The cheerful crowd waved banners and rainbow flags, with some members in drag or dressed in other costumes, as they marched through downtown Tokyo rallying for more visibility and rights for LGBTQ individuals in the country.
‘Everyone should be able to marry whom they love,’ said U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, who appeared on a stage set up in Yoyogi Park wearing a Tokyo Rainbow Pride T-shirt, reports The Asahi Shimbun.
Kennedy was also joined by British Ambassador, Tim Hitchens, and Irish Ambassador, Anne Barrington, at the event.
In a poll conducted in Japan last year, 7.6% (or 1 in every 13) of the 70,000 participants identified themselves as part of the LGBTQ community. The results surprised people as they had expected a lower ratio.
Shinya Yamagata, 49, co-representative of Tokyo Rainbow Pride, told The Asahi Shimbun that the pride parade can help push for a more inclusive society for LGBTQ citizens:
‘We hope to spread social awareness and establish a law on a national level recognising same-sex couples.’
She added, ‘I know the United States took a long time, step by step (in legalising same-sex marriages). I am sure that in Japan this movement seems to be growing, and we are here to support that.’