In the week that areas of Tokyo begun to allow same-sex couples to register for an official ‘partnership certificate,’ a Japanese life insurance company expanded its coverage to same same-sex couples.
The company joins mobile networks (KDDI and NTT Docomo) who have said they will extend family discounts to same-sex couples with the certification.
Until now, life insurance policies issued by Japanese insurers would only pay out to a spouse or relative. But from yesterday, Lifenet Insurance Co. will allow a policyholder to designate a same-sex partner as a beneficiary.
‘I hope that by having this system, there will be more acceptance of people with non-traditional families as equals by society, Lifenet’s president, Daisuke Iwase, said yesterday, reports Wall Street Journal.
Advocates of same-sex couples say that clarifying insurance rules is an important step forward, as as many as 89% of Japanese households hold life insurance.
Same-sex relationships are not legally recognised in Japan, though regional governments are beginning to introduce initiatives to afford gay relationships certification.
Although the certificates have no legal standing, at the time of announcing their certificates Shibuya ward stipulated that hospitals and businesses such as real estate firms would have to treat certificate holders the same as a married opposite-sex couple.