same-sex adoption japan osaka

Osaka Just Became the First Place in Japan to Recognize Same-Sex Adoption

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Osaka just broke new ground by becoming the first city in Japan to recognize a same-sex couple as foster parents, government officials said on Wednesday.

Osaka’s government granted guardianship of a teen boy to two men, one in his 30s and one in his 40s. The couple has been taking care of the boy since February. They originally applied to become foster parents in 2015 and had to undergo a series of lectures and training sessions in order to be certified. They finally got permission in December 2016.

Japan Times writes:

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said there is “no precedent” for a same-sex couple being certified as foster parents.

The city granted the couple’s request to become guardians after determining that the two understood the foster care system and had the financial wherewithal to raise a child.

The couple asked not to be identified to the press.

“I am happy we became foster parents as a single household, not just as individuals,” the older member of the couple said.

Previously, two women in Kanto had been able to foster a child, but not as a couple. Instead, they had to adopt the child as individuals, though they raised the child together.

The ruling is another sign of progress for LGBTQ rights in Japan. Recently, the Ministry of Education announced that it would start training teachers on sexual orientation and gender identity in order to help prevent anti-LGBTQ bullying. And a few weeks ago, Iruma became the first city in the world to have a trans man as an elected official (Tomoya Hosoda, city councilor).

But there’s still a ways to go. Same-sex marriage still isn’t recognized in Japan, and there aren’t yet laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination and harassment in the workplace .

(Header image via Lauren Anderson on Flickr)