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

takarazukashiOn 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 partnership certificate after they submitted their written oath of partnership.

The certificate allows same-sex couples to become joint guarantors and sign surgical consent forms as a family member in hospitals.

Takarazuka City is now considering amending existing ordinances so that same-sex couples with partnership certificates can apply for municipal housings. The city also will ask private real estate agents to treat same-sex couples like other straight couples when they are looking for housings.

Last November, Takarazuka City made a declaration called “LGBT-Friendly City Making” and became the 3rd municipality that officially took a supportive stand for LGBT community in Japan. The same-sex partnership certificate system is part of their LGBT support called “City Making Policy For A City Where Everyone Can Be Truly Who They Are.”

The city also started new telephone consultation services on June 1st. An appointed non- profit organization now offers the telephone consultation services every Wednesday.

Takarazuka City will keep its stand for LGBT community and is considering holding seminars and trainings for city officials in order to achieve better understanding of LGBT people among everyone in the city.

The personnel from Human Rights and Gender Equality Division said “we would like to support LGBT community and make these systems more helpful to the community.”