Panasonic, Sony moves advance diversity trend in corporate Japan
TOKYO -- Recent actions by Panasonic and Sony show how corporate culture is changing in Japan as more companies promote diversity in the workplace and the acceptance and understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues.
On Wednesday, Sony made a company-wide announcement that employees with same-sex partners now have the same family benefits as all other staffers by default and without the need to make a special request. Those benefits include wedding cash gifts, childbirth and nursing care leaves, as well as family separation allowances when assigned to a job away from home.
Panasonic will introduce a change in policy in April acknowledging same-sex marriages. The company's code of behavior for employees will be revised to include a provision not to discriminate people based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, the company is considering providing family benefits to same-sex partners.
Other companies are also becoming more accepting of LGBT issues. Although it has not changed its corporate regulations, SoftBank Group has become more flexible and will provide marriage money gifts to employees who make it known they have had a same-sex wedding ceremony.
Microsoft Japan introduced measures in April of 2015 to treat same-sex partners as spouses, and IBM Japan did the same last month.