The call amongst Japanese to introduce same-sex marriage legislation is growing ever louder in the country that is at the forefront of technology but mostly lags behind when it comes to social issues.
Professor Ken Suzuki, who teaches Law at Meiji University: "Among the Group of Seven industrialized nations, only Japan has not yet introduced a same-sex marriage or same-sex partnership system at the state level."
"It is a shared awareness among advanced nations that excluding same-sex couples from the legal marriage framework constitutes discrimination against lesbians and gays."
Though there are already six local governments that recognize same-sex partnerships, most lesbian and gay couples still face discrimination in the country, for example when searching for public housing, when visiting a critically ill partner in the hospital or when inheriting property belonging to their partner.
Mr. Suzuki, who is himself gay, has played an active role in campaigning for such a legal change. According to him, calls are growing ever louder in Japan for same-sex marriage to be legalized so such couples can enjoy similar benefits as heterosexual couples.
With the introduction of same-sex marriage by the US Supreme Court in 2015 and by Australia through their postal poll a few weeks ago, Japan knows that it is lagging behind in the industrial nations in their region indeed.
Mr. Takeshi Shiraishi, a teacher from Tokyo who has been in a relationship with his male partner for well over 25 years, cannot wait for the change to come. In the past, given that he and his partner are not considered family, they were often charged double when renting an apartment.
"We could not apply for a bank loan when we bought a house."
"We hope we can continue living together in peace. In that case, we expect the remaining survivor to legally maintain what we have generated together…It is an issue regarding the constitutionally guaranteed equality before the law."
Also, all recently conducted polls show that a majority of Japanese supports legislation allowing same-sex marriage.