Shibuya Ward starts same-sex certification

posted on October 28, 2015

A Tokyo ward has begun Japan's first certification of same-sex couples to recognize their partnerships as equivalent to marriage.

The move is part of efforts to create a community that respects personal rights of sexual minorities such as homosexuals and transgenders.

Shibuya Ward began accepting applications for the service on Wednesday. Koyuki Higashi and Hiroko Masuhara were the first couple to apply.

Candidates must be aged 20 or older, live in the ward, and submit documents showing that they serve as each other's legal guardian and that their partnership is based on love and trust.

The certification is not legally binding, as Japan's Constitution does not recognize same-sex marriage. But the municipality obliges residents and businesses in Shibuya to treat certificate holders as married couples with fairness in social activities.

The ward is to hand out certificates from next Thursday.

source by NHK world
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