On 12 July, Nintendo updated the public with an update on the company's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, in a section called "Introducing the Partnership System" with this - "same-sex couples" can enjoy "the same benefits as employees in heterosexual marriages". This system has been in place since March 2021.
Just recently, a Japanese court upheld the national ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that "the definition of marriage does not extend to partnerships between people of the same sex under the Constitution." Although same-sex marriage has not yet been opened up in Japan, the local governments in Osaka and Sapporo have already introduced companionship, and related campaigns are gradually taking off across Japan, so Nintendo's choice to go public after this time is quite literally leading the way in declaring its direction.
Nintendo also refers to it as "companionship", but their system is providing as much equal support as possible: "We launched the companionship system in March 2021 ...... Although Japanese law does not currently recognise same-sex marriages, this system ensures that employees in domestic partnerships with same-sex partners enjoy the same benefits as employees in heterosexual marriages. We have also stipulated that such common law marriages will be treated as equivalent to legal marriages."
In addition, to promote women's rights, Nintendo has also decided to increase the proportion of women employed and promoted in the total number of full-time employees to 30% within five years from 2021.
Japan is the only member of the G7 that does not legally recognise same-sex marriages. The country also requires "transgender people to undergo gender reassignment surgery if they want their gender identity to be legally recognised."
Nintendo of Japan says that in their code of conduct for employees they do not discriminate against people based on race, ethnicity, nationality, ideology, religion, belief, origin, social status, class, occupation, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
In addition to the introduction of the partnership system, Nintendo noted it has revised its internal rules on harassment to explicitly prohibit discriminatory comments based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as the disclosure of a person's private sexual orientation against their will.
"By improving our company systems and rolling out training, we will continue to work to create an environment where all of our employees can make the most of their talents."
Nintendo, although from Japan, still has a large part of its business in the West and is therefore subject to Western influence on policies regarding such social responsibilities. For example, in the CSR report, Nintendo of America states that their products will comply with US policies, that the entire supply chain will not violate human rights or damage the environment, and that they will not accept funding from armed forces, among other assurances.
Edited by: Sara Moreira
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