Kyoto is the Latest Japanese City to Recognizes Same-Sex Partnerships

In a new victory for Japan’s LGBTQ+ community, Kyoto has become the latest city to recognize same-sex partnerships.

While same-sex marriage remains illegal in the country, 57 municipalities and two prefectures have issued partnership certificates as of Sept. 1, providing some benefits to same-sex couples.


The Kyoto Municipal Government may issue a certificate to couples of legal age, with at least one party residing in the city, and neither party being married nor involved in another partnership.

While not legally-binding, the so-called “partnership system” gives same-sex couples access to public housing, hospital visitation rights and certain employment benefits.

Kyoto held a ceremony on Sept. 1 to mark its recognition of such partnerships.

“We will continue working hard to recognise diversity in sexuality and various forms of families,” said Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa, who handed certificates to five couples.

To apply, couples must prepare documents from their family register, visit a city facility on schedule and proclaim their significant other as their “life partner.”

By the end of Sept. 1, 20 couples have applied for the partnership certificate in Kyoto, according to The Mainichi.

However, same-sex partnership certificates may also come from a non-government organization (NGOs). In April, about 20 Japanese companies announced their decision to accept partnership certificates from Famiee Project.

Famiee Project (@FamieeProject), which runs a blockchain technology-based service, issues digital certificates to same-sex partners that help them unlock “access to a powerful network of large corporations and providers — from insurance companies to banks, hospitals and more — who share our mission of inclusivity.”

The certificate reportedly provides employees with conjugal and familial benefits available to married couples. Additionally, they were meant to raise awareness on the struggles faced by LGBTQ+ couples in a developed country that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

“We want to start changing where we can through the private sector so that families of same-sex couples can be recognized as normal,” Famiee founder Koki Uchiyama said, according to Kyodo News.

Feature Image via Getty

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