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Tokyo gov't workers with same-sex partners apply for couples' benefits

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government building is seen in March 2019. (Mainichi/Masaaki Shimano)

TOKYO -- Two employees of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government who have same-sex partners demanded on Aug. 19 that its Personnel Commission offer them the same benefits package as married couples.

The two workers -- a male gay teacher at a metropolitan school and an employee on loan to an affiliated organization who was born female but doesn't identify with any particular gender -- claimed that it was discriminatory for the Tokyo government not to offer them the same benefits package as legally married and common-law couples receive.

The benefits include allowances and paid leave for getting married, attending family funerals, as well as the use of government housing.

Ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the metropolitan government introduced an ordinance last October to protect human rights, which includes banning discrimination against sexual minorities such as LGBT. It aims to follow the philosophy of the Olympic Charter, which bans any kinds of discrimination.

Commenting on the case, a representative of the metro government's Bureau of General Affairs said, "We are considering the matter from a comprehensive viewpoint including consistency with laws and ordinances."

(Japanese original by Akira Okubo, City News Department)

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