The figures were revealed by the Tokyo Review.
The amount of areas in Japan that are reconigising same-sex couples has more than doubled since the start of the year. Going into 2019, only nine areas recognised them, that number has now risen to 22.
Local governments in Japan have been implementing ‘partnership systems’ which give same-sex couples the rights to move into public housing as a couple, gain hospital visitation rights and even get certain rights from their employers. The system also allows a partner to make necessary medical decision for their other half.
The system is being introduced as a guideline, rather than an ordinance, in order to be implemented quicker, as under Japanese law ordinances need to be voted on.
Additional research from Nijiiro Diversity, however, shows that only 426 couples have obtained the necessary documents in order to gain these rights. Although the number appears to be low, there are reasons, including the fact that both partners need to already live in the specific area to gain one there.
There is also the issue that the document will only be valid in the specific area, and gaining one could result in people who aren’t open to their families about their sexuality being outed.
The main reason that the local municipalities needed to make these documents is because the national Japanese government is failing to do so. The national government has yet to legally recognise same-sex couples or marriages, something that they’re being sued over.
The Japan Times reports that the claimants are seeking some form of compensation and that their claims will be filed in courts around the country, like in Tokyo or Nagoya.
One of the lawyers for the claimants, Shinya Maezono said: “We want our call to be widespread so that the freedom to marry will be recognized for everyone.”
Sapporo is one of the areas where these certificates have been handed out. One 32-year-old woman who got one of the partnership vow certificates said: “I was finally able to do it. It may be self-satisfaction but I want other people to use the system without caring what people around them think, because they can become happy.”