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Tokyo will implement same-sex partnerships in November

The new system is designed to ease the bureaucratic burden of Tokyo residents in same-sex relationships

Emma Steen
Written by
Emma Steen

In December last year, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike made a pledge to implement a same-sex partnership system by April 2023. It looks like we’re well ahead of schedule, however, with a new goal of establishing the system in November. 

According to Kyodo News, an updated version of the draft for the system released in February will be presented to the Tokyo metropolitan assembly in June. Known as the Tokyo Partnership Oath System, the new scheme is designed to grant same-sex couples some of the rights that married heterosexual couples have. 

While same-sex marriage is not legally recognised in Japan, some prefectures and local governments have implemented similar partnership systems to make things simpler for same-sex couples. Tokyo would be the ninth prefectural government to bring in a partnership system, following the likes of Osaka, Fukuoka and Ibaraki.  

The details of the new system are still being discussed, but it may finally enable Tokyo’s sexual minorities to give consent to medical procedures on behalf of their partner, apply for municipal housing with their partner and inherit their partner’s assets. 

Though the partnership certificates are not legally binding, some LGTBQ+ rights activists see the upcoming change as a step in the right direction, with hope that the new system in the capital will encourage full legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Japan. 

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