Nintendo Japan will offer benefits to employees in same-sex unions

Japanese law does not recognize same-sex marriages.

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Nintendo Co Ltd's company logo is seen at their headquarters in Kyoto, western Japan December 8, 2008. Nintendo said it has not felt any particular impact from the economic slowdown, with sales of its Wii video game console and DS handheld game player still strong.  REUTERS/Issei Kato (JAPAN)
Issei Kato / reuters

Nintendo Japan will provide employees in same-sex domestic partnerships with the same benefits it offers to those in heterosexual unions, even though Japanese law does not currently recognize gay marriages. The company announced the policy in a July 12th update to its corporate social responsibility guidelines that was spotted by Go Nintendo (via Variety).

A new section titled “Introduction of a Partnership System” notes the policy has been in place since March 2021, and that the company has since begun recognizing common-law marriages in the same way as legal marriages. “At Nintendo, we want to create a work environment that supports and empowers each and every one of our unique employees,” the company said.

Additionally, the update notes that Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa sent a note to employees on gender diversity, asking workers to understand that their words and action can cause emotional pain, even if there was no harm intended. Nintendo says it’s also working on implementing new systems and training courses designed to create a more supportive working environment.

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Not now

Among G7 nations, Japan is the only country that does not recognize same-sex marriage. While LGBT activists have made some breakthroughs in recent years, a court in Osaka upheld the country’s ban this past June. While there’s growing public support for legalizing same-sex marriage, LGBTQ individuals still frequently face discrimination, according to a 2020 survey. Of course, discrimination, particularly the kind that happens in the workplace, is not unique to Japan. You need only look at the all news coming out of Activision Blizzard – and before that Riot Games, Ubisoft and countless other examples – to know that gaming companies frequently fail to protect their most vulnerable employees.

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