The Shibuya ward in Tokyo has become the first place in Japan to recognise same-sex partnerships. It passed an ordinance allowing officials to issue certificates to same-sex couples this summer. The documents are not legally binding but the ward is calling on businesses to recognise the certificates and accord equal treatment. Japan remains a conservative country but is seeing social shifts on issues such as gay rights. The nation’s constitution identifies marriage as a union between “both sexes”.

One of the arguments Japanese conservatives make against gay marriage is about the effect on the population. Japan’s population is plummeting and some social conservatives believe allowing gay marriage would results in an even sharper drop in the population and greater economic problems.

Both sides of the debate may look at the other as being somewhat selfish and unwilling to look at how their beliefs could affect others. The pro-LGBT marriage side of the debate would argue that individual rights and freedoms are more important and than Japan’s current LGBT situation is very outdated.