Naha City is now in discussion to issue same-sex partnership certificates.

Right side woman is the Mayor of Naha City, Mikiko Shiroma. Left side man is a representative of Pink Dot Okinawa, Hideki Sunagawa. Naha City, the second municipality in Japan which made a declaration of its LGBT supports called, “Naha, the city of sexual diversity (Naha Rainbow Declaration)”at Pink Dot Okinawa in last June, announced that discussions are going to take place regarding same-sex partnership certificates which recognize same-sex couples as equivalent to marriage and introduce an ordinance for same-sex couples in 2016 or later. The city is planning to visit Shibuya and Setagaya wards which have already started issuing
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Maki Muraki, from Nijiiro Diversity, received “Women of the Year 2016” award!

On December 7th, Nikkei WOMAN gave an official announcement about the winners of “Women of the Year 2016” award and Maki Muraki, the leader of nonprofit organization Nijiiro Diversity(Rainbow Diversity), received “Change Maker Award.” The purposes of “Women of the Year” are (1)to show role models of working women, (2)to shed a light on individual achievement which tends to be forgotten easily, and (3) to analyze the social changes those women have made. “Women of the Year” has awarded a lot of women since 1999 and marked its 17th anniversary this year. Probably, Maki Muraki is the first out lesbian
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Takarazuka City announced the introduction of guidelines for same-sex partnerships.

On November 30th, Takarazuka City in Hyogo Prefecture, announced that the city is going to issue same-sex partnership certificates and set guidelines for same-sex couples, who submitted same-sex partnership certificates to its ward office, to allow those in same-sex relationships to receive various social services. The guidelines will go into effect in June, 2016. In Japan, Takarazuka City is the third municipality to issue same-sex partnership certificates after Tokyo’s Shibuya and Setagaya wards. It is the first city to recognize same-sex unions in Kansai region. Takarazuka City established a working group for same-sex partnership certificates at the end of last
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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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Setagaya Ward now issues partnership documents to same-sex couples. 

On November 5th, Setagaya Ward started accepting applications and issuing partnership certificates to same-sex couples. The mayor of Setagaya Ward handed partnership certificates to five same-sex couples. “I hereby certify that your relationship with your partner is equivalent to marriage. I wish for you great happiness together.” Some of the couples were crying with joy. According to Setagaya Ward Office, another two couples submitted the application on that day. In total, seven couples were issued with partnership certificates on the first day. One of the couples, Tsukasa Nakagawa, a photographer, and Yukiya Terai, a cooking specialist, told the reporters that
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Japan’s first partnership documents to same-sex couples in Shibuya. 

On November 5th, 2015, Shibuya Ward started to issue certificates recognizing same-sex couples as “equal to marriage.” Hiroko Masuhara and Koyuki Higashi became the first officially recognized same-sex couple in Japan. Ms.Masuhara and Ms.Higashi ,who had already applied for the partnership document on October 28th, visited the ward office right after it opened at 8:30 a.m. and received the certificate. “The contact person said to us ‘Congratulations! May the rest of your days be filled with happiness.’ I am really happy that our city recognizes us as family. With this certificate, I would like to try new things that we
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Nara City announced to be a member of the IGLTA

On October 1st, Mr. Nakagawa – Mayor of Nara prefecture has announced to be a member of the IGLTA (International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association) as the first Japanese local government to do so. A LGBT Seminar for the hospitality industry was held in Tokyo on September 29th and in Kyoto on September 30th, 2015. (The organizer was Out Asia Travel)  Ms. LoAnn Halden – Public relations director of IGLTA – was one of the speakers, and she visited the Nakagawa mayor in Nara city hall on October 1st, 2015. Ms. LoAnn Halden said “It is important to show the
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“Work of LGBT” – LGBT theme program in NHK has been broadcasted

LGBT theme program – “Work of LGBT” has been broadcasted at “Baribara”- barrie-free variety program of  E Tele (NHK education), as the first in a series “Sexual minorities”.  (For your information, the second round theme is “Double minority”) This program provides a way to show society how to recognize the mutual diversity, by hearing the stories from LGBT personal experiences. Some examples are “Job hunting after coming out is struggling”, “Repeatedly changing career due to discriminatory behavior in the workplace makes life so painful”.  The guest for this program was MTF transgender Ai Haruna. Ms. Maki Muraki – NPO Nijiiro
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Toshima-ku guidance for improvement to the incident “Rejection of single room accommodation for same-sex couples”

On September 25th at Toshima parliament plenary session, Mr. Taiga Ishikawa – openly gay subdivision parliament revealed the reality that more than half of accommodations in Toshima wards are rejecting single bed room use of same-sex couples, and Toshima wards decided provide guidance for improvement. In Article 5 of the Hotel Business Law, it is forbidden to refuse the accommodation, except where there is a risk of illegal activities such as infectious disease patients and gambling. However, according to the survey for hotels and inns in Toshima wards by Taiga Ishikawa, 143 facilities in 45 properties refuse men staying together
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