Monday, November 9, 2015

Tokyo towns issue first same-sex partnership papers in Japan

Eight couples in Tokyo’s Shibuya and Setagaya wards were on Thursday issued with certificates recognizing their same-sex partnerships as equivalent to marriage on the first day of the long-awaited policy change.

As local leaders heralded the milestone, advocates hope it will trigger further discussion about revising nationwide laws.

Although the papers are not legally binding, hospitals and businesses such as real estate firms are requested to treat certificate holders in the same way as married couples.

In Shibuya Ward, the first couple to receive the certificates were Koyuki Higashi, 30, a former member of the all-woman Takarazuka Revue troupe, and 37-year-old entrepreneur Hiroko Masuhara.

“I want many people to know that same-sex couples are around you,” Masuhara said. Higashi added, “This is a big first step forward.”

They were congratulated by Shibuya Mayor Ken Hasebe.


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