Reader Mail

Japan has power-of-attorney solutions for people in same-sex relationships

The June 27 article “Fighting for the right to recognize same-sex marriage in Japan” says that "only marriage can grant the legal rights needed to deal with tax, inheritance, immigration status, social insurance, custody and a whole host of other matters."

This is not completely true.

I don't understand why these people are agonizing needlessly about legal matters. Marriage is not necessary in Japan to deal with medical, legal or postmortem concerns.

In Japan, it is possible to obtain a "Power of Attorney for Personal Care" (re hospitalization/illness), a "Power of Attorney for Property," a "Voluntary Guardianship Contract," a "Contract for Gifts on Donor's Death" (in lieu of a will), and a "Contract for Postmortem Mandates" that provides authorization and instructions for arranging funeral/cremation/ taking ashes to a temple, etc.

Years ago, my best friend and I went to a gyoseishoshi lawyer, obtained all these documents (bilingual versions, in English and Japanese), and got them notarized, so that either of us could act for the other.

These documents also have legal force in Canada and the United States, where we respectively had property.

When he was hospitalized after an accident, I was able to make decisions for/with him, and access his bank account to pay his medical bills, Tepco bills, etc.

He would have been able to do the same for me.

When he died, I was able to arrange the memorial service and cremation, and deliver his cremains to the temple of his choice.

Couples who are unable to marry in Japan should contact a gyoseishoshi lawyer and obtain these documents.

Kathleen Weller
Sanmu, Chiba Prefecture

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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