Mayor Says City of Nagasaki ‘Used Everything at Our Discretion’ to Issue Certificate of Residence to Male Couple

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A male couple appears at a press conference in Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture, on Tuesday.

The Omura municipal government in Nagasaki Prefecture this month issued a certificate of residence to a male couple that includes the words “husband (unregistered),” indicating their de facto marital relationship.

“As the local government, we used everything at our discretion,” Mayor Hiroshi Sonoda told the press on Tuesday.

The two men, one 38 years old and the other 39, were issued certificates of residence on May 2.

The 38-year-old applied as the “head of household,” while his partner was listed under the designation “husband (unregistered),” and their application was accepted.

“We do not consider this to be the same as a de facto marriage,” Sonoda said. “The national government should consider [the decision on de facto marriage] because it involves things like social security, inheritance and employment, among other issues.”

The couple held a press conference the same day in Omura and expressed their gratitude for the city’s response.

“I’m sure that differences in the perception of de facto marriage will be discussed in the future, but it is significant that the city took a step forward,” the 38-year-old said.

“I’ll be happy when the number of similar municipalities increases and Japan becomes a comfortable place to live for diverse groups of people,” the 39-year-old said.