SAITAMA — The Saitama Prefectural Government has announced that it will start registering companies that provide consideration to sexual diversity in the first move of its kind in Japan, in an effort to create working environments friendly to sexual minorities.
Under the initiative announced on Sept. 6, the prefectural government will begin accepting registrations on Sept. 29 from companies and business establishments based in the prefecture, on condition that they take online training sessions about LGBTQ issues provided by the prefecture.
The prefectural government will make announcements on its website about the status of efforts by each company over their measures to promote workers’ understanding toward the issue and whether they offer welfare systems for LGBTQ employees.
Specifically, registered companies will be asked to report on their endeavors regarding 40 indices listed under eight items, including a basic principle to “widely publicize policies to respect sexual diversity within and outside the company, such as not discriminating against people based on sexual orientation and sexual identity”; implementation of initiatives to promote understanding of the issues within the company; and development of consultation systems.
According to the prefecture, even if companies try to promote measures paying consideration to sexual diversity, there are cases where business operators face a lack of understanding within their firms, or are unable to use the status of other companies’ efforts as a reference due to a dearth of information on the issue.
Saitama Gov. Motohiro Ono told a regular press conference on Sept. 6, “There are gaps between companies in their efforts, and there is no common ground of understanding as to what to do over the issue. The registration system will allow companies to start with what they can do,” and called on firms to utilize the system.
Also the same day, the prefectural government started offering the online training sessions for companies, while setting up a consultation desk on LGBTQ issues targeting managerial staff and human resources personnel at companies. Both the training sessions and consultation service are free of charge.
(Japanese original by Reiko Oka, Saitama Bureau)