The following is a case of a same-sex couple, Mr. A and Mr. B, who had been together over 10 years, living together for the last 4 years. Though the two wished to get married, they continued to have that wish unfulfilled when Mr. B became sick. Though Mr. A devoted his time and care for Mr. B while he was battling his illness for seven months, Mr. B eventually passed on.
Mr. A and Mr. B had the intention of getting married and lived their lives dedicated to one another like a married couple. Despite this, they were ultimately unable to get married under the current law and as such faced various problems as detailed below.
■Medical Insurance and Dependents
After Mr. B became sick he also became unable to work, and though he received support from Mr. A, Mr. B was unable to be covered by Mr. A’s medical insurance as a dependent. Thus, Mr. B had to continue to pay monthly for his own separate insurance – tens of thousands of yen – because he could not be listed as a dependent on Mr. A’s insurance.
■Spouse’s Medical Treatment and Consent
Before Mr. B passed away, Mr. A continued to support Mr. B by himself, nursing him, understanding his condition and fully knowing Mr. B’s intentions. But as they were unable to be recognized as spouses/family, Mr. A was unable to give approval or consent on any of Mr. B’s medical proceedings. Rather, Mr. B’s estranged relative suddenly came back into the picture and was put in charge of consent for all decisions related to Mr. B’s medical proceedings.
■The Right to Release of Spouse’s Medical Records
Though Mr. A had detailed knowledge of Mr. B’s medical history, specifics, and intentions, as he was not recognized as a spouse/family, the doctor would not offer any information to Mr. A. Nor was Mr. A able to request for a release of Mr. B’s medical information.
■Spouse Deductions / Special Spouse Deductions on Income Tax
After Mr. B became sick he also became unable to work and Mr. A’s income became the sole source of his living expenses. However, as Mr. B was not considered a dependent family member, Mr. A was not able to receive any income tax deductions or special deductions as a spouse of Mr. B.
■Medical Treatment Expense Deductions
Mr. A also at times had to go to the hospital for himself in addition to Mr. B’s treatment. The total amount of medical expenses between the two satisfied the amount to take a deduction, but they were unable to calculate their expenses as a couple and receive a deduction of the expenses from their income tax.
■Care Leave for Spouse
For the seven months leading to Mr. B’s death, Mr. A took care of him at home. But as Mr. B was not recognized as a spouse, Mr. A was unable to take Care Leave and had to eventually resign from his job.
Though Mr. A lived together with Mr. B for over four years with the intention to get married, as Mr. B was unable to be recognized as a spouse Mr. A was unable to inherit Mr. B’s belongings after Mr. B’s passing.
■Succession of Leased Land and Rented House
Though Mr. A was living in property rented under Mr. B’s name, Mr. A was unable to be the legal successor of the property after Mr. B’s death and was forced to evict. Due to having to care for Mr. B, Mr. A had to resign his job and was tasked with the enormous burden of finding a new property while facing poverty.
■Adoption and Joint Custody
Though the two wanted to adopt a child, same-sex couples have no joint parental or joint custodial rights as a couple. Under the current law, the child would have to be one or the other’s child while the partner would go unrecognized as a parent. Due to this, they had to give up on this dream.
■Lump Sum of the Deceased’s National Pension
Mr. B, as a Primary Insured Person for many years (over the required 36 months) payed his insurance fees, and passed away without collecting his old-age basic pension. Though legally-recognized family and relatives are able to receive this uncollected pension in a lump-sum, same-sex couples are unable to collect this payment. Therefore, Mr. A – despite having a substantial relationship with Mr. B, living together and nursing him until his death – is ineligible to collect Mr. B’s lump-sum payment.
■Death of a Spouse and Retirement Payment
Though Mr. A acted as a dedicated spouse to Mr. B, Mr. A was not recognized as such through the law and was unable to collect the retirement money allocated to Mr. B in the event of his death.
Mr. A tried to change those who could use his life insurance policy from his family to Mr. B, but was told by his life insurance company that if Mr. B was not a legally-recognized family and relatives then it would be difficult to change and was thus rejected.
■Attendance at Partner’s Funeral
Having been together for 12 years and being the sole caretaker of Mr. B until his death, Mr. A was rejected by Mr. B’s family and therefore unable to attend the funeral service.