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Japan: Companies reported to begin accepting "partnership certificates" for same-sex couples to provide spousal & familial benefits

"Japan companies to accept same-sex partnership certificates by NGO", 25 April 2020

About 20 companies in Japan will start accepting "partnership certificates" in July for same-sex couples issued by a nongovernmental organization as a way of providing employees with spousal and familial benefits available to straight married couples...

The certificates, to be created by Famiee Project, will be for use by participating companies including Mizuho Financial Group Inc., but is expected to raise awareness of difficulties LGBT couples have in a country where same-sex marriage is not legally recognized.

...[M]unicipal partnership certificates [for LGBTQ individuals] are not legally binding and only apply to residents within their respective municipalities, leaving many lesbian and gay couples unable to prove their relationship.

This leaves businesses struggling to verify the relationships of those without municipal certificates even when company rules include benefits for same-sex couples.

Mizuho, for example, has offered spousal and familial benefits to employees in same-sex relationships since 2016, such as family care leave and monetary wedding gifts. But it had difficulty applying these to those unable to prove their relationships.

"We have used certificates of residencies but Famiee certificates will be even more reliable evidence for same-sex couples," a Mizuho official said. "We want to foster an inclusive work environment for diverse people."

...[M]any couples hesitate to apply for them since they must be physically present at municipal offices to do so but are still not ready to go public about their relationship...