Nintendo Japan will recognize same-sex marriages, despite Japan's laws

·2 min read
A Nintendo section in a shop in Tokyo.
A Nintendo section in a shop in Tokyo.

While Nintendo news tends to focus on their upcoming Mario-centric games and not, say, the exciting additions to its corporate site, a recent update from the company regarding its corporate social responsibility or CSR policies stands out among the pages of information.

As first spotted by Go Nintendo, the company announced that employees in same-sex partnerships would receive the same benefits as those in opposite-sex marriages—despite Japan’s ban on gay marriage.

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“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,” states Nintendo’s CSR policy on their site. “We have also established that a common-law marriage between couples will be observed in the same way as a legal marriage.”

Though Nintendo officially implemented the policy known as the Partnership System in March 2021, this is the first public announcement of it from the gaming company. Along with the Partnership System, Nintendo has revised its policies regarding harassment 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.”

Additionally, Nintendo re-iterates that, as stated under the section titled “Introduction of a Partnership System” in its code of conduct for employees, the company does “not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, nationality, ideology, religion, creed, origin, social status, class, occupation, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity, prohibiting all forms of discrimination.”

Among the G7 countries, Japan is the only member that doesn’t legally recognize same-sex marriages. Nintendo’s announcement comes a few weeks after an Osaka court upheld Japan’s ban on same-sex marriages, ruling that “under the constitution, the definition of marriage did not extend to partnerships between people of the same gender,” reported Japan broadcaster NHK.