Diversifying Japan's Workforce

Diversifying Japan's workforce

The issue of workplace diversity was front and center at an event marking Coming Out Day in Japan on Friday.

October 11 is celebrated around the world as a day to honor people who publicly identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

In Tokyo, more than 400 people took part in an annual event hosted by an organization called Work With Pride.

Business representatives and LGBT employees spoke about ways to improve working conditions for members of the LGBT community.

They talked about the importance of creating working environments where LGBT people can feel comfortable and get help immediately, if they encounter harassment.

Japan does not have a law that protects people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. The country also does not recognize same-sex marriage.

Last year a support group called ReBit conducted a survey. Members of the LGBT community were asked if they had ever faced discrimination or harassment while job hunting.

Among those who identify as transgender 87.4 percent said yes.

However, Work With Pride says efforts to make workplaces more inclusive are beginning to spread. It says the number of companies or organizations that it has certified as making such efforts has more than doubled in the last three years, from 79 to 192.

Good Aging Yells is a nonprofit organization. It is a member of Work With Pride. Gon Matsunaka, the organization's president, says he wants companies to share ideas and promote efforts to diversify Japan's workforce.