Hiroko Masuhara, a leading LGBT activist in Japan, discusses the rapid pace at which Japanese society is embracing the LGBT community induring the fifth session of the Global LGBT Forum on 'Home: Safety, Wellness, and Belonging' in May 2017.
Masuhara explains how Japanese companies, both domestic and international, began adopting LGBT friendly policies after the Shibuya Ward began issuing same sex partnership certificates, recognizing same sex couples.
"I am involved in the Japanese LGBT community activism for six years and in these [past] three years, Japanese society is changing very rapidly and I feel very excited being in the center of this change. For example, two years ago, one of the Tokyo wards – the Shibuya ward, where I live – started to issue the same sex partnership certificate to same sex couples, saying that same sex couples are equivalent to heterosexual married couples. I and my wife obtained the first officially issued same sex partnership certificate by Shibuya City. This changed a lot to the notion of family, and the notion of marriage in Japan."