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Rakuten to recognize partners of employees in same-sex relationships as spouses

JIJI

Online shopping mall operator Rakuten Inc. on Friday announced that it will recognize the partners of employees in same-sex relationships as their spouses.

Under the new rule, approved at the day’s board meeting, employees with same-sex partners can receive the same benefits and treatment as married employees, including congratulation and condolence leave, and consolation payments.

Employees willing to obtain such recognition need to submit documents with the signatures from themselves, their partners and third parties.

Rakuten is making efforts to enhance systems to respect diversity in the workplace. The number of non-Japanese employees at Rakuten has been increasing ever since it designated English as its official corporate language in July 2012.

The latest move came in response to requests from employees who are sexual minorities.

Electronics maker Panasonic Corp., Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc., Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. and other major Japanese companies are moving to eliminate discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.