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Authorities in Ibaraki Prefecture said Monday they would start issuing partnership certificates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples from July 1, in an effort to address inequalities with legally married couples.

A total of 22 municipalities across the country have launched similar systems to recognize partnerships between members of sexual minorities since the wards of Shibuya and Setagaya in Tokyo began issuing them in 2015, but Ibaraki will be the first of the nation’s 47 prefectures to do so.

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