Sun, Mar 24, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Japan not to deport Taiwanese man in win for LGBT rights

MARRIAGE ISSUE:The man was living in the country with his Japanese partner for about 25 years, overstaying a visa from the early 1990s

AFP, TOKYO

Japan has shelved plans to deport a gay Taiwanese man in a long-term relationship, his lawyers said, telling local media that the decision was a step toward legal protection for same-sex couples in the socially conservative country.

Same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in Japan, but the government has gradually expanded rights protections for its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens in recent years.

The Taiwanese man, now in his 40s, has lived in the country for about 25 years with his Japanese partner, now in his 50s, national broadcaster NHK reported.

He was arrested in 2016 for overstaying a three-month visa from the early 1990s and was ordered to be deported, the Tokyo Shimbun reported.

However, he appealed the government’s order, claiming that a special residency permit would have been issued to heterosexual couples in similar situations.

Tokyo canceled its deportation order this month and issued the special residency permit to the Taiwanese man, NHK reported.

DIFFERENT LIVES

“If we could have married legally, our lives could have changed,” he told local media on Friday, according to the Tokyo Shimbun.

His Japanese partner said: “Our lives and future seemed gray. Now I wish that two of us will live with more positive attitude and a sense of gratitude to make the color of our lives a bit brighter.”

LGBT CAMPAIGNS

In recent years, Japan’s LGBT population has campaigned for greater recognition from the government.

Last month, 13 same-sex couples filed suits, accusing the Tokyo of discrimination for failing to recognize their unions.

They argue that they are being denied rights accorded to heterosexual couples and hope that the courts will declare the government’s position unconstitutional.

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