Nintendo Japan Introduces Same-Sex Partnership System For Equal Benefits Between All Couples

Nintendo Tokyo Store (Photo: Daryl Harding)

Although Japan does not yet legally recognize same-sex marriage, Nintendo, one of Japan’s oldest and most profitable companies, has go out and update its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to provide the same benefits to all couples who work in the video game business, including those in same-sex and common-law relationships.

Nintendo revealed on its CSR portal in both English and Japanese that the partnership system began in March 2021 and “ensures that employees who are in a domestic partnership with a same-sex partner enjoy the same benefits as employees in a heterosexual marriage.”

Same-sex marriage in Japan has been a contentious issue within the Japanese legal system for the past few years.

In Sapporo in March 2021, a complaint of discrimination against the local government saw the Sapporo District Court declare the Japanese government to be ‘unconstitutional and discriminatory’ in not recognizing same-sex marriages, despite only violating Article 14 of the Constitution – which states that ‘All peoples are equal before the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations on the basis of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin”.

However, the Sapporo District Court disagreed that Article 24 of the Constitution, which states that “marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes”, could interpret “both sexes” as being either masculine or feminine, but rather masculine and feminine. .

In contrast, in Osaka in June 2022, the Osaka District Court ruled that the current Civil Law and Family Registry Act, which does not recognize same-sex marriage, was constitutional. Although the court noted that the Japanese government’s failure to recognize same-sex marriage had “serious effects” and called for more protections to be put in place to safeguard the rights of same-sex couples.

Many Japanese cities and prefectures, including Nintendo’s headquarters in Kyoto, have introduced a partnership system, allowing same-sex couples the same provisions and benefits as a married couple. Although these certificates of the partnership system are not binding like marriage certificates are and are not fully recognized by the provisions of central Japanese law, only local laws can leave a person penniless when their partner likewise sex dies. Additionally, these certificates are not recognized by the Department of Foreign Affairs, disallowing same-sex couples to apply for a spousal visa, even if they married in a county that has legalized same-sex marriage.

While updating its internal systems, Nintendo also updated its House Rules to prohibit “discriminatory comments based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as the disclosure of private sexual orientation of someone against his will”.

With Japanese healthcare and the majority of systems run by local governments, it’s unclear what new perks Nintendo has implemented in regards to starting the partner system internally that weren’t already granted by the city ​​of Kyoto when they enacted their same-sex partner certification. in September 2020.

On the CSR portal, Nintendo states that “Along with the introduction of the partnership system in Japan, we informed our employees about the issue of gender diversity with a message from our president as a way to raise their awareness of what diversity means. In this message , the President called on all employees to adopt a renewed understanding that even words 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. .”

Source: Nintendo CSR Portal Going through

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Daryl Harding is Japan correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan called TheDoctorDazza, tweets about @DoctorDazzaand posts photos of his travels on Instagram.

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