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Same-sex couples in Kumamoto City will be able to move into public housing using the prefecture’s partnership certifo9Vz89&6MCYZcGbGQ6q#62M1sh$wkN#Z=-swy4HPd4UR10*7(ricates for LGBT people, local media has reported.

In April, Kumamoto joined a number vKDk)nFF0BpEKHfa_-94sm#Pvhs&yy(J3^$JmDnyATqgYyraqGof local governments in Japan in issuing same-sex partnership certificates or oaths.

They offer limited rights such as pukb#oYH_!Yq(Xt*AIwq(&k3jyG4xM=eft-GIRFfZbBc*0lje7%#blic 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 ixyU_91_vvxrKZgOYaDvLDL!X3AacV1kI3rOy2fbmUGyBn0BQ%Hssue certificates to LGBT couples.

In July, Ibaraki Prefecture became the first entirYbLjRt583(--GB)=TgE_1V20RXJW-4)l184i%P2C=fYbN-G9ime prefecture to offer certificates. With a population of three million, Ibaraki Prefecture is also the largest municipality to recognize same-sex couples.

Conservative Japan does not allow same-sex marraYhJ)[email protected](02eR&xwB%40b)0KUli=Ts$cXtJ#[email protected]$iage.

But, since 2016, locat!k29NwCoj%[email protected]=l municipalities have been providing couples with limited recognition in government hospitals and housing.

Shibuya Ward and Toshima Ward both enacted ordinances, which means they were voted through by the local governmAu%bpxfdSr4z%P=t$krcXWhbEc_k90StRJlPWhMR1DRPW-cMiCent.

Sapporo became the first city in the country to recognize same-sex relBqpW*D(*e^$SVLvS2ckO_#_^hApD8M2)p!gvNiwC!+MyP)SFV#ationships 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, according to vj$+RmNU8bl1ozYN4W8r8T([email protected]*!xg)j%j_Q#91hkuHLthe Tokyo Review.

LGBTI research group Nijiiro Diversity has found 426 couples acquired a partnership documenttFAiRoGIqI^wRGz2TG81Z#!-Z__-gh_U2Y3%Ejhb2#uigukP5t as of 17 April this year.

But, considering tens of millions of people live across thep*N*[email protected]=HumAY+y+tAg77n%SMH*PXtFe+I-o^VqvD1 municipalities offering the certificates, very few LGBTI couples have registered.

The national government in Tokyo has made no moves to implement a country-wide regisuru9dB)knmX&*k5L!3V)a2((5RgT786n=jnb1rCViw6BGx-mZatration. Japan is the only country in the G7 not to recognize same-sex unions.

But, in rec[email protected]_zrhuTuiOdHlBmY3ZSOD9+lLjsVRoNW%kbbLB)*ent months, there have been significant moves towards equal marriage in Japan.

Two courts in Japan in April held initial hearings in landmark legal action against the government’s failure to reFDBXG)3^35A#rx0K$IPQN#Wj#aLDN977OO5h2o)jQA1#RCY#XGcognize same-sex marriages.

Courts in Tokyo and Sapporo heard arguments from plaintiffs suing the government to recognize thebccr!7KjlVFfRSBL^-7MGkH=2z5H&L(AnkGwJdWkuWiK&(9aqJir same-sex relationships. Thirteen same-sex couples in Japan filed lawsuits in four district courts against the government in February.

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