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The first surviving same-sex spousal benefit application filed in Japan

Joseph McCormick January 25, 2017

For the first time in the country, a Japanese man is filing for surviving family benefits after his partner was killed.

The 41-year-old man, who works as a cleaner, lost his partner in 2014.

He lives in Nagoya, and applied for the benefits on 12 December 2016.

It is believed that the man is the first in Japan to file such an application as the spouse of a same-sex partner.

The man’s partner was stabbed to death in 2014.

The Nagoya District Court has recognised the couple as having lived together as married, despite same-sex marriage not being legal in Japan.

The circumstances of his partner’s death were also recognised by the court.

The lawyer for the man said his late partner had managed the finances as they had lived together for 20 years.

Japanese law states that compensation is given to the partners of an innocent victim of a crime shall be paid benefits.

This includes de facto relationships.

But the National Police Agency has said that the man should not receive the benefits as the couple were not legally married.

The surviving partner’s lawyer said the cleaner “should be able to receive the benefits as he had a de facto marriage with his partner and is suffering from massive mental and economic losses.”

In December, the Japanese city of Sapporo became the latest to recognise same-sex relationships.

Earlier in 2016, the city of Iga began the process of issuing certificates to same-sex couples as did the Shibuya and Setagaya wards in Tokyo.

Support for same-sex relationships has been growing steadily in Japan over recent years with a poll last year suggesting the majority of people were now in favour of marriage equality.

Many businesses in country, such as Panasonic, have started to adopt policies to recognise same-sex partners for benefits such as health insurance and pensions.

More: Asia, Japan, Japan

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