The Tokyo District Court ruled on Friday that denying an American man in a same-sex marriage with a Japanese national a “designated activities” residency status — already granted to foreign same-sex married couples — was against the constitutional guarantee of equality under the law.

In what was both a loss and a win for the plaintiffs, the court ruled that Andrew High was not eligible for long-term residency status but should be eligible for the designated activities status, which could pave the way for other foreign members of same-sex couples to receive the status — although the wider implications of the ruling were not immediately clear.

High said at a news conference that he had felt pessimistic in the buildup to the announcement.