新着情報

Documentation of foreign same-sex partners' visa issues in Japan

Documentation Project

“Resident Status Issues facing International Same-sex Couples in Japan”

                                                                                             January 2018
                                                                                             Partnership Law Japan &
                                                                                             Supporters of the Taiwanese’ court case

 

I. Objectives and Background

Partnership Law Japan has been lobbying the Japanese Government to establish legal recognition and protection for same-sex couples/partners since its establishment in 2010.

A Taiwanese man, who had lived together with his same-sex Japanese partner for over 20 years, appealed to the court last year to nullify the deportation ruling against him which was issued for over-staying his visa.  This court case is the first one to question the constitutionality of the current Japanese policy and its lack of any legal protection for same-sex couples. It is a landmark case for the history of LGBT rights in Japan and its influence is sure to be felt in many areas.

Prompted by this court case, Partnership Law Japan held a symposium on Dec. 10, 2017. The symposium featured the personal struggles of many international same-sex couples who are currently suffering due to the government’s lack of recognition for same-sex couples with regards to visa applications. Their stories further underlined the urgent need to change current policy.

This project has been developed to document the visa struggles faced by international same-sex couples, as well as to examine what other difficulties international same-sex couples face in their daily lives. We aim to examine and document not only currently active issues, but also potential problems these couples may face.  The documents created will be used for the two objectives outlined below and to help make the government realize that a non-negligible number of international couples suffer from this issue. We also hope that these stories will let the government realize that these couples live as families – just like opposite-sex couples

Submissions will be used for:
1) to be submitted to the court case as reference material

2) to be submitted to the Japanese Diet members and/or to the government officials, likely from Ministry of Justice and/or the Immigration Bureau

We hope that a large number of international same-sex couples living in Japan will work with us towards these objectives and help us by documenting their lives and difficulties. We kindly ask interested couples to provide information in accordance with the requirements listed in the next section.  This will be the first step to further improve the situation for same-sex couples in Japan.

Enquiries:          info@partnershiplawjapan.org

Deadline (Let us know if difficult):    Sunday, February 18th, 2018

E-mail address for document submission:  international@partnershiplawjapan.org

(Continue to the detailed requirements by clicking, if you see,「続きを読む」)

 

IIDocumentation requirements to help make the reality of international same-sex couples in Japan more visible

1. Eligible Couples/ Partners and Objectives


If your situation adheres to either criteria below: we ask that each partner develop and submit their own statement (submission by a single partner only is also acceptable)

 

As a same-sex couple with a Japanese and non-Japanese partner, with regards to the non-Japanese partner’s resident or visa status at any point in the past or present

Objectives and the required format

 

If you have experienced any direct challenges/difficulties

(1) to be submitted as reference to the court where Mr. G is requesting a rescinding of his deportation order 

Please follow the requirements in 2. below

 

If you have experienced any indirect challenges/difficulties (*)
(as opposed to “direct” ones as above)

 

If your situation seems less serious….

(2) to be used as lobbying material for the Justice Ministry and Diet members

Please follow the instruction 3. below

 

 (*) “Indirect” refers to issues such as: were visa applications simplified for same-sex couples (i.e.; in-line with opposite-sex couples), would you have experienced less hardship or costs. (For example, the non-Japanese partner would not have had to spend numerous years as an international student to maintain resident status, thus resulting in less financial hardship and work.)

 

Notes

  • We will make sure to request permission from submitters each time we use submitted information outside of Partnership Law Japan (i.e.: official submissions to government agencies, etc.)
  • Please let us know if you hesitate which formats between 2. and 3. Below. For submission to the court, those ‘direct and more serious’ ones will be more likely to be chosen, while, for lobbying, broader choices including the ones in format 3. will be used. We value all submissions and will strive to use submitted material as broadly as possible.

  • The original statements can be in English or any other foreign language. In case of court submission, translation is mandatory, so we kindly ask that you provide a Japanese translation if at all possible.  Both the original and the translation will be submitted to the court.

 

2. <Submission to the court>  Statement Contents

2-1 Personal Identification (Mandatory for the court submission)

(1)   Full Name (as registered)

(2)   Address


Notes:

    - We can process your statement with a pseudonym and no address until the court submission is confirmed.

- We assume that the same documents will be used for lobbying as well, where listing only a prefecture is fine and seudonyms are acceptable.

- As the Partnership Law Japan organization, we recognize your statement as personal confidential information, and it will be handled with extreme care.

   Documents submitted to the court can be viewed by third parties in accordance with the disclosure principle of the court (Civil Procedure Code 91 paragraph 1). If you wish to restrict browsing of personal information such as your name, address etc., please let us know. We will file a petition for restricted browsing to the court (Civil Procedure Code Article 92 Section 1.1.)

       Regarding Taiwanese Mr. G and Mr. G's Japanese partner, we requested that the court restrict browsing access due to the fact that sexual orientation is "confidential information about private life" and unrestricted browsing might cause serious obstacles in their social life. The court granted our request. As such, we expect it likely that the court will grant similar restrictions for any submissions we make. That said, we cannot guarantee that the court will always grant restrictions.

2-2 Mandatory information

(1)    Your profile (Please also write about becoming aware of your sexuality and of any difficulties with coming out)

(2)    How did you meet your partner?

(3)    When you started going out/when started living together: (any particular concrete examples of your life together. Including specific information such as locations )

(4)    What do you like about your partner? How do you express your love to each other?

(5)    Describe your housework sharing, how you are living as a couple

(6)    How have you or your partner had any trouble regarding resident/visa status (You can also include hardships caused due to the lack of legal recognition as a family, such as the lack of same-sex marriage in Japan)

(7)    What do you hope the outcome of Mr.G’s court case will be?

 

2-3 Optional information
It is fine to incorporate info below into writing of the above mandatory information.

(1)      Whether you and are partner have joint finances or maintain separate finances.

(2)      In what ways your relationship and mental health have been affected by visa/resident status issues.

(3)      Occupation

 

 

Notes for 2-2 and 2-3

- Please specify time and location information in detail.

- Use episodes and specific words as much as possible. Please assume the reader has never actually knowingly met a same-sex couple in their daily life. Please describe difficult situations as concretely as possible and attempt to appeal emotionally to the reader’s feelings

 

 

3. <To be used only for lobbying activities>  Free format writing

Express your situation with your difficulties on resident status or visa highlighted.  It would be great if you can meet many of the points mentioned in 2. above, the requirements for court submission, especially the last point in the notes at the end.

Excuse us for using a Japanese language example for the time being.

 

Example         pseudonym     Address:  XX prefecture  

  I am a U.K. citizen who have been living together with a Japanese same-sex partner already more than ten years.  I live and work in XX prefecture with a work visa status only.

 

  One of the largest concerns of mine about the lack of spousal/partnership protections for same-sex couples is the employment dependent visa system. Currently my visa is renewed bi-annually due to my employers practice of issuing two year contracts. If the company were to lose the contract for my business area with its client, I would be left without a visa and without a legitimate way to stay in Japan. 

 

  If I was able to secure a spousal/partnership visa (and the attendant rights and privileges that come with it) there would be a significant amount of pressure removed from the situation. 

 

  With the additional protections and feeling of security, we could live together and begin to build a life together, which would be great.  In addition, as a U.K. citizen the immigration requirements for non-EU spouses are quite strict and there is a burden of proof placed on any couple attempting to procure a spousal visa. This includes the sharing of an address, mixed finances and proving that the relationship, prior to entering the U.K., and putting information together to meet all of the requirements would be enduring. We have been together for more than ten years now but, due to the current system in Japan have no proof other than our personal correspondence and photographs. Should we decide in the future to relocate to the U.K., that burden of proof would be made more difficult with the way things are here where there are several barriers in place for foreign individuals to legitimately rent housing.  I imagine the challenges would be greater if it were two, unmarried people of different nationalities attempting to rent housing.

 

  I hope that Mr G’s court case will be finished with a ruling that, at least, will let Mr G stay in Japan with his Japanese partner.  Breaking up a family like his one is definitely a violation of the human rights. 

 

 

3. Deadline and Submission method

If you are concerned about strictly maintaining confidentiality,

-  Please submit your first writing to the e-mail address below with a pseudonym or family name only and your prefecture level address.  When confirmed for court submission, we will ask you for your full name and address separately. 

-  Please make sure to submit your writing ONLY to the e-mail address below.

 

E-mail address for document submission:  international@partnershiplawjapan.org

Deadline (Let us know if difficult):              Sunday, February 18th, 2018

 Enquiries:          info@partnershiplawjapan.org

 

End

告知   2018/02/03   事務局