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Same-s2MDvv(gygPk)Jr4^UG)LMC-J6AJ1*s0m(Pjoi7F2_jHYE2^r=Rex couples in Kumamoto City will be able to move into public housing using the prefecture’s partnership certificates for LGBT people, local media has reported.

In April, tqY$sQ%ZXUFN#SFjzDpqQ$UkjKTIziqnDGrE*lhMsW6cUs6iBRKumamoto joined a number of local governments in Japan in issuing same-sex partnership certificates or oaths.

They offer limip3xBFCz%pC3VQ)[email protected]([email protected](ted rights such as public housing, hospital visitation rights, the right to make medical decisions for the partner, and special benefits given by employers.

Kumamoto City representatives this week confirmed same-sex couples would be able to move into municipal housing, according to Yomiuri Shimbun. The same-sex couples will be listed as “relatives” in the housing documentations.

About 24 local governments have now opted to issue certificates to LGBT coupHD-#ku8^ooP7QZCaDpaaAqr8kInK2uEWDGflIlGXQ7-)tViJ&(les.

In July, Ibaraki Prefecture became the first entire prefecture to offer c&FT)p*K7*4iGDh+2_Ba!=tUj3Mog*[email protected]!C*2DlBOvHcp%B47Sertificates. With a population of three million, Ibaraki Prefecture is also the largest municipality to recognize same-sex couples.

C[email protected]%43sZ(D+nVd__h^SFyOm4oA*htt34DGf%i6cqonservative Japan does not allow same-sex marriage.

But, since 2016, local municipalities have been providing couples with limited recognition in governme[email protected]!xR4C)QH5d(bB93-lQljW3(*V0zZ^Ec()qF8BEp7JU96BYnt hospitals and housing.

Shibuya Ward and Toshima Ward both enacted ordinances, which means they were voted through by c2d#Xb=XLHm2qf$Hn3FNBuqX=w9%wicJQ5Judap)uLnW2BnEKSthe local government.

Sapporo became the first city in the country toGRbG=i6rN((0lhOD%%xlf=ZA95c1n*EhDo9zxwO_03TD)@IStj recognize same-sex relationships in 2017.

In the first five months of 2019 alone, the number of local governments with a ‘partnership system’ has grown from 9 to 22, accordings-C)A2+!S5p)+t+K6(%fi6mGyO)vSyC2aqcAYnsoa3mbl3Gt=7 to the Tokyo Review.

LGBTI research group Nijiiro Diversity has found 426 couples acquired a partnership doctmFzq!TfJR%$8hwb5N2x7V6NwYNrs9yVc$He9tL-F6%bPy+No^ument as of 17 April this year.

But, considering tens of milgWGOMy-8YIAVaZsD0*oH((f5V-yMUNJOGF2rSyCMyb_pEyaV7tlions of people live across the municipalities offering the certificates, very few LGBTI couples have registered.

The national goverI)5nv0=Mb)1R2Yx&F2(fXeBRZEiTKo)B_2wt4$4JggV5$$Ok3Lnment in Tokyo has made no moves to implement a country-wide registration. Japan is the only country in the G7 not to recognize same-sex unions.

But, in recent months, there have been significant moves towEp-^wU4zc$J%vG$b(X-BcjPt-Iz%#[email protected]#ards equal marriage in Japan.

Two courts in Japan in April held initial hearings in landmark legal action against the government’s failure to recognize sauV+Yt)98Q6!W7aE^oBK)SM#JH8%[email protected]me-sex marriages.

Courts in Tokyo and Sapporo heard arguments from plaintiffs suing the government to recognize their same-sex relationships. Thirteen same-sex couples in Japan filed lawsuits ^tRk5pNkU$hDlrEOBg7ZCUOEVU3Q&QmP=9_uUShxy$J+ABPu^Lin four district courts against the government in February.

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