Diversity is fundamental to Morrison & Foerster’s culture, the experiences we bring to each other, and the service we deliver to our clients. MoFo has been a standard-bearer for LGBTQ+ equality in the legal profession for more than 30 years and believes that parity should be afforded to all, no matter where you live.
The Viewpoint is the first affirmative public statement on the issue by the business community in Japan and was announced on September 19th during a press conference on marriage equality and the recruitment and retention of LGBTQ+ talent, followed by LLAN’s Third Annual Equality Gala 2018.
MoFo’s pro bono team — led by Singapore-based partner Dan Levison and New York-based partner Jim Hough, with the support of Tokyo associates Hanae Fujinami, Aramide Fields, Fumihiko Hori and Tokyo senior of counsel Mariko Obana — worked hand-in-hand with LLAN to inspire the adoption of the position paper.
The Viewpoint states that legally recognizing LGBTQ+ marriages would remove barriers to companies doing business in Japan, while raising Japan’s international competitiveness in attracting talent. Other countries that have already legalized marriage equality have an edge over those that have not when it comes to hiring and retention costs, workplace productivity, and inclusive communities.
“As members of the Japanese legal and business communities, we are aware that marriage equality is not only the right thing to do, but that it is of crucial importance to businesses operating in Japan competing in the global marketplace for talent,” says Levison, who is a member of Morrison & Foerster’s global Diversity Strategy Committee.
Morrison & Foerster has been at the forefront of the fight for marriage equality around the world and was one of the first law firms to expand benefits to include same-sex couples. Earlier this year, MoFo was one of 16 law firms, along with 15 international financial institutions, that supported a landmark case concerning LGBTQ+ rights, QT v. Director of Immigration, which paves the way for greater LGBTQ+ equality in Hong Kong.
With marriage equality acceptance gaining momentum in the region, not to mention the 2020 Olympics fast approaching, there has never been a better time for Japan to take the lead in shaping a more diverse Asia-Pacific economy with all the world watching.