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Hokkaido to allow single foreign residents, same-sex couples to live in public housing

The Hokkaido Prefectural Government headquarters is seen in Sapporo's Chuo Ward on Oct. 17, 2018. (Mainichi/Taichi Kaizuka)

SAPPORO -- Hokkaido will allow same-sex couples and some single foreign residents to move into prefecture-run homes from fiscal 2023 by relaxing requirements for tenants in public housing in response to society becoming increasingly diverse.

    The new policy was presented at a meeting of the Hokkaido Prefectural Assembly's construction committee on Sept. 12. Public housing in Japan's northernmost prefecture was originally intended for households of families with incomes below a set threshold, but the prefectural government has given admissions to people including single tenants aged 60 and older, or with disabilities, as long as they meet the income bracket under a local ordinance stipulation.

    Meanwhile, applications for public housing have been increasing from those who would not be eligible under the current regulations as societal needs become increasingly diverse. The prefectural government has been reviewing an alternative policy to admit tenants of various backgrounds such as same-sex couples and single foreign residents if they meet the income requirements.

    Hokkaido will revise the related stipulations by the end of October and notify municipal governments with public homes of the new policy from November.

    (Japanese original by Yutaka Yamada, Hokkaido News Department)

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