Japanese PM’s wife takes part in gay parade, supports equality rightsAround the World, Online Only, Top Highlights Monday, April 28th, 2014
TOKYO — From GayAsiaNews comes a story about Japan’s first lady, who has not only taken part in the annual Tokyo gay parade but gone on to write about equality and anti-gay discrimination on her Facebook page.
Akie Abe wore a white suite and stood on a float with a drag queen, as some 3,000 participants marched through the upmarket Shibuya shopping district in the capital April 27, reports malaysia-chronicle.com.
“I want to help build a society where anyone can conduct happy, enriched lives without facing discrimination,” wrote the 51-year-old wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on her Facebook page.
Akie Abe, known in Japan for being even more liberal than her husband who heads the Liberal Democratic Party led government, wrote on her Facebook page that she has been involved in the equality issue since joining a commission set up by UNAIDS and the Lancet medical journal last year.
“I had the pleasure of spending fun time filled with smiles. Thank you,” she wrote.
Japan has national holidays in late April and early May and is known as Golden Week. The LGBT makes use of this by festooning some streets in Tokyo with rainbow-colored flags and organizing events to promote equality for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people.
Unlike traditional Japanese first ladies, Akie Abe is known to speak her mind freely that often resonated well with the public especially since some of her opinions are opposite to that of her husband.
She for example is skepticism about a trans-Pacific trade deal and nuclear power, something that her husband, known for his hawkish politics, supports.
She also passionately embraces Korean pop culture, publicly admiring Korean models and actors for their good looks, despite relations with South Korea being rather frosty under her husband.
Same-sex relations were legalized way back in 1880 in Japan and although Japanese culture does not have a history of hostility toward LGBT people, they nonetheless lack legal recognition and are often subjected to social discrimination.
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