Yuji Mitsuya, a well-known voice actor in Japan, came out as gay.

Yuji Mitsuya, an experienced voice actor in Japan, came out as gay on a TV show on January 12th. He is well known for anime characters such as Tatsuya Uesugi in Touch, Hyoma Aoi in Combattler V, Tongari in Kiteretsu Daihyakka, and Virgo Shaka in SAINT SEIYA, He kept dodging the subject by saying “I’m in the gray zone” for so long every time people asked whether he was gay or not. One of the cast on the show asked him why he stayed in the closet. “I have a brother and I wanted to wait for his retirement because
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SHISEIDO is to treat same-sex partnerships as equivalent to marriage.

Last year, SHISEIDO had a big booth and many staff attended Tokyo Rainbow Parade. On New Year’s Day, SHISEIDO, the biggest cosmetic company in Japan (5th biggest in the world), revised its work regulations and now recognizes same-sex partnerships as equivalent to marriage. The employees with same-sex partners are now able to receive separation allowances and condolence money. Both the full-time employees and the contract employees can take childcare and caregiver leaves. It is the first trial of its kind for cosmetic companies to recognize same-sex partnerships as equivalent to marriage. A set of documents, including utility receipts, copies of
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Okinawa City Council of Social Welfare to open the first consultation center for LGBT people in Okinawa.

According to The Ryukyu Shimpo, Okinawa City Council of Social Welfare opened a consultation center for LGBT people in its building on January 5th. This center is the first consultation center for LGBT people in Okinawa. The city councils of social welfare in Tokyo and Osaka City have made leaflets and support programs for LGBT people, but the center in Okinawa City is the only consultation center for LGBT people in Japan. Teishiro Minami, one of the greatest gay rights activists in Japan, will supervise the center as a consultant. Mr. Minami, who lives in Uruma City in Okinawa now,
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Urasoe City, Okinawa, issued a declaration, “Rainbow City Urasoe Declaration” and Rainbow flags were displayed in the city office.

Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting Corporation’s media report said Urasoe City, Okinawa, issued “Rainbow City Urasoe Declaration” on New Year’s Day. The declaration is aimed at embracing sexual diversity in the city. On January 4th, the city hosted a ceremony in front of the city office and a rainbow flag was raised with the city flag. Yodogawa City, Osaka, issued a declaration for LGBTs and other local cities, such as Naha City in Okinawa, Takarazuka City in Hyogo, Hashimoto City in Wakayama, and Seki City in Gifu followed suit. Urasoe City is the 2nd city in Okinawa that has official support for
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Sapporo City to become first major city to recognize same-sex partnerships.

Members of Domestic Partnership in Sapporo Sapporo City has announced that it will establish a same-sex partnership system beginning in June 2017. This is the first of its kind for the major cities in Japan. NHK Hokkaido media report said same-sex partnership certificates will be issued to same- sex couples who swear an oath of their relationship and the city will recognize their relationships as equivalent to marriage. The certificates are not legally binding under the city’s ordinance, but same-sex couples in the city will be able to become recipients of each other’s life insurance money and receive family phone
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LAWSON, INC. is to improve its working conditions for LGBT employees.

LAWSON store staff cleaning up the street at Tokyo Rainbow Festival The Nikkei reported LAWSON, INC., the second largest convenience store in Japan, started a new team aimed at improving its working conditions for LGBT employees. The team consists of four employees from the personnel department and is striving to achieve a better understanding of LGBTs among all the employees. The new team invited experts in LGBT issues to its first in-house seminar and approximately 50 employees working in the headquarter learned a basic knowledge of sexual diversity and the issues facing LGBTs in the workplace in Japan and in
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Chiba City is to allow city officials with same-sex partners to take marriage and nursing leaves of absence.

The mayor of Chiba City, Toshihito Kumagaya. On November 10th, it was announced that Chiba City will revise its work regulations to allow its city officials living with their same-sex partners to take marriage and nursing leaves of absence. Same-sex partners will be treated as equivalent to married couples starting in January 1st, 2017. This policy change is the first of its kind for local governments in Japan. The city officials with same-sex partners will be able to take the same leaves of absence as heterosexual couples. When they get partnered/married, they can take a 6- day partnership leave if
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The Tokyo Star Bank, Limited is to become the first Japanese bank that recognizes same-sex relationships and extends financial services to same-sex partners.

On November 1st, The Tokyo Star Bank, Limited revised its term deposit policy and started to recognize same-sex relationships as family. Same-sex partners are treated as equivalent to spouses in some insurance companies in Japan , however, The Tokyo Star Bank, Limited is the first Japanese bank that recognizes same-sex relationships. Under their previous policy, “family” was defined as persons within the second degree, but from now on, same-sex couples are treated as family with the submission of an official partnership certificate issued by Shibuya Ward or Setagaya Ward. Preferential interest rates are also applied to same-sex partners in three
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‘Die Beautiful’ was awarded Audience Award and one of its cast, Paolo Ballesteros, wins Best Actor in the Tokyo International Film Festival.

On November 3rd, the award ceremony of the Tokyo International Film Festival took place and ‘Die Beautiful’ won Audience Award and Paolo Ballesteros won Best Actor. The film is about a life of Trisha, a Filipino transgender woman who dies after winning a beauty pageant. Audience Award goes to the best film that receives the most ‘like‘ votes from the audience. There were 16 films, in competition, chosen from 98 countries and regions this year. The film’s director, Jun Robles Lana, and its executive producer, Perci Intalan came up on the stage at the award ceremony. (Both of them are
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Osaka Prefecture issued administrative guidance to a love hotel that illegally denied a gay couple the use of its facility.

On 24th October, a love hotel in Ikeda City, Osaka Prefecture denied a gay couple the use of its facility and the public health center for Osaka issued administrative guidance to the love hotel. The gay couple said that they had visited the love hotel in early October but the hotel denied them entry because they were both men. The couple decided to consult with the public health center and administrative guidance was issued to the love hotel. The hotel said they would carry out discussions on future measures for same-sex couples. “It’s illegal for a hotel to deny someone
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