Tokyo, Japan,15 February 2019 – Baker & McKenzie joined a joint press conference on February 14 at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan on the right to Marriage Equality for LGBT couples, and on the recruitment and retention of LGBT talent in Japan.

Together with Japan In-House Lawyers Association (JILA), Women In Law Japan (WILJ), and Mori Hamada Matsumoto, Baker & McKenzie discussed the recommendation for the Government of Japan to recognize equal marriage rights for LGBT couples, adding their voices to endorsements by the Australian/New Zealand, British, Canadian, Danish and Irish Chambers of Commerce in Japan for the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Viewpoint on Marriage Equality and the Recruitment and Retention of LGBT Talent in Japan, published in September 2018.

“We see every day that our clients are moving very quickly in a direction where diversity & inclusion is an essential component of their culture and HR management. As advisors, we have to be at the forefront of this movement, and we need to be able to share experiences with our clients.” says Hiroshi Kondo, a partner of Corporate/M&A practice represented Baker & McKenzie to express our support.

Our co-founder Russell Baker believed that including lawyers from a variety of countries and cultures was the only way for Baker McKenzie to become a truly global law firm. Our belief is that diversity and inclusion creates a positive workforce environment, but building a diverse workforce is also the smart business thing to do. We know this approach breeds creativity, encourages a greater range of views and helps us to respond better to the needs of our clients and the communities we work in. Therefore, we are committed to creating and maintaining an open and supportive working environment., and we are investing significant resources to ensure that all our talents can express themselves safely and equally. This value needs to be shared by all companies running business on a global basis.

Our policy on LGBT diversity is very simple and very clear: “we are not neutral” which means that in the countries where this is possible we actively support issues around LGBT diversity of which marriage equality is a key component. I stand here today in front of you as a proud representative of our firm, having obtained the unanimous consent of all my Tokyo partners to support the ACCJ Viewpoint.

Baker McKenzie was one of the first global law firms to sign the UN Global Compact in June 2015. As you may know, the UN Global Compact is composed of 10 principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. We report annually and publicly on the progresses we make and actively support the UN initiatives. Further, in 2017, we joined the UN Women Empowerment Initiatives and have launched several programs to ensure we reach gender equality among our lawyers. We support the “He for She” campaign launched by the UN, which relies on transforming men into allies, supportive of women in the workplace and actors of change. We have been actively making progress in launching this initiative in our firm, and we look forward to sharing our progress in the future.

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