Takarazuka has begun issuing official partnership certificates for same-sex couples that allow them access to the same public services as married couples.
Although the Japanese constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman, the city has drafted its own partnership oath.
Any gay couple aged 20 or older will be able to apply for the papers that will be signed by Takarazuka’s mayor. One partner of the couple can live outside the city, so long as he or she plans to move to the municipality.
Takarazuka is home of the cross-dressing all-female theatre troupe the Takarazuka Revue,
When the move was announced last year Mayor Tomoko Nakagawa said: “This is a step forward to encourage the drive for recognizing same-sex marriages across Japan and ultimately push the Diet to start discussions on the issue.”
Such certificates, also available in Shibuya and Setagaya in Tokyo and Iga, Mie Prefecture, does not have to be recognised by companies, though several major companies have declared they will do so.
The city of Naha in Okinawa Prefecture is scheduled to enact similar legislation in July.