Sapporo on Thursday became the first major city in Japan to officially recognize same-sex partnerships between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples.
The city in northern Japan also certifies partnerships between heterosexual couples with gender-identity disorder, becoming the first municipality in Japan to do so.
"I am delighted," a 32-year-old woman said after receiving the recognition of same-sex partnership under the system. "I was finally able to do it. It may be self-satisfaction but I want other people to use the system without caring what people around them think as they can become happy."
Upon signing a "partnership vow," the couple receives copies of their vow and a receipt from the city. These documents do not confer legal rights or obligations, but enable them to become recipients of life insurance money and use family-member discounts for mobile phone and other services.
Tokyo' Shibuya and Setagaya wards began the same-sex partnership system in 2015, followed by the cities of Iga, Takarazuka and Naha in 2016. The system adopted by these municipalities is applied only to couples with the same sex in the family register.