Nintendo Japan announced its new policy that grants queer employees in same-sex partnerships the same benefits as their straight counterparts.
Over the last few years, Japan’s government has faced immense pressure from LGBTQ+ activists to legalise same-sex marriage.
The country’s constitution currently defines marriage as “mutual consent between both sexes”.
Despite this, more than 100 local authorities across Japan recognise same-sex partnerships in some capacity, such as joint names on rental contracts and hospital visitations.
Even though the Japanese government has refrained from including gay marriage in its constitution, companies like Nintendo Japan have begun to grant same-sex partnerships the same benefits as heterosexual unions.
While this is the first time Nintendo Japan has shared the inclusive policy publicly, it was initially introduced to employees in March 2021.
“We want to create a work environment that supports and empowers each and every one of our unique employees,” the company said.
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“Although same-sex marriages are not currently recognised under Japanese law, this system ensures employees who are in a domestic partnership with same-sex marriage.
“We have also established that a common-law marriage between couples will be observed in the same way as a legal marriage.”
In addition to introducing the Partnership System, the beloved company also revised its Code of Conduct to prohibit “discriminatory comments based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as disclosing someone’s privately held sexual orientation against their will.”
Nintendo Japan’s groundbreaking announcement comes a few weeks after a Japanese court in Osaka upheld the country’s ban on same-sex marriage.
“From the perspective of individual dignity, it can be said that it is necessary to realise the benefits of same-sex couples being publicly recognised through official recognition,” the court said on 20 June.
“Public debate on what kind of system is appropriate for this has not been thoroughly carried out.”
According to the BBC, Japan is the only country in the G7 group of developed nations that restricts same-sex marriage – despite the general public supporting it.