TOKYO — (09-30-22) — The Tokyo District Court in Japan on Friday, upheld the denial of a long-term residency visa to an American man who is in a same-sex marriage.

The Tokyo District Court also rejected damages of 11 million yen ($76,000) sought by the U.S. national, Andrew High, and his Japanese husband, Kohei, who claimed the denial of the visa impinged on their freedom to live as a family.

The Andrew and Kohei married in 2015, and High has applied unsuccessfully for a Japanese long-term visa five times since 2018. He currently lives with Kohei in Japan on a temporary visa.

The Immigration Services Agency of Japan said long-term resident status based on marriage to a Japanese national is not available to same-sex couples at this time. The court instead said that High should be granted a “designated activities” visa.

Since 2013, two foreigners in a same-sex marriage can live in Japan if one is granted long-term residency, which allows the other to obtain what is commonly known as a “designated activities” visa, according to the immigration agency.

However, presiding judge Yoshitaka Ichihara said there was a problem with the practice of handling foreigners’ visa status based on whether or not their same-sex spouse was Japanese, saying there was no “rational basis” behind it, and that it “goes against the intent of the Constitution, which stipulates equality under the law.” said Judge Yoshitaka.

Lawyers representing the couple said that Andrew and Kohei have been seeking resident status for High based on their long-term relationship, which began nearly 18 years ago.

We will continue to follow this story and bring you developments as they arise.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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