LGBT Couples Receive Support by Local Governments 

LGBT Couples Receive Support by Local Governments 
Photographer: Monika Kozub/Unsplash


Malina Wiethaus

Japan and Human Rights Researcher 

Global Human Rights Defence 

Japanese municipalities have come together to support LGBT couples by signing reciprocal agreements simplifying moving to another municipality. Under the new reciprocal agreements, LGBT partnerships must not reapply for partnership in their new municipality of residence. In the past, LGBT couples were forced to dissolve their partnership when they moved, urging them to reapply in their new municipality of residence (Kyodo News, 2022).

Since the first of January, more than 40% of Japans population live under local jurisdiction recognizing lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender partnerships (Kyodo News, 2022). Despite living under local jurisdictions supporting LGBT couples, LGBT partnerships shoulder discrimination in their everyday life. The recognition of LGBT partnerships is not legally binding and does not go beyond the local jurisdiction. Hence, private entities, such as hospitals and real estate agents have the freedom to recognize the partnership or not (Martinez, 2022).

Transgender people especially face legal barriers, as they are legally required to undergo gender reassignment surgery, as well as sterilization and change their gender on a family register before they are considered their new sex (Martinez, 2022). 

The comprehensive partnership system hopes to reduce stress for LGBT couples, while raising awareness and urging the remaining municipalities to join the reciprocal agreement (Kyodo News, 2022). 

Sources and further readings: 

France 24. (2021, December 8). Tokyo to recognise same-sex partnership: governor. 

KYODO NEWS. (2022, February 7). 30% of Japan areas with LGBT partnership system have mutual accords. 

Martinez, E. (2022, January 10). FEATURE: Tokyo same-sex partnership plans highlight road ahead for LGBTQ rights. Kyodo News+.