In 2015, as the council passed "Ordinance for Promoting Respect of Gender Equality and Diversity in the Ward", Shibuya Ward became the first Japanese municipality that issues same-sex partnership certificates According to this ordinance, same-sex couples who live in Shibuya are allowed "to rent apartments together, and have gained hospital visitation rights as family members". Shimizu expects the ordinance to bring three benefits to same-sex couples: "(1) rental housing within the ward (co-signing of tenancy agreements for municipal/public housing), (2) medical institutions within the ward (hospital visitation and medical decision-making rights as family members), and (3) employment conditions within the ward (e. g. family benefits, congratulations and condolence leave)". In order to apply for the certificate, couples must be 20-years-old or older residents of Shibuya Ward and have to state that "their relationship is based on love and mutual trust" in a notarized document. Koyuki Higashi (a former member of the Takarazuka Review) and Hiroko Masuhara (an entrepreneur), a lesbian couple, were the first to receive this certification. Since the Shibuya Ward passed the ordinance, seven other municipalities in Japan have begun offering similar certificates.
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