Nintendo offers equal rights to same-sex couples, despite Japan’s laws

Nintendo Japan has publicly outlined how if offers the same benefits to all couples, despite same-sex marriages being unrecognised by Japanese law

The logo for Nintendo

Nintendo Japan has publicly stated that it offers the same benefits to employees in same-sex domestic partnerships as it does to employees in opposite-sex marriages, despite the Japanese constitution.

As originally reported by Eurogamer, Nintendo has updated the Corporate Social Responsibility section of its website to outline how same-sex couples, employed by the Switch creator, have access to the same benefits and workers’ rights as employees who are in opposite-sex, legally recognised marriages. The company has provided this since March 2021, in contrast to Japanese law, which does not recognise same-sex domestic partnerships, and does not legally consider them subject to the same rights and privileges as opposite-sex couples.

“Although same-sex marriages are not currently recognized under Japanese law, 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,” says Nintendo. “We have also established that a common-law marriage between couples will be observed in the same way as a legal marriage.”

On June 20, as reported by Time, a damages claim in the Japanese city of Osaka was ruled against three same-sex couples, on the basis that marriage in Japan’s constitution only refers to and protects male-female couples. In 2019, the Japanese Supreme Court upheld a ruling that trans people would have to have their original reproductive organs removed, effectively sterilising them, if they wanted to have their official documents updated to reflect their gender identity.

Nintendo Japan says it has updated its internal regulations to “clearly prohibit discriminatory comments” based on identity and orientation.

“Alongside the introduction of the Partnership System in Japan, we notified our employees about the issue of gender diversity with a message from our President as a means of raising awareness of what diversity means,” the company says. “In this message, 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.”