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29 Apr 2020

Japanese companies work around ban on same-sex marriage

Japan is the only G7 country not to have same-sex marriage or civil unions.

Japanese companies are adopting new partnership certificates to help them protect LGBT families, despite Japan not offering same-sex marriage.

Around 20 companies will start recognising ‘partnership certificates’ for same-sex couples from July.

The Famiee Project, a nongovernmental organization, has created the scheme to help same-sex couples get the same benefits that married couples enjoy.

They are not just looking to employers. They hope like-minded organisations, e.g. insurance companies, banks, hospitals and other service providers, will also recognise the certificates.  Cities recognise same-sex partners, but government remains stuck.

Japan is now alone among G7 countries in not offering same-sex couples the possibility of formalising their partnership, via a civil union or marriage equality - and the Famiee Project is not the only organisation to seek alternatives to help couples right now:  over 50 cities in Japan now issue partnership certificates to same-sex couples. These certificates are not legally binding but the cities hope they will help with day-to-day issues like visiting partners in hospitals or moving into shared rented accommodation.

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