Japan’s capital has announced it will start recognizing same-sex partnerships to ease the burdens faced by residents in their daily lives, but the unions will not be considered legal marriages.
Support for sexual diversity has grown slowly in Japan, but legal protections are still lacking for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Japan does not legally recognize same-sex marriages, and LGBTQ people often face discrimination at school, work and at home, causing many to hide their sexual identities.
The Tokyo government said applicants for a partnership certificate will be limited to adult residents of the capital but will include foreign nationals.
Tokyo’s metropolitan government will begin accepting registrations in October.
The Shibuya district in Tokyo became the first Japanese municipality to issue partnership certificates in 2015.
Now, about 12% of the country's municipalities have taken similar steps.