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Five Japanese Cities Allow Same-sex Partnerships
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of July 11, 2016) Since July 8, 2016, the city of Naha in the Japanese province of Okinawa has become the fifth city in Japan to allow same-sex marriage. As of today, (July 11, 2016), same-sex couple may ask for marriage licenses in Naha. Naha officially accepted same-sex partnerships on February 22, 2016.
On Naha’s municipal website, interested citizens may download the application forms. Well… this means you would have to be able to read Japanese in the first place… ☺
After marriage, same-sex couples are now entitled to request social housing or health insurance – benefits previously only available to heterosexual married couples. Some large business companies offer same-sex couples the same benefits as straight couples.
In order to be entitled to marry a same-sex partner, both partners have to live in the city of Naha, and both partners have to be at least 20 years old.
From a legal perspective, we are not talking about same-sex marriage here – which is not legal in Japan yet – but about a registered same-sex partnership.
The Rainbow Declaration was accepted in Naha in 2014.
Since April 2015, the city of Naha has become the fifth municipality in Japan to allow same-sex partnerships. The movement had begun in Tokyo’s trendy Shibuya neighborhood. According to Wikipedia, another Tokyo neighborhood (Setagaya) followed, and then the municipalities of Iga (in April 2016) and Takarazuka (in June 2016).
For now, these same-sex partnerships are only valid in these five municipalities that issue or recognize them mutually. They have no legal meaning in the rest of Japan, and the Japanese government has no intentions as of yet to recognize such partnerships.