In March of this year, we shared the news that in Sapporo, Japan, the district court ruled that the government’s failure to recognize same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, which was viewed as a symbolic victory and a huge step forward for the LGBTQ+ community in Japan.
Now, more steps have been taken in Tokyo, which has moved to recognize same-sex partnerships, making it the largest city in Japan to do so.
Japan’s constitution still stipulates that “marriage shall be only with the mutual consent of both sexes,” but due to the work of activists who have filed lawsuits with the aim of pushing the national government to revise its stance, local authorities have proceeded on their own to recognize same-sex partnerships.
“In response to the wishes of Tokyo residents and those concerned by this issue, we will draft a basic principle to recognize same-sex partnerships this fiscal year,” said Governor Yuriko Koike last Tuesday, adding that the city plans to introduce the policy by the end of the following financial year which falls in March 2023.
Though the activist group Marriage for All Japan was happy to receive the news, it also noted that “partnership doesn’t have the same legal effects as marriage,” imploring the national government to “hurry up on [recognizing same-sex] marriage!”
According to activists, 110 local governments now recognize same-sex partnerships, which grants couples some rights, including the right to rent property together and to visit their partner in the hospital.