Tag Archives: Japan

Gay couples in Japan join together on Valentine's Day to sue government over same-sex marriage ban

Gay couples in Japan join together on Valentine's Day to sue government over same-sex marriage banThirteen gay couples filed Japan's first lawsuit challenging the country's rejection of same-sex marriage on Valentine's Day, arguing the denial violates their constitutional right to equality. Six couples holding banners saying "Marriage For All Japan" walked into Tokyo District Court to file their cases against the government, with similar cases filed by three couples in Osaka, one couple in Nagoya and three couples in Sapporo. Plaintiff Kenji Aiba, standing next to his partner Ken Kozumi, told reporters he would "fight this war together with sexual minorities all around Japan." Mr Aiba and Mr Kozumi have held onto a marriage certificate they signed at their wedding party in 2013, anticipating Japan would emulate other advanced nations and legalise same-sex unions. That day has yet to come, and legally they are just friends even though they've lived as a married couple for more than five years. So they decided to act rather than waiting. "Right now we are both in good health and able to work, but what if either of us has an accident or becomes ill? We are not allowed to be each other's guarantors for medical treatment, or to be each other's heir," Mr Kozumi, a 45-year-old office worker, said in a recent interview with his partner Mr Aiba, 40. "Progress in Japan has been too slow." Politician Mizuho Fukushima has spoken out in favour of gay rights in Japan Credit: AP Photo/Mari Yamaguchi 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. Japanese laws are currently interpreted as allowing marriage only between a man and a woman. In a society where pressure for conformity is strong, many gay people hide their sexuality, fearing prejudice at home, school or work. The obstacles are even higher for transgender people in the highly gender-specific society. The Supreme Court last month upheld a law that effectively requires transgender people to be sterilized before they can have their gender changed on official documents. The LGBT equal rights movement has lagged behind in Japan because people who are silently not conforming to conventional notions of sexuality have been so marginalized that the issue hasn't been considered a human rights problem, experts say. "Many people don't even think of a possibility that their neighbors, colleagues or classmates may be sexual minorities," said Mizuho Fukushima, a lawyer-turned-politician and an expert on gender and human rights issues. "And the pressure to follow a conservative family model, in which heterosexual couples are supposed to marry and have children, is still strong." Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ultra-conservative supporters have campaigned to restore a paternalistic society based on heterosexual marriages. The government has restarted moral education class at schools to teach children family values and good deeds. "Whether to allow same-sex marriage is an issue that affects the foundation of how families should be in Japan, which requires an extremely careful examination," Mr Abe said in a statement last year.



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Ghosn awaits fate after vowing to stay in Japan if bailed

Ghosn awaits fate after vowing to stay in Japan if bailedCarlos Ghosn will learn his fate Monday as a Tokyo court rules on his bail request after he vowed to remain in Japan if released and offered to provide more collateral. The ousted Nissan boss has pleaded for bail after languishing in custody for 64 days as he fights charges of financial misconduct that he strenuously denies. “As the court considers my bail application, I want to emphasise that I will reside in Japan and respect any and all bail conditions the Court concludes are warranted,” Ghosn said in a statement released by his US-based representatives.



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Ghosn set for court hearing in Japan over detention

Ghosn set for court hearing in Japan over detentionFormer Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is likely to appear in a Japanese court next Tuesday to hear the reasons for his detention, after his lawyers deployed a little-used article of the Constitution. The shock move was the latest in a series of unexpected twists in a case that has gripped Japan and the business world since the once-revered auto tycoon was arrested on his private jet at a Tokyo airport on November 19. The Tokyo District Court said his hearing would start at 10:30 am (0130 GMT) in its court room, with Ghosn expected to appear.



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New Russian barracks on disputed islands draws protest from Japan

New Russian barracks on disputed islands draws protest from JapanRussia’s Ministry of Defence said it planned to shift troops next week into four housing complexes on two of the four disputed islands, known as the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan. Japan’s defense ministry says 3,500 Russian troops are deployed on the two larger islands as part of a military buildup. The news came after the Kremlin said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might visit Russia on Jan. 21 as the two countries step up efforts to defuse the territorial dispute that has prevented them from signing a World War Two peace treaty.



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Explosion at northern Japan restaurant leaves more than 40 injured

Explosion at northern Japan restaurant leaves more than 40 injuredMore than 40 people were injured in an explosion on Sunday night at a restaurant in northern Japan. The explosion occurred in Sapporo, the capital city of Japan's northern main island of Hokkaido, and caused nearby apartment buildings and houses to shake. Police said 42 people were injured, most of them mildly, though one was in serious condition. They were rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment. The cause of the explosion, which occurred at a two-storey restaurant in the Toyohira district, is under investigation, police said, adding that they had no further details. TV footage from Japanese public broadcaster NHK showed the restaurant in flames, with debris scattered on the ground. The cause of an explosion at a bar in Sapporo, Japan, is currently under investigation Credit: TWITTER/@KEIBAPANDRA/REUTERS The footage later showed grey smoke billowing from the restaurant as dozens of firefighters poured water onto the building, which was charred and nearly collapsing. Windows on an apartment building next door were broken, and cars parked outside were partially covered with debris that had fallen on them. A witness told NHK that he smelled gas after the sound of an explosion. The broadcaster said the district office was to set up a shelter for neighbours of the restaurant to stay overnight so they could escape the smoke. 



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Restaurant explosion injures dozens in Sapporo, Japan

Restaurant explosion injures dozens in Sapporo, JapanA suspected gas explosion destroyed wooden buildings housing a restaurant and a real estate office in northern Japan on Sunday night, injuring 42 people, police and local media said. The powerful explosion in Sapporo, the capital city of Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido, shook nearby buildings, shattered windows and scattered wooden debris across the area. One person was in serious condition, but police said the other injuries were mostly mild.



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Suspected gas explosion destroys eatery in Japan, hurts 42

Suspected gas explosion destroys eatery in Japan, hurts 42TOKYO (AP) — A suspected gas explosion destroyed wooden buildings housing a restaurant and a real estate office in northern Japan on Sunday night, injuring 42 people, police and local media said.



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A Suspected Gas Explosion Has Injured More Than 40 People at a Busy Restaurant in Japan

A Suspected Gas Explosion Has Injured More Than 40 People at a Busy Restaurant in JapanThe explosion happened Sunday night in Sapporo, on Japan's northern island



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Powerful blast at Japan restaurant injures 42

Powerful blast at Japan restaurant injures 42A powerful blast ripped through a restaurant in northern Japan late Sunday, injuring 42 people, starting fires that took hours to bring under control and leading several neighbouring buildings to collapse, officials and reports said. A police official for the Hokkaido region told AFP “there are 42 injuries” but no one was killed. The Jiji Press agency said one of the injured was seriously hurt, suffering burns to his face, but none of the victims had life-threatening wounds.



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US military identifies 5 dead in warplanes crash off Japan

US military identifies 5 dead in warplanes crash off JapanTOKYO (AP) — The U.S. military has identified five Marines who were declared dead after their refueling plane collided with a fighter jet last week off Japan's southern coast.



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