MARRIAGE EQUALITY

The problem with same-sex marriage not being permitted

In Japan, two individuals of the same sex are not legally permitted to marry.
Love between two individuals of the same sex is not criminalized under Japanese law. One may think, “if they love each other, does it matter if they are married or not?” However there are many problems that arise from not being able to get married.

Situations that are not acknowledged unless you are married

  • CASE 1If a will has not been left, you cannot inherit property!
    You may get kicked out of your own house that you lived in with your partner!

    If your partner passes away, even if they did not leave a will as long as you are legally married you will be able to inherit at least a part of their belongings. However if you are not married, without a will, you not are entitled to any of your partner’s property regardless of how long you have lived together. If the house you’ve been living in was legally owned by your partner, you may be evicted.

  • CASE 2You are not eligible to receive the right to live in the same country

    In Japan, when a Japanese and non-Japanese person are married, the non-Japanese person will be granted a spouse visa to reside in Japan. However, as two members of the same sex cannot be legally married, the non-Japanese partner cannot receive permission to live in Japan. If they have a job in Japan they may be able to receive a visa through their employer, however it is not a long-term solution since if they leave their job they also lose their visa. That means you can love each other but may not even be able to be together in the same country.

  • CASE 3You cannot be with your partner when they are critically injured or ill

    When your partner has become unconscious from illness or an injury, if you are married you are able to be next to them and receive details from the doctor as a member of their family. However same-sex partners are not considered family, and therefore are not able to be next to their partner, nor are they able to speak to the doctor about their partner’s illness or injury. Although there is no law preventing same-sex partners from doing this, many hospitals will refuse to do so as “they are not legally family members.” Although it should be an easy and obvious thing to be able to see your partner when they are sick or injured, without being legally married it becomes more difficult than it should be and is a cause for concern.

  • CASE 4You and your child may become total strangers

    If your partner has a child from a previous relationship, even if you are raising the child together you cannot legally be their parent. As a result, you may be turned away at the hospital and instructed to “come back with the child’s legal parent or guardian.” If your partner passes away without naming you as the legal guardian of the child in their will, you may no longer be able to be with the child you’ve raised all this time as you are not legally their parent .


There are many other areas where same-sex couples may be at a disadvantage in addition to the above.
When facing these difficulties, is believing “as long as we love each other” enough? Two men or two women love each other the same way as a man and a woman; is it not unequal treatment for them not to be able to get married?

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