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Assemblyman in central Japan reveals same-sex couple’s tackle on-line

A member of the Mie Prefectural Assembly posted the names and mailing addresses of a same-sex couple on his blog without their consent and refused to delete the information despite the prefecture’s efforts to eradicate discrimination against LGBT people, Kyodo News learned on on Monday.

Takatora Kobayashi, a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, repeatedly declined the couple’s requests to delete their address from their blog before finally doing so on Monday afternoon.

“I am deleting because I am annoying people around me when I heard that the prefectural assembly secretariat, the assembly chairman, and the vice-chairman were receiving calls,” Kobayashi wrote on his blog.

The MP revealed the couple’s names and postal addresses – Masahiro Shimada, 45, and Katsunori Kano, 41 – after Kobayashi wrote an investigation into an LGBT partnership program in the country, according to a Twitter post he wrote last month Prefecture had sent “A local partnership system is a strategy to corner the national government.”

Because Japan does not legally recognize same-sex marriages, many communities – including the city in the prefecture where the couple lives – have begun implementing a partnership certificate program so that sexual minority couples can enjoy equal rights to married couples.

On April 1, Mie Prefecture passed an ordinance prohibiting anyone from disclosing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity without consent or good reason, making it the first of 47 prefectures in the country to do so. The prefecture is slated to introduce a partnership certification system for sexual minority couples in September.

Shimada and Kano sent the letter to the MP’s office on March 15, requesting an explanation for his tweet.

Kobayashi, 47, posted a photo of an envelope with the couple’s names and mailing address on his blog on March 30th. One comment stated that asking for a response by sending an unsolicited letter was “very aggressive and malicious”.

The couple had personally asked Kobayashi to delete their address from his blog and requested an apology, but the MP said they should withdraw the request in return.

The couple did so and made their decision public on social media, but Kobayashi still refused to comply because he said they had not personally contacted him about the withdrawal.

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