Japan: Corporations make strides to foster inclusive LGBT work environment

In May 2015, Hiroki Inaba, vice president of Goldman Sachs Japan Co.’s legal department, came out as gay, after almost 13 years with the company and 10 years since the company established its LGBT Network, which was formed by staff to promote understanding of sexual minorities.

Although Goldman Sachs Japan has systems in place to provide training to its employees on diversity and inclusion, Inaba said it was also really the support of his boss, Naosuke Fujita, that encouraged him to come out.

“I came out to thank Fujita for all the efforts he had made,” Inaba said.

In a sign of slowly change attitudes, companies in Japan are taking gradual steps to eliminate discrimination against employees, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

While there are still no national laws that accord equal rights to same-sex couples, Goldman Sachs Japan provides employees the same benefits to LGBT partnerships as with married couples. The firm also places a senior manager in each division who takes the lead in promoting diversity.

Fujita was one such leader for the legal department, encouraging staff attendance of LGBT-related events while also raising awareness against discriminatory language. Fujita and Inaba launched a private organization in February 2016 called Lawyers for LGBT & Allies Network, aimed at promoting understanding of sexual minorities, eliminating discrimination and helping create a more inclusive society. Read more via Japan Times