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July 24, 2017

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Protesters have turned out to support a Taiwanese man's landmark same-sex court case in Japan

Activist groups gathered in Tokyo last Saturday in support of a Taiwanese man who faces deportation despite living with his same-sex Japanese partner for over 20 years.

The man, who identifies as Mr. G, filed a court challenge in March claiming the unconstitutionality of laws that don't allow him to gain residency through his union with his Japanese partner.

His lawyers say it's the first such court challenge in Japan.

At last week's demonstration in Tokyo, his supporters claimed that the court had violated his human rights and appealed to the government to face the gay marriage issue.

The litigant, who also showed up at the demonstration, told supporters that the third round of oral arguments in court was slated for Sept. 8.

Mr. G said he had been living with his Japanese same-sex partner for over 20 years and had been an illegal resident of Japan since his tourist visa expired in 1994.

He recently applied for as Special Permission to Stay in Japan but, unable to obtain the right of abode by marriage, is facing repatriation.

You Can Adopt, But Not Marry

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan and there are no laws to protect the rights of same-sex couples.

In Japan, gay couples typically choose to legalize their union through adoption -- the older partner adopts the younger as a son or daughter so that they can live legally as a family.

Mr. G said he wanted to be legally bound to his same-sex partner as a spouse, not his son.

Local gay organizations and politics, academics, legal groups have also shown their support for the litigant by holding Foreign Homosexual Couples Resident Litigation Solidarity Conference in Tokyo.

Conference proceeds went to Mr. G, who is in financial straits because of the cost of his lawsuit.

In contrast to Japan's relatively conservative society, Mr. G's homeland of Taiwan is on track to become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

Earlier this year, Taiwan's highest court ruled that lawmakers must amend an unconstitutional law that bans gay couples from marrying.

The China Post intern Yvonne Huang contributed to this article

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