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Rakuten Bank Launches Housing Loans for LGBT (News)

Tokyo, Oct. 3 (Jiji Press)—Japanese online bank Rakuten Bank said Tuesday it has launched a new housing loan service for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT people. The service allows a same-sex couple to jointly take out a housing loan based on their combined incomes, just like conventional married couples, without any official document certifying same-sex partnership, such as the…

Calls for Marriage Equality at Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2017 (Japan in Photos)

A woman holds a placard saying “I want to get married” (結婚したい; kekkon shitai) as she marches in the closing parade for Tokyo Rainbow Pride in Shibuya on May 7, 2017. Some 6,000 LGBT people and supporters took part in the parade—a record number—calling variously for tolerance of diversity and marriage equality in Japan. (© Jiji Press Photo)  

Osaka Same-Sex Couple Certified as Foster Parents (News)

Osaka, April 6 (Jiji Press)—The Osaka municipal government has certified a male couple in the western Japan city as yōiku satooya, or foster parents who, for a certain period, take care of children unable to live with their own parents due to various reasons, it was learned Thursday. It is believed to be the first time that a same-sex couple have been picked as foster parents in the country. …

Court Rejects Compensation for Gender Disorder Suicide (News)

Hiroshima, Jan. 26 (Jiji Press)—Hiroshima District Court has turned down a request for compensation under Japan's industrial accident insurance scheme by the family of a woman with gender identity disorder who committed suicide in 2008. In the lawsuit, the family demanded the court revoke a decision by the labor standards office in Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture not to pay bereaved family com…

Sexual Minorities in Japan: The Myth of ToleranceNagayasu Shibun

Last year a graduate student at Hitotsubashi University killed himself after he was outed as gay. His family has taken the university and the student who exposed him to court. Despite superficial acceptance in popular entertainment, deep-rooted prejudices and discrimination against sexual minorities remain strong in Japan.

Japan in 2015: The Year’s Top Stories

Security legislation passes amid protests, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō makes a statement to mark the seventieth anniversary of the ending of World War II, and Japanese hostages are killed in Syria. A look back on the biggest Japan-related stories of 2015.

Rainbow in the East: LGBT Rights in JapanSechiyama Kaku

A new ordinance in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward recognizing same-sex partnerships has drawn headlines around the world and started wider discussion of LGBT issues within Japan. Sociologist Sechiyama Kaku examines the recent history of LGBT rights in Japan, including a 1990s court case that proved to be a turning point.

Shibuya Pioneers with Partnership Certificates for Same-Sex Couples

On March 31 the municipal assembly of Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward approved a statute under which the ward will recognize cohabiting same-sex couples as being in a relationship “equivalent to marriage” and will issue documents certifying such relationships. Although same-sex marriages and civil partnerships conferring comparable legal status are becoming available in a growing number of countries aroun…

Signs of Growing Acceptance for Japan’s Gay CommunityDavid McMahon

In what is seen by some as a landmark ruling for Japan’s LGBT community, the city government of Shibuya, Tokyo, last week outlined plans to issue same-sex couples with a certificate recognizing their relationship as being “equivalent to marriage.” The draft statute—now awaiting approval by the Shibuya Municipal assembly, scheduled to convene in March—was unveiled on February 12 as part of the d…

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