The Tokyo metropolitan government said it plans to introduce a system that recognizes partnerships involving sexual minorities from November as it unveiled Tuesday a new draft version of the scheme.
In order to enact the policy in November, a draft amendment to the existing ordinance on human rights that includes references to the partnership system will be submitted to the Tokyo metropolitan assembly in June, officials said.
Japan does not legally recognize marriage between members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, but many prefectural and local governments issue legally nonbinding certifications recognizing sexual minority couples.
Tokyo will be the ninth among Japan’s 47 prefectures to introduce some form of partnership system following Aomori, Akita, Ibaraki, Gunma, Mie, Osaka, Fukuoka and Saga.
In the draft, an updated version of one released in February, eligibility has been expanded to couples if at least one of them plans to move to the capital within three months, the officials said.
The system will not be limited by nationality, meaning non-Japanese nationals who meet the requirements will also be eligible.
To apply for the so-called “Tokyo Partnership Oath System,” at least one partner needs to be a sexual minority and reside or work in Tokyo. Both of the couple should be legal adults, they said.
The metropolitan government is considering allowing same-sex couples to apply for municipal housing and give consent at a medical institution for surgery to be performed on their partner, for example, according to the officials.
People will be able to apply for and receive their partnership certificates entirely online to protect their privacy, with certifications to be issued within 10 days, in principle, after applications have been submitted.
Applicants with children will also have the option to include their children’s names on the certificates, they said.
The Tokyo metropolitan government said it received around 8,300 comments as it solicited public opinion on the system for about two months through April. Some people expressed appreciation for the scheme, saying they feel that their “existence (as a sexual minority) is being recognized by society.”
Source: Kyodo News