The Tokyo metropolitan government has begun the application to register same-sex couples for its partnership system.
This comes after the Tokyo Metropolitan Government passed an ordinance that will officially grant individuals in homogenous relationships with partnership certificates.
The ordinance will take effect starting Nov. 1, but applications to register for the certificates have already opened since yesterday, Oct. 11, the Japan Times reported.
According to the Tokyo Partnership Oath System posted in the official government website, same-sex couples are applicable for the partnership system if at least one of them lives, works, or studies in Tokyo.
They are not limited by their nationality, but they must be at least 18 years old and are not already married or in a partnership. Applicants who have children can also include the names on the certificate.
Applications and issuance of certificates are principally conducted online to protect the couples' identities.
Various LGBTQ groups welcomed the action as a symbolic step to move forward for the community, despite the system not offering couples the same legal benefits of marriage.
Soshi Matsuoka, the head of an LGBTQ rights organization in Tokyo, stressed, "The introduction of the system in Tokyo is extremely positive. But partnership is not enough. We basically want legal marriage."
But according to Kyodo News, having the certificate does allow same-sex couples to apply for municipal housing and be informed of their partner's medical condition at municipal hospitals.
The capital of Japan joins nine other prejectures in the country who have already introduced some form of partnership system, namely, Aomori, Akita, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Mie, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Saga.