Japan is the only G7 country that does not allow gay marriage. The pressure to follow a conservative family model, in which heterosexual couples are supposed to marry and have children, is still strong in Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ultra-conservative supporters have campaigned to restore a paternalistic society based on heterosexual marriages. However public acceptance of sexual diversity and same-sex marriage has grown in Japan. According to an October 2018 survey, more than 70 percent of the 6,229 respondents aged 20-59 said they support legalizing same-sex marriage.
Ten Japanese municipalities have enacted “partnership” ordinances for same-sex couples to make it easier for them to rent apartments together, among other things, but they are not legally binding. Resistance to allowing full gender equality was evident in a Supreme Court ruling last month upholding a law that effectively requires transgender people to be sterilized before they can have their gender changed on official documents. Japan’s refusal to issue spouse visas to partners of same-sex couples legally married overseas is a growing problem, forcing them to temporarily live separately.