In 2017, the city of Sapporo will implement a system that recognizes the relationships of same-sex couples as “equivalent to marriage”. It will become the first ordinance-designated city to do so.
Same-sex couples cannot get legally married in Japan, but systems that recognize same-sex relationships as equivalent to to marriage have been introduced in Tokyo’s Shibuya and Setagaya Wards, Takarazuka City and so on, for a total of 5 municipalities.
Sapporo City will now become the first ordinance-designated city in Japan to recognize the relationships of same-sex couples as “equivalent to marriage”, and the system will be put in place in 2017 (Heisei 29).
The city will not carry out a system similar to Shibuya Ward, but rather like Setagaya Ward and others where the same-sex couples must first exchange an oath before being issued the marriage forms.
The forms hold no legal power, but they are expected to make things like applying for life insurance together or getting family discounts on cell phone plans and so on easier.
With the government of Sapporo, the fourth-largest city in Japan with a population of around 1,950,000 declaring support for LGBT individuals, one can notice the spreading trend of local municipalities supporting sexual minorities.
Source – 札幌が同性カップル認める方針