Nintendo Offers Same-Sex Partner Benefits while Japan Denies Marriage Rights

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday July 14, 2022

Nintendo Offers Same-Sex Partner Benefits while Japan Denies Marriage Rights

Video game giant Nintendo has displayed corporate leadership that outstrips Japan's lawmakers in offering benefits to the same-sex partners of its employees, even as Japan continues to deny equal marriage rights to those very same workers, according to gaming site Kotaku.

Referencing a report made by Eurogamer, Kotaku recounted that the company issued an update to its policies on July 11, and sharp-eyed readers noticed that for more than a year Nintendo has explicitly extended the "same benefits" to the "same-sex partners" of its employees "as [to] employees in an opposite-sex marriage."

Calling the policy "a big deal," Kotaku noted that "it was only a few weeks ago that Japanese courts upheld a national ban on same-sex marriages, ruling them unconstitutional." noted that the policy also extended to the unmarried partners of Nintendo employees in mixed-gender relationships.

The company further "has revised its regulations regarding harassment to also prohibit discriminatory comments based upon sexual orientation and gender identity," added — another stark contrast to governmental policies. As Eurogamer noted, "Transgender people are also required to be surgically sterilized under Japanese law if they want legal recognition of their gender identity, but Nintendo's message instead promotes gender diversity."

Eurogamer quoted the company's policies as declaring, "At Nintendo Co., Ltd. (Japan), we want to create a work environment that supports and empowers each and every one of our unique employees."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.