Last week, two of the 23 wards (local municipalities that form the central part of Tokyo) issued the first certificates recognizing same-sex partnerships. This is not the same thing as recognizing same-sex marriage – marriage is governed by national law, and Japan’s Family Code does not recognize same-sex marriages. These certificates, issued pursuant to ordinances in Shibuya and Setagaya wards, are not legally binding, so they can only request hospitals, landlords and other businesses to treat certificate holders as they would married couples. However, many view this as a symbolic step that will, at a minimum, trigger discussion.
The International Practice Group of Garvey Schubert Barer is a cross-disciplinary group of attorneys practicing in areas ranging from business transactions, immigration, maritime, government regulatory work, transportation and logistics, and estate planning. The group members include bilingual and multicultural attorneys who are well-versed in handling these subject matters in a cross-border context. The firm’s attorneys have been actively practicing in the international arena since the early 1970s.