Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward accepts applications for recognition of gay couples


Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward on Wednesday began accepting applications from same-sex couples for recognition of their relationship.

The first such program in Japan, it grants recognition of same-sex partnerships as being “equivalent to marriage.”

The first to apply on Wednesday were a female couple, local residents Hiroko Masuhara, 37, and Koyuki Higashi, 30.

“Administrative procedures pose hurdles for same-sex couples, but I was happy because ward office staff welcomed us,” Higashi said.

Couples need to submit notarized documents that prove their relationship is based on love and trust. Shibuya Ward will issue certificates from Nov. 5.