Panasonic Extends Benefits To Same-Sex Couples In Japan

The electronics giant is only the second company in Japan to grant benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian employees.

Panasonic has announced that it will extend company benefits to same-sex couples beginning this April.

The electronics giant is one of the first corporations to establish such a policy in Japan, where same-sex marriage is not legal and only a small number of municipalities recognize civil partnerships.

The only other major corporation to grant benefits to partners of gay and lesbian employees’ is the Japanese arm of IBM, which pays a customary marriage bonus and relocation expenses.

Panasonic is a major legacy company with deep respect in Japan’s business community—this move could push other large firms to follow suit, putting pressure on the national government to create some form of recognition for same-sex couples.

The move likely isn’t entirely altruistic, though: The 2020 Summer Olympics will be held in Tokyo and, as a sponsor, Panasonic is looking to avoid the kind of public shaming that haunted McDonald’s and Sony when the Winter Games were held in Russia in 2014.

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