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Most Tokyo wards less keen on recognizing gay couples

Most Tokyo wards less keen on recognizing gay couples

Tokyo

Only one other Tokyo ward is keen to follow Shibuya and Setagaya in issuing partnership certificates to gay couples, a newspaper survey by a has found.

The Japan Times asked the capital’s 21 other wards whether they were considering certificates or other measures to publicly acknowledge same-sex relationships.

Only Bunkyo responded positively to both questions.

The ward intends to introduce LGBTI-inclusive policies by March 2016, an official said, but it remains to be seen whether they will include recognition certificates.

The measures are part of a larger project to update an ordinance Bunkyo passed in November 2013 to promote gender equality and end discrimination based on sexual orientation – the first such law in Tokyo.

Other less enthusiastic wards cited legal hurdles and lack of demand.

‘Laws in Japan do not acknowledge same-sex marriage,’ a representative from Arakawa Ward told the newspaper.

‘Our response has been in line with the laws. We have received few requests (to issue certificates recognizing same-sex unions) from our residents, but we will act in accordance with their requests.’

But nine wards said they were planning measures to support their LGBTI residents. These included Minato, Shinjuku, Bunkyo, Taito, Shinagawa, Suginami, Toshima, Itabashi and Nerima districts.

Most of the measures were educational events targeting both the public and ward employees.