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Sapporo could be first major Japan city to recognize LGBT couples

/ 04:50 PM March 29, 2017
Sapporo recognize LGBT partnerships

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A major turning point is about to unfold as the municipal government of Sapporo has announced plans to officially recognize same-sex partnerships between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples.

The program will officially take into effect starting June, making Sapporo the first major city in Japan to officially recognize LGBT partnerships, reports The Japan Times.

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Sapporo’s local government initially planned for the program to take effect in April. They instead opted to set a publicity period in order to inform the public. The timing for the introduction was made known at a recent municipal assembly committee session.

According to the city government, around 1,500 individuals expressed positive views and welcomed the program. However, there are also some who opposed it. They voiced out that the program would accelerate the country’s issue in declining birthrates.

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Draft rules that were unveiled in January stated that those eligible for the status need to be at least 20 years old and residents of the city. Once they receive a “partnership vow,” a receipt and a copy of the vow will be issued by the local government.

This certification will not entail special rights or obligations for the couple. However, they will be eligible for life insurance, as well as various discounts reserved for family members.

Apart from this move by the local government, various efforts around the country have been taken to help eliminate discrimination against the LGBT community.

It was in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward back in 2015 that same-sex partnerships were first recognized in the country. Other municipalities have followed suit since then. Now that a major city has taken a stand, things appear to be looking well for Japan’s LGBT couples. Alfred Bayle/JB

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TAGS: LGBT, local government, same-sex couples, Sapporo
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