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2,500 march for gay pride in Tokyo

Organisers of Tokyo Rainbow Pride say an April march will now be a firm fixture in the LGBT calendar
Wataru Ishizaka, Taiga Ishikawa, the first two openly gay politicians elected in Japan, and Aya Kamikawa, the only openly transgender politician in Japan, march in the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade

Sunday's Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade attracted 2,500 participants and 2,000 spectators.

After a difficult few years, and no Pride march at all in 2011, LGBT pride in Tokyo is back and the organisers promise that following this weekend's success, Tokyo Rainbow Pride will be a annual event.

Spokesperson Lauren Anderson told Gay Star News: 'Seeing same sex couples hold hands and hug in public was quite moving because you don’t ever really see that in Japan. The parade went completely smoothly and we were well looked after by the police.'

Speaker Taiga Ishikawa, one of the two first openly gay politicians to be elected in Japan, said that he is trying to bring LGBT rights to his district in north west Tokyo. The US Consul General of Osaka, Patrick Lineham talked about Hilary Clinton's mission to show the world that LGBT rights are human rights.

According to AFP, Tokyo Rainbow Pride plan to expand to 50,000 participants in the parade in the next few years. Wataru Ishizaka, the other openly gay local politician to be elected, said that many Japanese LGBT people were still shy about openly revealing their identities. 'Japanese sexual minorities are still concerned about their exposure to the public,' he said.

See more photographs from the celebration here.

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Spokesperson Lauren Anderson told Gay Star News: 'Seeing same sex couples hold hands and hug in public was quite moving because you don’t ever really see that in Japan. The parade went completely smoothly and we were well looked after by the police.

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