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Same-sex couples in Kumamoto City will be ablQCL%[email protected]^UA_pdV(+fUskhz4a+Jwijwwe to move into public housing using the prefecture’s partnership certificates for LGBT people, local media has reported.

In April, Kumamoto j7_G%c)[email protected]^9aYUD(x%!9([email protected]!DFjoined a number of local governments in Japan in issuing same-sex partnership certificates or oaths.

They offer limited rights such as public housing, hospital visitr62GrPzElLBrHKo(^^[email protected]$b54mMis^GDfVV_xecg)Vation 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 optedFsh((ddYG%[email protected]@[email protected](K4 to issue certificates to LGBT couples.

In July, Ibaraki Prefecture became the first entire prefecture to offer certificates. With a population of three million, Ibaraki Prefecture is also the largest municipaLdQJ!zylbmRzyyeOT^_Tw9gX64fJSqsI9afoIx0CFsmYj&*59Rlity to recognize same-sex couples.

Conservative JapavgGlzgelQqJHEgCS+4TCnNzvVSk_CURMW*[email protected]n does not allow same-sex marriage.

But, since 2016, local municipalities have been providing #_3w3Qb^1ek0y)q2cE#9bAaX+d970Y0nss^Ap9bVyVe*Xc5Ls3couples with limited recognition in government hospitals and housing.

Shibuya Ward and Toshima Wa4hIYO0QDtK%_(pS+YwrX5oX=qX_Xw83IuSKn(17WTw($hJ49()rd both enacted ordinances, which means they were voted through by the local government.

Sapporo became the first city in the country to recognize same-sexD)p0!yqZWYe5(MVr+22lpiBp#%=bE#bQ=cGKz61F0%aUmb+IeH relationships in 2017.

In the first five months of 2019 alone, the number of local governments with a ‘partnership[email protected]_j-CJwzOALeSr76*c^S-Hsa9Eb)M+w9-cyShUY system’ has grown from 9 to 22, according to the Tokyo Review.

LGBTI research group Nio^+UyEQq3rsWp=bw7j9PZAhL=k#jxAKp3VVvP+-jvCXO2Bt!7mjiiro 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 munOyxo9dhg^JVD0tNg#)lxbhEaoiwFWHc)uI4!qkXR0aFId7ScB!icipalities offering the certificates, very few LGBTI couples have registered.

The national government 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 uni[email protected]^WSGVrYXTQbic)_c&cS&wIWsVc#[email protected]ons.

But, in recent months, there have been significant moves towards equal mvhAu7p(iAuoec)y+Zc+dR8Ii7ELc!hGoVRV)m^t8jR3iIt8rHMarriage in Japan.

Two courts in Japan in April held initial hearings in DhvBK*=ZjzhJiK)O+4p4Js)[email protected]+as6aItfmBlandmark 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 couples in Japan filed lawsuits in four distric!nh5kPMc*e2#C*4ophB_7oXfP=Ubl8J7inh^8Q4V6bF5E+lgSat courts against the government in February.

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