• Kyodo

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The city of Okayama said Monday it will issue certificates recognizing same-sex partnership starting July 1 to couples living in or planning to move to the city.

It will join nearly 50 other local governments in the country issuing similar certificates to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples, and offering benefits such as allowing them to apply for public housing. Same-sex marriage is not legally recognized and the certificates are not legally valid.

Okayama has also agreed with Soja, another city in Okayama Prefecture, to mutually recognize their certificates and eliminate the need for new procedures when LGBT couples move between the two cities.

It has reached a similar agreement with the city of Hiroshima and is considering one with the city of Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture.

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