Japanese nationals can now wed their same-sex foreign partners in countries where same-sex marriage is permitted.

According to reports, an unnamed government official said today that the justice ministry has instructed local authorities to issue documents pertaining to marriage to gay couples planning to wed abroad.

The key certificate – which states a person is single and of legal age – is necessary for citizens who wish to wed abroad but was previously denied to gay couples.

Taiga Ishikawa, of the gay support group Peer Friends, told AFP: “This is one step forward.

“Gay Japanese have suffered a disadvantage… although they should be able to marry in some countries overseas.”