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Tokyo's Nakano Ward to offer partnership certificates to same-sex couples this summer

TOKYO -- Efforts to issue same-sex partners who submit a written statement to be each other's life partners a certificate will begin in August of this year, the Nakano Ward Office here announced on May 9.

In addition to the "Nakano Ward Partnership Oath" certification, couples can also receive notarized documentation recognizing a delegation agreement for medical treatment and nursing care, property management and other areas in which married couples share responsibility.

"For those who feel that it is socially inconvenient to have a same-sex partner, we should be thinking about how we can eliminate those inconveniences, even if it's just a little bit," said Nakano Ward Mayor Daisuke Tanaka.

According to the Nakano Ward Office, both members of a couple must be aged 20 or older at the time of submitting the declaration document, and both must either be currently residing in Nakano Ward or planning to move there, along with other conditions, in order to receive the partnership oath document. Additionally, if notarized documentation of a voluntary guardianship contract is also submitted at the same time, the ward will also issue the official paperwork required if the couple decides to apply for a home mortgage.

Shibuya and Setagaya wards in Tokyo became the very first municipalities in Japan to offer a system issuing certificates and other recognition for same-sex partnerships in November 2015, followed by the introduction of similar systems in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, and Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, soon after.

"We made the preparations for the system after hearing a variety of stories and experiences, including those of same-sex couples," said Tanaka.

(Japanese original by Koichi Fukuzawa, Tokyo Bureau)

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