Despite the fact that these certificates don’t have any legal power, they offer a number of benefits for gay couples.

The first certificates were issued in two districts of Tokyo Shibuya and Setagaya on Thursday.

Japanese gay couple Hiroko Masuhara (L) and Koyuki Higashi
Japanese gay couple Hiroko Masuhara (L) and Koyuki Higashi smile as Tokyo’s Shibuya ward decided to issue “partnership” certificates to gay couples – japantimes.co.jp

They officially confirm same-sex partnerships. It is a big step forward for the Japanese gay couples, whose relationships are still considered taboo.

Before the Japanese lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) stayed in the shadows, but now they got a chance to assert their rights.

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Hiroko Masuhara and Koyuki Higashi are really happy that Japan acknowledged them as family – todayonline.com
For the first time, the mayor of Tokyo started an unprecedented debate on the equality of same-sex couples at the beginning of this year. He advised the governors of the other Japanese cities to discuss this issue and consider the option of introducing similar measures for solving this problem.

Despite the fact that the certificates don’t have legal power, they suggest a number of benefits, which can be taken as advantages by same-sex couples. For example, the holders of these certificates will be allowed to rent the joint housing, to visit each other in the hospital as well as enjoy a number of other benefits.

Thanks to the release of these certificates, the first who registered their relationship became Hiroko Masuhara and Koyuki Higashi.

Hiroko Masuhara (L) and her partner Koyuki Higashi
Hiroko Masuhara (L) and her partner Koyuki Higashi hold their partnership certificate as they walk out from the Shibuya ward office after the ward office issued the nation’s first same sex partnership certificates in Tokyo, Japan, November 5, 2015 – uk.reuters.com

“I am encouraged by the fact that the city where I live, acknowledged my relationship as a family” – said Masuhara. “I hope that the certificates will be a big step forward not only for Tokyo but also for the other Japan cities, that, I hope, will become comfortable for members of the LGBT community,” – shared her opinion Higashi.

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