Nintendo defies same-sex marriage ruling giving equal rights to LGBTQ+ staff in Japan

“At Nintendo Co., Ltd. (Japan), we want to create a work environment that supports and empowers each and every one of our unique employees."

Figures of Nintendo characters, Luigi and Mario
Image: Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Nintendo Japan has made the bold move to recognise same-sex marriage among its employees, confirming the news publically weeks after the country declared these unions “unconstitutional”.

On June 20, it was ruled that the “definition of marriage did not extend to partnerships between people of the same gender”, thereby upholding the ban on same-sex marriage throughout the East Asian country. This makes Japan the only country in the G7 to not recognise same-sex marriage, with Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the USA all having taken this step towards equal rights, despite other troubling legislation creeping in.

However, Nintendo Japan has updated its corporate social responsibility, recognising the same-sex unions of their employees so that they share equal rights as their non-LGBTQ+ colleagues in a Partnership System initiated in March 2021.

“Although same-sex marriages are not currently recognised under Japanese law,” the policy reads, “this system ensures employees who are in a domestic partnership with a same-sex partner have the same benefits as employees in an opposite-sex marriage.”

The company has also revised some internal regulations to “clearly prohibit discriminatory comments based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as disclosing someone’s privately held sexual orientation against their will.”

Taking further steps to protect LGBTQ+ members of staff, Nintendo Japan “notified [their] employees about the issue of gender diversity with a message from [their] president as a means of raising awareness of what diversity means.”

“In this message,” the Partnership System policy continues, “the president called for all employees to adopt a renewed understanding that even speech and actions, which are not intended to harm, can cause significant emotional pain, asking for understanding and support to create an environment in which everyone can work comfortably.”

“By improving our company systems and conducting training, we will continue our work to create an environment where each of our many diverse employees can fully realise their talents,” Nintendo Japan concluded.

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