Japan: Is same-sex marriage right for Japan?

Article 24 of the Japanese Constitution states, “Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes.” Whether this is a regulation denying same-sex marriage is an issue on which the opinions of scholars are divided. In Japan this spring, a law took effect in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward that recognizes same-sex couples.

How will the world move on same-sex marriage, and how should we consider its domestic institutionalization? We posed these questions to two individuals. Deciding whether to recognize same-sex marriage is a sensitive topic that divides countries right down the middle.

Recently, major corporations have started popping up in Japan that recognize marriage leave for same-sex couples. Such cases show that the eyes of Japanese society have now begun to turn toward the pleas of sexual minorities. From that perspective, the fact that laws granting certificates to same-sex couples have been enacted by local governments, which are so interwoven with the citizenry, is symbolic. We must continue, carefully, to debate whether to change legal systems such as the Civil Code. Read More