Japan has shelved plans to deport a gay Taiwanese man in a long-term relationship, his lawyers said, telling local media the decision was a step towards legal protection for same-sex couples in the socially conservative country.
"It's the first time special permission to stay in the country has been given to a foreign gay partner of a Japanese citizen," said one of the lawyers, although the ministry denied its decision was based on the man's sexual orientation.
The Taiwanese man, now in his 40s, has lived in the country for about 25 years with his Japanese partner, now in his 50s, according to national broadcaster NHK.
According to the man's defence team, he came to Japan on a one-year student visa in September 1992 to enrol in a Japanese language school, and re-entered the country on a three-month visa in October 1993 to prepare for a language proficiency test. He started a relationship the following month with his Japanese partner, now in his 50s.