A Southeast Asian woman has become the first transgender person to receive a long-term residential permit in Japan, according to her lawyer. The 58-year-old woman, who has not disclosed her name and nationality, had been living in Japan illegally for 26 years — and living with a partner since 2002. However same-sex marriage is not legal in Japan, and transgender people are rarely recognized as such. The woman turned herself in to the country’s immigration bureau in March 2017, having previously tried to legalize her status by having a same-sex partnership agreement notarized. And on August 14 she was finally granted the long-term residence permit, which her lawyer Miho Kumazawa credited to the bureau’s sympathy towards her situation. The permit is usually only awarded to foreigners who have overstayed their visa and marry a Japanese citizen.