One of the nation's most influential businesswoman on Monday surprised many of the country's working women by disclosing she is in same-sex relationship, possibly a game-changing milestone in the nation's slow but growing acceptance of sexual minorities.

Kazuyo Katsuma, a 49-year-old mother of three, was on the Wall Street Journal's list of "The 50 Women to Watch" in 2005 for gaining "legions of fans among Japanese working mothers" through the management of an online forum for working mothers.

Her fans are known as "Katsumer," which was nominated as the 2009 buzzword of the year.