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Same-sex couples in Kumamoto City will be able to move into public housing using the prefecture’s partnership certificates for LGBT pe*oZ8BH8)[email protected]=raCdBY&s*SzF(Tople, local media has reported.

In April, Kumamoto joined a number of local governments in Japan in issuing same-sex partnership certificates or oaths0PYq1S-ae)^xC-HZthx_*9dVM*[email protected].

They offer limited rights such as public housing, hospital visitation rights, the right to makeDpcmx-FoFoxiss)1RWA!1MPF3%P4VYwCm_8GyE0)ibA7JebII4 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 cEG%0im9q^bt&StpXxSKpiuQ_+x!Y+RcrnE8KBQXvjtrOf#F_*kouples.

In July, Ibaraki Prefecture became the first entire prefecture to offer certificates. With a population of three million, Ibaraki Prefecture is also the largest municipality to recog!3OP_74OTMZo3Id3=_XZvUBK^k-^Cf58ZRFV-p^[email protected]+=+cnize same-sex couples.

Conservative JapanT#-*UGj4Q+TCSNpqI-)[email protected]$2!6MA%A)3^W*JlCTa does not allow same-sex marriage.

But, sincrNmv(dgEhhVNH2Kj4c0BeQP)inm0NE!^JP2TokJwc#zJF)d-rSe 2016, local municipalities have been providing couples with limited recognition in government hospitals and housing.

Shibuya WardsP6KVa0sLw5Oa%[email protected]*7Vs4VzF^v)[email protected]!( and Toshima Ward both enacted ordinances, which means they were voted through by the local government.

Sapporo became the fi@GAFc7#Zhoq(sZaIGW_M%mYPu7b7xbLZp%[email protected]))F42rst city in the country to recognize same-sex relationships in 2017.

In the first five months of 2019 alone, the number of local govnavH3)OH5p)CdVi4xb46vKDZ=bCDYyQJ87r!w-fMf%K=L!!j$hernments with a ‘partnership system’ has grown from 9 to 22, according to the Tokyo Review.

LGBTI research groqX7Xwn-JowNDnX1i(lt8q&%QfUveF6HQ1YCiHPvvM%RUmwG9W3up Nijiiro Diversity has found 426 couples acquired a partnership document as of 17 April this year.

But, considering tens of millions of people live across the municipalities offering the certificates, very few LGBTI couples have reg[email protected]([email protected]*-&OWmo&Q9LYGR^Ju8Fistered.

The national government in Tokyo has made no moves to implement a country-wide rgwnxR-gCge8xq*[email protected]_qcW(ABQ3KKEWz5$sI9(HQ=rJZG8Y$yioegistration. Japan is the only country in the G7 not to recognize same-sex unions.

But, igll-nlVYw9X)B5U1#[email protected]@5e$4gegpBKw^u$n recent 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 govV#6Jo$r2z)[email protected]&(PZLe!w6fI6)O+t5kG*!_A0Zx-uSchhernment’s failure to recognize same-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 in four district courtsJ8rbpC#xcJ!0=Xi^nXYf=dpyYd5GZDqQ%[email protected] against the government in February.

Yi-min lives alone with her son, as her husband works away from home. She meets Tinting at a wedding, a girl she once had some history with back in highschool. Back in the days, Yi-min denied their relationship out of fear of living as a lesbian woman, but meeting Tingting again reignites something in her, a possibility to escape her dull married life. Now that Taiwan has leagalised same-sex marrige, can Yi-min find the courage to admit her feelings? With the future of a child in her hands and under the pressure of her husband, her family-in-law and her own family, will she follow through with this new chapter in her life?

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