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Second Tokyo ward recognizes gay couples

Second Tokyo ward recognizes gay couples

Setagaya ward office.
Tokyo’s Setagaya ward announced Wednesday (29 July) it will start issuing certificates to gay couples as early as November, becoming the second municipality in Japan to recognize same-sex partnerships.

Though not legally binding, a Setagaya official said the certificates would ‘help eliminate disadvantages’ against gay couples, Kyodo news agency reported.

To be eligible, couples must be aged 20 or above and at least one partner must be a Setagaya resident or plan to move to the district.

Same-sex unions are not legal in Japan and the Constitution says marriage ‘shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes.’

Setagaya is the second most populous district in the Japanese capital with an estimated 837,185 residents.

In March, Tokyo’s Shibuya ward became the first municipality in the conservative country to adopt an ordinance recognizing same-sex unions as ‘equivalent to marriage,’ with housing and hospital visitation rights.

The district will start issuing partnership certificates in October.