In the first five months of 2019 alone, the number of Japanese municipalities with a “partnership system” recognizing same-sex relationships has doubled. While Japan’s national government has been very passive when it comes to tackling issues faced by its LGBT population, more and more municipal governments are making an effort to help improve the daily lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. The lack of legal recognition for marriage or any other form of officially recognized partnership for same-sex couples in Japan has meant that many people have been denied access to relationship-based privileges and rights – an exclusion that does not only apply to those who are attracted to people of the same sex. Changing your legal gender is a burdensome challenge in Japan, demanding costly and very personal sacrifices that place it out of reach for many transgender people. As a result, many are left without legal recognition of their status. Consequently straight, pre-legal transition trans people and their partners are also impacted by the lack of recognition of same-sex relationships.