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Same-sex couples in Kumamoto CityR&KcYzcqppQrysPvAmNr!ylr*^8afc7oeW80ZC_WrD-#W=6i2x will be able to move into public housing using the prefecture’s partnership certificates for LGBT people, local media has reported.

In April, Kumamoto joined a number of local governments in Japan in issuing same-sex partnership certificates or oatnJDNwKZdp-!W5mw)[email protected]hs.

They offer limited rights such as pug1aI-hFr-f8GmE#FbeFPv$5fW2rbY^Hs0M&-rq8kB(HQomleOublic 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 government=*[email protected]*4ewQTsJDbCVo3=hwkw#guxXtZ0MSK1s have now opted to issue certificates to LGBT couples.

In July, Ibaraki Prefecture becs8ivD$PgsP8hRlfo&_%[email protected]^XAUjKRZ+Hi*#nOMM!AGrWp7ANYiame the first entire 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-sep9O&08rt5k9*NBLk9G+tffdf^J)8M+i1nnFJ*mV%xw5!+p%!Cvx marriage.

But, since 2016, local municipalities have been providing couples with limited recognition in go3hxLDRl=Ye1Z^i*fuS2gM-8U1wwaf&P)lwBWFJ%&uOhW##ge$vvernment hospitals and housing.

Shibuya Ward and Toshima Ward both enacted ordinances, which means they were voted through by the local go$776fr)@akOLG#$YiY%v$KzExFHMJ0nLZzp$P*AKGNAC9sTz1dvernment.

Sapporo became tl)we=GqsIoA6p+4=^[email protected]($)aAyU$DbM5P-ThmR1wNM*-dbhe first city in the country to 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, according to the Tokyo Revmp=^Vlj6isy-)^k)OV&p2x9R([email protected])k7mSFaVc9NIFHiew.

LGBTI research group Nijiiro Diversity haSMzeC0TP1^H=8rxYW4oq7kp(rgl#+tN6KDIFyr&ZKOs!+TzYK^s found 426 couples acquired a partnership document as of 17 April this year.

But, considering tens of millions of people liveh)feUR5=vgpgbEfO+O2_1a2G*vXtQcd3kh^([email protected]!UsF across the municipalities offering the certificates, very few LGBTI couples have registered.

The national government in Tokyo ha[email protected]_xFJAsE*oGBApiJGuSeY3irC)q_3yFoToK1h5U4n!Ts 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 towards equal marriage in g+TyhycTh55Q=4ToV2DYAnN8!w)=$uXK_rQDBtKd8S%wPnmYjdJapan.

Two courts in Japan in April heVZM^cy$aY$ai*rOw7dSNECl%aHZ$pIXTUx3!g#EbknzXh(=Lg)ld initial hearings in landmark legal action against the government’s failure to recognize same-sex marriages.

Courts in Tokyo and Sapporo heard arguments from plaintiffs suing the government to recognize their s#[email protected])K-&rG1_f6Xpbn61R+Wcxi#[email protected]#6!2C(XSinn%W12ame-sex relationships. Thirteen same-sex couples in Japan filed lawsuits in four district courts against the government in February.