The Japanese government of Prime
Minister Taro Asu is planning to allow gay nationals to marry abroad
in countries that allow the practice, reports the AFP.
The Japanese government does not
recognize gay marriage and government officials have refused to issue
a key document to gay and lesbian nationals necessary to wed
The certificate states a person is
single and of legal age to marry. An official told the news agency
Friday that the justice ministry had already approved the change.
Gay marriage is legal in six countries
including Spain, South Africa, Norway, the Netherlands, Canada and
Belgium. Two U.S. states – Connecticut and Massachusetts –
currently offer gay nuptials. Sweden is poised to become the seventh
country to legalize gay unions in May.
Gay activists Taiga Ishikawa, a member
of Peer Friends, applauded the decision: “I want to hail the
Justice Ministry's decision as a step forward for gays.”
Marriage is a requirement to obtain a
visa or sponsor an immigrant for citizenship.
“And without marriage they were
unable to obtain visas for their partners to live together,”
The new rule, however, does not affect
the U.S. where the federal government bans gay spouses from
sponsoring an immigrant.