National

Sapporo first major city in Japan to issue certificates recognizing same-sex couples

Kyodo

Sapporo on Thursday became the first major city in Japan to issue certificates recognizing same-sex partnerships.

The city also certifies partnerships between heterosexual couples with gender dysphoria. Other cities don’t do this.

“I am delighted,” a 32-year-old woman said after her same-sex partnership was recognized under the Sapporo system. “I was finally able to do it. It may be self-satisfaction but I want other people to use the system without caring what people around them think, because they can become happy.”

Upon signing a “partnership vow,” the couple receives copies of their vow and a receipt from the city. These documents do not confer legal rights or obligations, but enable them to become recipients of life insurance money and use family-member discounts for mobile phone and other services.

Tokyo’s Shibuya and Setagaya wards began same-sex partnership systems in 2015, followed by the cities of Iga, Takarazuka and Naha in 2016.