Tokyo issuing same-gender couple certificates

TOKYO, 1 Nov 2022:

The Tokyo metropolitan government today started issuing marriage certificates to same sex couples who live and work in the capital – allowing them to be treated on par with married couples in a country where homosexual marriages are not recognised.

Under the “Tokyo Partnership Oath System,” these couples will receive a certificate from the government of Tokyo – which will allow them to apply for municipal housing or receive information from hospitals in case one of them falls sick.

The programme, however, is not legally binding – which is why it does not include inheritance, custodial or residence rights, tax deduction, or benefits for in-laws.

In a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, activist Gon Matsunaka stressed the need for more efforts, although acknowledging the significance of the certificates.

He also emphasised that smaller districts in Tokyo must do more to protect human rights of the entire community and criticised Japan for being the only G7 country that doesn’t recognise same sex marriages, with “one of the worst” laws in this regard.

This adds to the public’s lack of acceptance, Matsunaka said.

Tokyo’s Shibuya district (one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo) became the first local authority to recognise same sex marriages in 2015.

The Japanese government, led by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), is resisting the legalisation of homosexual marriages under article 24 of the constitution, which recognises marriage based only on mutual consent of “both sexes” – meaning it can only be between a man and a woman.