Business

Same-sex couples to be offered 'family' phone discounts from NTT Docomo, KDDI

Kyodo

Mobile phone carriers NTT Docomo Inc. and KDDI Corp. said Tuesday they would launch family discounts from October for same-sex partners amid a growing awareness of the rights of sexual minorities. They will ask to see certificates issued by the municipality where the couple live.

Softbank Corp., Japan’s third main cellphone carrier, said same-sex couples are covered by its current system because it offers family discounts to people living at the same address.

“We want to make it more convenient for customers to use our service,” an official of NTT Docomo said. KDDI said it took into consideration the growing global discussion of the rights of sexual minorities.

Applicants for the discounts will be required to submit to NTT Docomo and KDDI certificates issued by their municipality recognizing the partnership as equivalent to marriage.

Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward in April became the first municipality to approve an ordinance for the issuance of “partnership certificates” to same-sex couples. The ordinance, aimed at respecting sexual equality and diversity, directs apartment owners and other businesses not to discriminate against same-sex couples.

Shibuya Ward is expected to begin issuing the certificates to gay couples in October.