Japan’s Ibaraki to issue civil union pact to same-sex couples from July

Ibaraki will become the first Japanese prefecture to recognize same-sex partnerships.

(Photo: pexels; Image for illustration purposes only)

(Photo: pexels; Image for illustration purposes only)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- The governor of Ibaraki Prefecture (茨城) in Japan announced on Monday (June 24) it will begin issuing civil union certificates to same-sex couples from July 1, reported Central News Agency.

While same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan, a civil union certificate will allow couples to rent public housing run by the prefecture. It will also enable partners to sign surgery consent at public hospitals, among other rights that were previously enjoyed only by family members.

Ibaraki will be the first of Japan’s 47 prefectures to issue such certificates.

The Shibuya ward of Tokyo City has been issuing same-sex partnership certificates since 2015. So far, same-sex partnerships have only been recognized by municipal governments in Japan, including Tokyo and Sapporo.

Ibaraki governor Kazuhiko Oigawa (大井川和彥) said at a press conference on Monday the decision was made swiftly, because “this is a matter of discrimination against citizens and violation of human rights.”