In light of Osaka City becoming the first local government in Japan to recognize a couple who are both men as foster parents, Mainichi Shimbun conducted a survey of municipal governments nationwide and found that Tokyo is the only one that has regulations that effectively disqualify same-sex couples as foster parents.
About 20% of the rest of the local governments answered that the fact that a couple are of the same sex may affect their approval procedures. This survey shows that there are gaps in the municipalities’ view of same-sex couples.
The survey of 69 local governments with children’s welfare centers (the governments of 47 prefectures, 20 chartered cities, and 2 heartland cities) shows that only Tokyo has regulations ruling out same-sex couples.
Other local governments have no specific provisions disqualifying same-sex couples. Hyogo Prefecture recognized a couple who are both women as qualified foster parents in March last year but has not actually entrusted a child to them.
The cities of Kawasaki, Sagamihara, and Okayama said they are not sure what to do if they receive an application, while the cities of Niigata, Kyoto, Kumamoto, and Yokosuka answered that they don’t know what the children’s welfare centers would think of same-sex couples. In addition, eight municipal governments answered that they expect that the fact that potential foster parents are the same sex might have a negative effect on the approval process. (Abridged)