Tokyo will soon recognise same-sex partnerships, though the move does not give couples the same rights that married couples get in Japan.

The city’s government announced the draft plan on 10 May, with couples eligible to register for certificates recognising their partnerships from October.

Applicants will be limited to residents of Tokyo, which includes foreign nationals living there.

The intention is “to promote understanding among Tokyo residents about sexual diversity and to reduce inconveniences in daily lives surrounding sexual minorities in order to create more pleasant living conditions for them,” a statement said.

Although the move, which was first announced in December 2021, is a symbolic step forward for same-sex couples, it does not give them the same legal rights offered to heterosexuals who get married.

Those in same-sex relationships often face burdens in their daily lives, including being prohibited from renting property together and hospital visitation rights, among other things.

Pressure on Japan’s national government has been growing in recent years as it continues to be the only G7 nation to not legally recognise same-sex marriage.

Despite this, more than 100 local authorities in the country do recognise certain rights for gay couples, such as joint names on rental contracts.

A number of MPs in Japan’s socially conservative ruling Liberal Democratic Party have been homophobic in the past and expressed a lack of support for gay marriage, which has been seen as a key factor in it not yet being legalised there.

In addition, Japan’s constitution says: “Marriage shall be only with the mutual consent of both sexes.”

The only Asian nation or territory to legalise same-sex marriage is Taiwan.