Japanese City Makes Landmark Move, Registers Same-Sex Couple as Partners

A Japanese city has taken a significant step towards recognising same-sex couples by registering a same-sex couple as partners at the same address. This move has been hailed as “groundbreaking” by the couple, highlighting the ongoing fight for marriage equality in Japan.

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The couple, Keita Matsuura and Yutaro Fujiyama, reside in Omura City, Nagasaki. Previously, same-sex couples in Japan were not registered together on residential documents. When they approached the city authorities about registering their partnership, Omura initially offered to list Fujiyama as Matsuura’s relative. However, after further discussions, the city agreed to register him as Matsuura’s “unregistered husband” on their residence certificate.

This decision is a first in Japan. Although not legally equivalent to marriage, it grants the couple some recognition and potentially opens doors to benefits typically enjoyed by married couples, such as hospital visitation rights.

Japan is the only G7 nation that does not recognise same-sex unions. While a growing number of municipalities offer partnership certificates, these lack legal weight. Public opinion polls suggest a growing acceptance of same-sex marriage in Japan, but the national government has been hesitant to change the law.

This move by Omura City is seen as a positive step towards achieving marriage equality for same-sex couples in Japan. It highlights the growing momentum for LGBTQ+ rights in the country.

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