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Japan immigration

Court rejects long-stay visa for gay U.S. man married to Japanese

Japan agency says resident status not granted to same-sex couples

The Tokyo District Court upheld the denial of a long-term residence visa to an American who married his same-sex Japanese partner in the United States.   © Reuters

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A Japanese court on Friday upheld the denial of a long-term residence visa to an American man who married his same-sex Japanese partner in the United States.

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

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

The Immigration Services Agency of Japan said the long-term resident status based on marriage to a Japanese national is not granted to same-sex couples.

The couple has been seeking resident status based on their long-term relationship, which began nearly 18 years ago, according to lawyers representing the couple.

In 2019, a Taiwanese man became the first foreign same-sex partner of a Japanese citizen to be granted special resident status by the Justice Ministry, following the revocation of a deportation order for overstaying his visa.

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