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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 P7RmOVxsB*afmfCKCt&xYK!BUzbyL&l9W&GU3Qc5Ab0KsAUWi=LGBT people, local media has reported.

In April, Kumamoto joined a number of lB(S_uyUL6nZ*Fk)wDR-n32fcU2kD=qUB*r4oIV!w0nw1tUXPx7ocal governments in Japan in issuing same-sex partnership certificates or oaths.

They offer limited rights such as public housing, hospital visitation rights, the right to make medi[email protected](EY_ecA!q$A(zn4ve4nK)$t30R(@*^M(cal 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 goi*epWO#M=pCH2$1#[email protected]@zO#RTNp%xg1(ZTXs#0#4qoGWVvernments have now opted to issue certificates to LGBT couples.

In July, Ibaraki Prefecture became the first entire prefecture toxhbn62IQoW&HIrMyDR9(*Mt2M&#%XR_mYj=)K)%KHIa&!pttws 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-3vB8T*71LsB^Fj-VE-*A^8J!q*hNW1bVSpQ^xh(P+nXATRS_X3sex marriage.

But, since 2016, local municipalities have been prw4&jG#C_M9rp2wZ0Ib8A#)OmnR+!GtSa=6EAGorzTrg^[email protected]oviding 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 governtTh&9gKUZSw6Ihmyb5Ao1b49uNi4PJ%yZD5b(7FefMw^NP!8D%ment.

Sapporo became the first city in the country to recgXse7PRmJIl6aZMOv&$#bXNLKtd5H+i^WBczt456x%GHi($JlPognize same-sex relationships in 2017.

In the first five months of 2019 alone, the number of local governments with a ‘partnership systeNcMU0lU4HACU#J-EGEGOKpy$VkuDO5P9v2OaNyuQF2UXyaR5yjm’ has grown from 9 to 22, according to the Tokyo Review.

LGBTI research group Nij0g6ZQUdtMvHlbG3z+Z*%rQoKahwIjyC5jIE1LSw%-JKs-$DtfNiiro 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 have3x)[email protected]=gfNsjqQyO#rOVKpJ5_KfrVJUsnCw_!AR)BrM5 registered.

The national government in Tokyo has made no moves tf+UEX$)gQX%1*l-**#Ix*(_geW2xK*+5aiDPikn!S*!+A0wjnXo 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[email protected](#&Lm&DrInqIYCBT8OJA1egr_u33-kTrJ(I0WddN3( in Japan.

Two courts in JaAZ#[email protected]#jdo^L=9bPbmGO8g3X0z#wP4jVPDkVpan in April held 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 same-sex relationships. Thirteen same-sex coRCBfG-)LT9aP!*$0NF*Rse(=oPHAT6+^G^U(j$mN&_2n*+=0^Iuples in Japan filed lawsuits in four district courts against the government in February.

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