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The Show Time/ Faguni Verma

In May this year at the height of the coronavirus's first wave, two gay men living together in Amagasaki, western Japan, thought they would ease the boredom of the country's soft lockdown with a visit to a love hotel, where couples pay for shart stays to have sex But rather than the carefree time they had anticipated, the couple, in their mid-30s, did not even get as far as the door to their room The hotel receptionist simply refused by saying men not allowed. Other hotels took a more homophobic approach. Despite rising awareness of LGBT rights, Japan is the only G7 country that does not recognise same sex marriages, and much of the country's multibillion-dollar love hotel Industry accepts only heterosexual couples. Taiga Ishikawa, Japan's first openly gay MP, estimated that of 143 love hotels in Tokyo's Toshima ward, where he began his career as an assembly member, 30 refused entry to same-sex couples.

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