Nintendo announces it will recognize same-sex partnerships even if Japan doesn’t / LGBTQ Nation

Even though Japan has not legalized same-sex marriage, Japanese video game company Nintendo has announced that it will extend marriage benefits to employees who are in same-sex relationships. The company also said it would revise its policies to prohibit outings or harassment of employees because of their LGBTQ identity.

Nintendo – the creators behind such massively popular game titles as Super Mario Brothers and The Legend of Zelda — made the announcement in its annual report on corporate social responsibility (CSR).

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The CSR report noted: “We introduced the partnership system in March 2021 as an initiative based on this philosophy. Although same-sex marriages are not currently recognized by Japanese law, this system ensures that employees who are in a domestic partnership with a same-sex partner have the same benefits as employees in a heterosexual marriage.

The CSR report added that the company would also recognize de facto marriages in the same way as legal marriages.

Additionally, the company’s report states that it will revise its policies “concerning harassment to clearly prohibit discriminatory comments based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as the disclosure of private sexual orientation. ‘a person against his will’.

The video game company’s fans hailed its decision – especially in a socially conservative country – even though the company has only ever introduced a single gay character in any of its video games.

Currently, Japan has no national protection against LGBTQ discrimination or same-sex marriage. An Osaka district court recently ruled that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional. But as a result, LGBTQ people in Japan often face inequalities in jobs, housing, education, and health care.

More than 200 Japanese municipalities offer some form of recognition to same-sex couples. Such recognition can help same-sex couples rent apartments together, visit each other in city hospitals, and receive other services enjoyed by married heterosexual couples.

LGBTQ advocacy groups have been pushing for a national bill that would enshrine equal civil rights and protections against discrimination into law. However, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s conservative party helped defeat the effort ahead of last summer’s Olympics.