(Nikkei: February 26, 2016 – p. 6)
“That is not only ethically right, but also creates a positive impact on business.”
This was how Randy Berry, special envoy for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) individuals in the U.S. Department of State, explains the need for consideration for sexual minorities.
He gives examples of companies, such as IBM, that were pioneers in giving treatment to the partners of LGBT workers equal to that of spouses of straight couples in the provision of welfare programs. “These initiatives help enhance the recognition of corporate brands and boost productivity of workers,” he says.
In February, he visited Japan and various other countries in Asia. Though the region is said to trail Europe and the U.S. in taking pro-LGBT measures, Berry noted: “Discussions on the expansion of LBGT rights are gaining momentum in Vietnam, Taiwan and some other countries that cherish tradition.”
Momentum is also growing in Japan. An insurance company, for example, is developing products that cater to same-sex couples. Berry expects businesses to play a part in these moves.
“The U.S. won the legalization of same-sex marriage through efforts led by the private sector,” he says.