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Man in same-sex marriage is suing the Japanese government for the right to have a ‘family life’

Lily Wakefield September 13, 2019
Japan Japanese outing LGBT campaigners attend a Pride event in Tokyo, Japan where the first refugee has been accepted on ground of LGBT+ persecution

The Japanese LGBT community attends the annual Tokyo Rainbow Parade, 2018. (Martin BUREAU / AFP)

An American man in a same-sex marriage with a Japanese national is suing the Japanese government for the right to stay in the country and have a “family life” with his husband.

If a heterosexual couple are married and one of them is a Japanese national, the other is automatically granted long-term residence status in the country.

According to Reuters, US citizen Andrew High is demanding that he and his husband are allowed the same rights, in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, September 13.

Japanese national Kohei, who does not want his last name to be published, is filing a lawsuit separate from his husband, asking for 11 million yen (£82,000) in damages, the couple’s lawyer Masako Suzuki told Reuters.

She said: “It’s violating their constitutional rights and also international conventions, because it’s infringement of their right to have a family life.”

Participants hold placards and banners during the Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2015 parade. (TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)

The couple have already lived in Japan for a decade, now they risk being separated.

The couple met in America 15 years ago and and got married there in 2015. The have lived together on and off in Japan for a decade.

“If they’re separated because he has to leave Japan, it’s a violation of their right to have a family life,” Suzuki added.

“But then if his Japanese husband has to leave Japan so they can live together, it’s a violation of his right as a Japanese citizen to live in Japan.”

High used to have his own business in Japan, meaning that he was allowed “business manager” visa, but he lost it when the company had financial problems.

He has applied and been rejected five times for a long-term residence visa.

Although many areas in Japan offer certificates to same-sex couples allowing them some rights, same-sex marriage has not been legalised.

A group of 13 gay couples filed lawsuits on Valentine’s Day this year against the Japanese government claiming damages for the lack of recognition of marriage equality.

More: equal marriage, Japan, same sex marriage, visa

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