Big news coming out of Japan today. Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward is planning on issuing non-legally binding certificates indicating that same-sex partners are in “relationships equivalent to marriage,” the first plan of its kind to offer equal marriage-like benefits in Japan.

In Japan, there are cases of same-sex parters being denied housing together or being unable to visit each other in the hospital on the grounds that they are not relatives. To remedy cases like this, it has been common for one partner to legally adopt the other in order to make them relatives, but if the proposal passes, this will be unnecessary, in Shibuya Ward at least.

At the moment, there aren’t many details regarding the statute nor its details. I for one, want to know what specific benefits this document grants, and how they plan to make the businesses and facilities in the ward accept it.

In any case, the approval of this statue would be a welcome step forward and will hopefully bring awareness to the struggles of same-sex couples in Japan.

Japan Times “Same-sex couples to get recognition under plan by Shibuya Ward”
Huffington Post (日本語) 同性カップルでも「結婚に相当」証明書 東京都渋谷区が条例案【LGBT

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