Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Tokyo to recognise same-sex unions but not as legal marriage

People march with rainbow-coloured and heart-shaped posters and a banner during the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade in Tokyo’s Shibuya district in 2017 (Shizuo Kambayashi/AP)
People march with rainbow-coloured and heart-shaped posters and a banner during the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade in Tokyo’s Shibuya district in 2017 (Shizuo Kambayashi/AP)

Japan’s capital Tokyo has announced it will start recognising same-sex partnerships to ease the burdens faced by residents in their daily lives, but the unions will not be considered legal marriages.

Support for sexual diversity has grown slowly in Japan, but legal protections are still lacking for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Japan does not legally recognise same-sex marriages, and LGBTQ people often face discrimination at school, work and at home, causing many to hide their sexual identities.

Rights groups had pushed for the passage of an equality act ahead of last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, when international attention fell on Japan, but the bill was quashed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s conservative governing party.

A view looking across to Mount Fuji from the viewing platform within the Tokyo Skytree
The plan covers the entire capital (John Walton/PA)

The Tokyo metropolitan government unveiled a draft plan on Tuesday to accept registrations starting in October from sexual minority couples seeking certificates of their partnerships.

Same-sex couples are often barred from renting apartments together, hospital visits and other services available to married couples.

The Tokyo government said applicants will be limited to adult residents of the capital but will include foreign nationals.

The recognition of partnerships is not the same as a marriage certificate, it said.

The purpose is “to promote understanding among Tokyo residents about sexual diversity and to reduce inconveniences in daily lives surrounding sexual minorities in order to create more pleasant living conditions for them”, it said in a statement.

The plan covers the entire capital.

Tokyo’s Shibuya district in 2015 became the first Japanese municipality to issue non-legally binding partnership certificates to same-sex couples.

Shimbashi area of Tokyo
The Tokyo metropolitan government unveiled the draft plan (David Davies/PA)

About 200 other municipalities across Japan, or about 12% of the total, have since taken similar steps, according to advocacy groups.

A number of couples are fighting in courts for the right to marry.

The Sapporo district court ruled last year that Japan’s failure to recognise same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

Taiwan is the only Asian nation or territory that has legalised same-sex marriage.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]