Naha City is to introduce same-sex partnership certificates by July.

Naha City made a declaration of its LGBT supports called, “Naha, the city of sexual diversity (Naha Rainbow Declaration)”at Pink Dot Okinawa in last June Last December, we told you Naha City started its discussion on same-sex partnerships and it is now trying to complete guidelines for issuing same- sex partnership certificates by July this year. Naha City will be the 5th municipality that recognizes same-sex couples in Japan. (The other municipalities are Setagaya and Shibuya wards in Tokyo, Iga City in Mie Prefecture, Takarazuka City in Hyogo Prefecture.) The decision was made in a regular session of the city
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Japan Airlines now recognizes same-sex couples as family and miles benefits are available.

Japan Airlines announced that it will extend its special bonus of “JAL Mileage Bank” to same-sex partners and allow same-sex couples to receive the bonus. Only family members of customers could register for “JAL Mileage Bank” and receive its bonus, but now same-sex partners, who has same-sex partnership certificates issued by their local government, can do the same. This great news was spread by an openly transgender councilor in Setagaya ward, Aya Uekawa, on February 18th. On her twitter account, she said that “If you show your partnership certificate to JAL, it will recognize you as family and you can
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Panasonic plans to change its company rules and recognize same-sex couples as equivalent to married.

On February 28th, Panasonic announced that it is planning to change its company rules and recognize same-sex couples as equivalent to married. This change will extend its company benefits to same-sex couples. Panasonic will amend its company rules in April and clearly show its willingness to treat its employees regardless of their sexual identity and orientation. This will affect approximately 250,000 employees working domestically and internationally. Panasonic’s company rules say “It will respect basic human rights of its employees and any discriminatory treatment will not be tolerated.” Panasonic will add to its rules “any discriminatory treatment regarding sexual identity and
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Iga City, Mie Prefecture, officially introduces same-sex partnership certificates. The third municipality to recognize same-sex couples in Japan.

Iga city has been famous for Igaueno castle and Ninja. From now on, Iga goes down in history as 3rd city in Japan which recognized same-sex partnership. On February 16th, Iga City, Mie Prefecture, announced that they officially will start recognizing same-sex couples as equivalent to marriage in April. Iga City is now the third municipality to recognize same-sex couples. Last year, Shibuya and Setagaya wards also introduced same-sex partnership certificates. Iga City now aims to raise the awareness of sexual minority and show respect to their human rights. Iga City introduced a system similar to Setagaya ward’s. Same-sex couples
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“FC Ryukyu” adopts a rainbow-colored uniform.

A J3 soccer team based in Okinawa called”FC Ryukyu” adopted a new uniform with a rainbow-colored left sleeve. It is the first attempt to show acceptance and understanding of LGBT people among all Japanese sport teams. On February 12th, “FC Ryukyu” announced 5 new players and showed the team’s new uniform in Naha City, Okinawa. midfielder Juan, forward Pablo, forward Leonard, defender Shuhei, Takizawa, and defender Katsuhiro Hamada, who officially joined the team last January, attended the press conference. Mr. Takizawa and Mr. Hamada were wearing the new uniform with a rainbow-colored left sleeve. A big rainbow flag and the
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Japanese style wedding ceremony is now available to international same- sex couples.

Ahsh Inc., a wedding company in Osaka started their new service “Equal Wedding Japan” that offers Japanese style wedding ceremony to international same-sex couples. Ahsh Inc. provides international same-sex couples and transgender couples with a variety of Japanese traditional wedding clothes. International same-sex-couples and transgender couples are able to hold a wedding ceremony in places such as a Japanese traditional house in Kyoto, a Nohgaku stage, a Japanese style shrine in a hotel, and Toei Kyoto Studio Park. All the procedures will be taken care of by English-speaking assistants. On Ahsh Inc.’s website, you can see great pictures of same-sex
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Kinema Junpo magazine announced the top ten films. Ryosuke Hashiguchi, a Japanese film director, won the awards for Best Japanese Director and Best Screenwriter and his latest film “Koibitotachi”(The Lovers) ranked 1st among the top ten Japanese films.

The 89th Kinema Junpo Magazine Best Ten Films was announced and Ryosuke Hashiguchi, an openly gay film director won the awards for Best Japanese Director and Best Japanese Screenwriter. His latest film, “Koibitotachi”(The Lovers), ranked 1st among the top ten films and Atsushi Shinohara, who plays the lead in “Koibitotatchi”(The Lovers), won the award for Best New Actor. Hashiguchi’s latest film,“Koibitotachi”(The Lovers)”, which is his first feature film in 7 years, was released last November. The film portrays lives of three people living with diverse backgrounds. Atsushi, whose wife was killed by a random killer on the street, still remains
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Group home for LGBT people will open in Nagoya.

Staff of “Kobo Dormitory” is making bed. “Kobo Dormitory,”which means “rainbow hope dormitory,” a private residence for LGBT people living with mental disorder, opened in Nagoya. The group home was built by those who also suffer from depression and other mental disorders in the hope of providing a safe environment for people living with mental disorders. “Kobo Dormitory” is sponsored by “Kobo-Kai”, a general incorporated association that supports LGBT individuals in Nagoya City. “Kobo-Kai” runs the group home and supports their residents based on Services and Supports for Persons with Disabilities Act. 6 people with mental disorders, such as depression
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My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame, who is widely known as a gay bondage manga artist, received Excellence Award in the manga division at The 19th Japan Media Art Festival.

On November 27th, The 19th Japan Media Art Festival Executive Committee announced award-winners and My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame received Excellence Award in the manga division. My Brother’s Husband written and illustrated by Gengoro Tagame, who is highly acclaimed as “master of gay erotic arts,” is a serialized manga in a magazine called Monthly Action Comics. A Canadian gay, Mike, who is Yaichi’s younger brother’s husband named Ryoji, visited Yaichi and Yaichi’s daughter, Kana after the death of Ryoji. My Brother’s Husband caused a big sensation in Japan. In book form, you can read a manga column, “Mike’s Gay
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Major domestic insurance companies including Lifenet Insurance Co. announced they will expand their coverage with same-sex couples.

On October 29th, Lifenet Insurance Co. announced that same-sex couples will be allowed to designate their same-sex partners as their beneficiaries and receive proceeds after the death of their policy holders from November 4th. With an interview, if needed, and the submission of documents confirming the two are in a relationship and lives together, same-sex couples can choose their partners as beneficiaries of life insurance. There are some requirements which have to be met such as the length of living together, however, Lifenet Insurance Co. acknowledges them as couples anywhere in Japan.(Certificates issued by Shibuya ward and Setagaya ward are
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