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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SoftBank to recognize same-sex partners as family. Employees with same-sex partners can take leave for celebration and condolence.

 SoftBank, one of the biggest telecommunications and internet corporations that has a number of well known corporations under the umbrella of affiliations, such as Yahoo!, BOOKOFF, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, and ASKUL, has revised its in-house policies to recognize same-sex partners as family members and extend employee benefits to them.  SoftBank had already started treating same-sex partners of its customers equally as ‘spouse’ and they were eligible for “Family Discount.” The company was considering revising its in-house policies that affected its 18,000 employees. Under the new in- house policies, same-sex partners of its employees are equally treated as ‘spouse’ and eligible
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Survey research on LGBTs conducted among youth by Kyoto City indicates more than 80% of the respondents answered in favor of political measures for LGBT-friendly society.

 Japanese LGBT community has seen a series of social changes for the last few years such as official recognition of same-sex partners in multiple local municipalities. With these situations as a background, Kyoto Gender Equality Promotion Association conducted its first survey on LGBTs among youth and released the result. The 640 respondents aged 15-25 were randomly chosen from six universities and one college, and City Activity Center in Kyoto City.  According to the result, 2.8% of the respondents identified themselves as sexual minority. All the respondents are young so many heterosexual respondents answered that they were supportive or acceptive of
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Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance will start offering fire insurance and car insurance to same-sex couples.

 On August 10th, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance announced that the company will release fire insurance and car insurance that recognize same-sex partners as “spouse.” With certification from Financial Services Agency, the insurances will be available as personal insurance from January, 2017.  Fire insurance allows policyholders to receive compensation when their spouse’s household belongings are damaged in a fire, however, same-sex partners are not eligible for the compensation since they are not legally treated as “spouse.” As for car insurance, same-sex partners are also excluded from benefits of “Drivers’ Discount” and “No Accident Discount” due to the current systems
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Seki City, Gifu Prefecture, declares its official support for LGBT community.

 ”We are now starting to make initiatives to support LGBT community and we hope everybody can live freely and embrace sexual diversity in our city.” On August 10th, Kenji Ozeki, the mayor of Seki City, officially announced “LGBT-friendly Declaration” in front of City Welfare Center. As many as 100 people attended the ceremony and released rainbow-colored balloons into the air.  Seki City is the first municipality in Tokai Region that officially announces support for LGBT community. In 2013, Yodogawa Ward, Osaka declared the first declaration of support for LGBT community in Japan and Naha City in Okinawa, Takarazuka City in
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Rakuten to recognize same-sex partners as spouses and offer married employee benefits to same-sex couples. Five initiatives aimed at LGBT customers such as Rakuten Wedding are being implemented.

Rakuten Inc, a famous online shopping mall and shopping-website operator with one hundred million customers, announced that it will expand the definition of “spouse” to same-sex partners at the board meeting on July 22nd. Under the new rule, same-sex partners of employees are eligible for the same benefits as married couples including condolence leave and consolation payments. Submission of documents with their signatures is required for the recognition, Rakuten Inc has more than 13,000 employees including non-Japanese employees. Rakuten Inc has worked on establishing in-house systems that promotes acceptance and understanding of people from different social backgrounds. Last June, LGBT
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Naha City is to become the 5th municipality that officially recognizes same-sex couples and issues same-sex partnership certificates. PinkDot Okinawa is to hold a wedding for a local gay couple.

On July 8th, Naha City, well known for its active role in LGBT rights movements and its declaration of support for LGBT community called “Naha Rainbow Declaration,” started issuing same-sex partnership certificates that recognize same-sex couples as equivalent to “married.” Naha City is the first city in Okinawa and the 5th local municipality in Japan that has the same-sex partnership system. Okinawa is the first local municipality that has both a same-sex partnership system and an official declaration of support for LGBT. According to the mayor of Naha City, Mikiko Shiroma, the same-sex partnership certificate is given to a couple
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Mie Prefectural Assembly unanimously passed a written opinion that asks for improvements of LGBT rights in Japan.

Mr. Inamori, an assemblyman of Mie Prefecture On June 30th, Toshinao Inamori, an assemblyman in Mie Prefecture submitted a written opinion that asks for abolition of discriminatory treatments against sexual minorities and improvements of LGBT rights in Japan. Mie Prefectural Assembly passed the written opinion unanimously. Mie Prefectural Assembly is now petitioning the Japanese government for establishment of laws that would ban discriminatory treatments against LGBT people in Japan. Mie Prefecture became the 4th local municipality that officially recognizes same-sex couples this year and the written opinion is to prevent those same-sex couples from getting discriminated when they start to
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