The Gay Marriage Fight Gets a Lift From Japan’s Biggest Companies


On a recent Congressional trip to Japan, US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on the host country to do more for its LGBT population, noting that Japan is the lone G-7 member without marriage equality. In spite of overtures to the queer community domestically and a commitment to “shared values” with its global allies, the conservative government has resisted any formal changes. In the private sector, though, there’s a different vibe. As Yuko Takeo and I write in a story for Bloomberg Businessweek, many of Japan’s biggest employers are offering benefits to same-sex partners, and some have been vocal advocates for marriage equality. Yamaha Corp. last month endorsed a campaign led by  Business for Marriage Equality, joining Sony, Fujitsu, Honda and others in calling on Japan to legalize same-sex marriage. That’s a big change from regional neighbors like Hong Kong, where foreign multinationals have publicly advocated for equal rights but most large local employers haven’t.

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