As of Wednesday (17 April), 20 local administrations in Japan were offering partnership certificates for same-sex couples.
Some 426 couples have registered for the certificates, according to Nijiro Diversity.
Conservative Japan does not allow same-sex marriage.
The certificates give couples limited recognition in government hospitals and housing.
Some large companies also recognize the certificates to offer the same spousal discounts given to straight couples.
【データ共有】地方自治体の同性パートナー認知は、20自治体・426組になりました。〈2019年4月17日 虹色ダイバーシティ調べ〉 pic.twitter.com/BmHioTHiK4
— 虹色ダイバーシティ (@nijidiversity) April 17, 2019
According to Nijiro, 77 couples have registered since they last performed a survey in February.
But, considering tens of millions of people live across the 20 municipalities offering the certificates, very few LGBTI couples have registered.
Lawyer for the Marriage For All Japan group, Takeharu Kato, previously said certificates had limited appeal.
‘The partnership system is playing great roles in making LGBTQ people and their life visible and promoting public acceptance, but the influences are limited because it does not have any legal privileges’ Kato also said.
Fight for marriage equality
Couples in Japan have this year launched an unprecedented push for marriage equality.
Two courts in Japan on Monday held initial hearings in landmark legal action against the government’s failure to recognize same-sex marriages.
Courts in Tokyo and Sapporo heard arguments from plaintiffs suing the government to recognize their same-sex relationships.
Government attorneys then confirmed they would defend its position, according to plaintiff Ai Nakajima.
Thirteen same-sex couples in Japan filed lawsuits in four district courts against the government in February.
The five female and eight male couples challenged local administrations that denied them marriage certificates. They are also seeking damages of US$9,000.
The couples also argue the government’s stance on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Japan is the only country in the G7 not to recognize same-sex unions.