Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture has become 4th municipality that issues same-sex partnership certificates in Japan.

On June 1st, Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture, started issuing same-sex partnership certificates that officially recognize same-sex couples. The city became the 4th municipality after Shibuya and Setagaya Ward in Tokyo, and Iga City in Mie Prefecture started issuing similar official certificates to same-sex couples. It is the first city in Hyogo Prefecture that recognizes same-sex couples and another city in Hyogo Prefecture, Mita City is now considering adopting the same partnership system. Takarazuka City now issues same-sex partnership certificates and allows any same-sex couple, who lives in the city, or is going to move to the city, to receive the
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Japan Transocean Air announces support for LGBT community in Okinawa.

Japan Transocean Air (JTA) announces support for LGBT community by allowing LGBT people to share their miles and inherit mileage from one another. Japan Airlines (JAL) announced to recognize same-sex partners as a family member, allowing them to share their miles this last February. JTA is an affiliated company of JAL. “We decided to take a supportive stand for LGBT community so that we can create a system that accepts and respects diversity in society. We have allowed same-sex partners to share their miles since last February, like other straight couples and families do.” JAL and JTA announced, according to
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Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2016 successfully sets a new record with 70,500 participants.

On April 30th, the opening reception of Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2016 was held at a cafe in Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building Observatories. People gathered to celebrate and kick off Tokyo Rainbow Week. Tokyo Rainbow Week was held from April 30 to May 8th. Chiyo Abe, a famous commentator from Fuji Television Network, who was dressed in a GAP-sponsored T-shirt came to facilitate the reception. “LGBT- unfriendly Tokyo is so lame!” Her enthusiastic speech on LGBT measures in Tokyo left a strong impression as an ally on everyone in the reception. Shinya Yamagata, a co-representative of Tokyo Rainbow Pride, declared open
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Ken Maeda, an openly gay television talent, and Masako Togawa, a Japanese Chanson singer passed away.

Right: Ken Marda, Left: Masako Togawa On April 26th, the entire LGBT community in Japan grieved at the sad news that two openly out television talents passed away. One of the two is Ken Maeda, an openly gay television talent, who became very famous for his funny mimicry of Aya Matsuura, a popular Japanese idol in 2004. Ken Maeda appeared in a variety of comedy shows and released his own songs and novels. They all became smash hits. He also played an active part as an actor and a movie director. In 2005, he openly came out in his book
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Iga City in Mie Prefecture started issuing same-sex partnership certificates. The first certificate was given to a local lesbian couple.

2nd right man is the mayor of Iga City, Mr.Okamoto. The center person in red Ninja costume is Soichi Yamaguchi. On April 1st, Iga City in Mie Prefecture started its new partnership system called “Iga City Partnership Oath” that officially recognizes same-sex couples as equivalent to marriage and issuing same-sex partnership certificates. Last November, Shibuya Ward and Setagaya Ward in Tokyo started issuing the official certificates. Iga City followed suit and became the third municipality that recognizes same-sex partnership in Japan. A memorial event was held at the entrance of the city office to celebrate another birth of LGBT-friendly municipality.
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Koizumi, from OUT JAPAN, and Ikeuchi, from Hotel Granvia Kyoto, received an award for “Ambassador” of The Year in IGLTA

Shintaro Koizumi(right side) and Shiho Ikeuchi(left side) have participated with IGLTA booths in almost all pride event in Japan since they were appointed to “Ambassador”. Shintaro Koizumi(right side) and Shiho Ikeuchi(left side) have participated with IGLTA booths in almost all pride event in Japan since they were appointed to “Ambassador”.Shintaro Koizumi, the president of OUT JAPAN Co.,Ltd known for its LGBT inbound tourism and corporate consulting, and Shiho Ikeuchi, the general manager of Hotel Granvia Kyoto known for its LGBT-friendly wedding services for international visitors, received an award for “Ambassador” of The Year in International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association(IGLTA).
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The word “LGBT” appears on school textbooks for the first time in Japan.

New textbooks for high school students are revised and the word “LGBT” appears in school textbooks for the first time in Japan. The new textbooks for next year will be open to the public and be selected by the end of August. There will be more descriptions on different sexuality and family forms in all textbooks of home economics and ethics for next year. 31 textbooks of geography, history, civics, and home economics will contain descriptions of sexual minority and diverse forms of family and 4 of the 31 textbooks will contain the word “LGBT.” Home economics textbooks published by
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“LOVE IS STRANGE” offers “Couple 50% OFF” discount to same-sex couples. The first trial of its kind in the film industry.

“LOVE IS STRANGE” is about a gay couple living in NY who has been together for 39 years and the gay couple faces happiness and unhappiness of marriage when they decide to get married. “LOVE IS STRANGE” will be open to the public in “CINEMA SWITCH GINZA” and other theatres on March 12th. Regardless of sex, any couple including same-sex couples who are 50 or older can get the 50% off discount. That will be 1100 yen for each. This is the first trial of its kind in the film industry. In order to get “Couple 50% OFF” discount, either
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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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