la­tion­ship is not rec­og­nized.

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