Japan Ministry Concerned Over Same-Sex Couple Receiving City-Issued Resident Certificates Referring to ‘Common-Law Husband’

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, in 2020

The city of Omura in Nagasaki Prefecture issued resident certificates to a same-sex couple in May that use the term meant for common-law husbands, prompting the alarmed Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry to send a letter to the city on Monday.

The ministry wrote in the letter, “It becomes impossible to judge the applicability [of social security] by looking at the relationship written on the resident certificates alone, which may lead to practical troubles.”

In May, the city accepted resident certificate applications by the two men, both aged 39. One of them was described as the “head of household” and the other as “husband (unregistered),” the term typically used to describe a common-law husband. The city duly issued the resident certificates for them. The city said it is not considering amending or replacing the resident certificates.