Lesbian politician in Japan gets hitched

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Japan’s first openly lesbian politician celebrated her same-sex partnership on Sunday, a month before elections for Japan’s upper house.

Kanako Otsuji, 32, is a candidate for the Democratic Party of Japan in next month’s election for the House of Councillors.

She tied the knot with her partner of four years, Maki Kimura, 32.

Their wedding took place in Ikeda Park in Nagoya, the country’s third largest city, during an HIV/AIDS prevention festival called Nagoya Lesbian Gay Revolution.

Some 1,000 guests attended the wedding.

The leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, Ichiro Ozawa, the Secretary General of the Party, Yukio Hatoyama, and Fusae Ota, the Governor of Osaka all sent congratulatory telegrams to Miss Otsuji.

Miss Otsuji said in her wedding speech that the wedding would be the most unforgettable memory of her life.

After the wedding, Miss Otsuji told GayJapanNews: “Gays and lesbians are hiding themselves in society to protect themselves.

“I want people to know that gays and lesbians exist in society by looking at us (Kanako and Maki).”

The couple’s union is not legally recognised as Japan does not have same-sex marriage or civil partnerships.

The election for the Upper House is scheduled for 22 July.

Miss Otsuji said that she and Miss Kimura would have to concentrate on the election for the coming month.

She added she wanted to create a society where people live differently but can live together, and she would begin to think about her life with Maki after the election.

Only four countries allow same-sex marriage; the Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Belgium, and South Africa. The state of Massachusetts in the US also allows same-sex marriage.

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