On the heels of Panasonic’s announcement in 2016, beer and soft drinks giant Kirin Holdings, Ltd. has announced a change to its guidelines to ensure there is no discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and to recognize employees’ same-sex marriages from the start of this month. Common-law marriages will be similarly recognized.
Company rules regarding things like condolence leave, company housing, and assorted benefits will be rewritten so that common-law or same-sex couples receive them in the same way as their married colleagues currently do. Medical leave will also be changed to allow time off for procedures such as hormone therapy, which were previously not covered. They have also announced they will be holding workshops to raise diversity awareness among employees and customers.
新発売午後の紅茶 恋のティーグルトとポッキーミディ 恋のレモン、お好みのホモと百合がつくれる( ＾ω＾)楽しいお( ＾ω＾) pic.twitter.com/7Mlzw4lGDq— 純 (@Jwntk_jp) February 16, 2016
Kirin has previously been praised by Japanese LGBT+ groups for their packaging collaboration with Japanese company Glico, which showed same-sex couples kissing.
The Kirin craft beer subsidiary Spring Valley Brewery also supported this year’s Tokyo Rainbow Pride event and had a booth there, with the rather catchy slogan that “both people and beers are all different, and are all good.”
While these are clearly positive changes and show a move in the right direction when it comes to equality, there is still a lot to be done. It’s fair to say that the support of large companies will go some way to influencing smaller companies and their workers in a trickle-down effect, although that may not create change as fast as some might like it.
While the LGBT+ community faces challenges all over the world, sometimes Japan can appear to have more hurdles than many other developed countries, as this commercial shows. So these announcements, and those of housing organisations like Suumo, should be applauded. How about a beer to celebrate?
Same-sex couples to be recognized in Sapporo, Japanese city with population of around two million
Japan government hard at work trying to prevent Shibuya Ward approving same-sex marriages
Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward to offer marriage certificates to same-sex couples