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Japan: Activist running to become country’s first gay male lawmaker

Nick Duffy December 7, 2014

An LGBT activist running for election in Japan could be on course to become country’s first openly gay male lawmaker.

Campaigner Taiga Ishikawa – who recently failed in his bid to become leader of the minority Social Democrat party – is running for parliament in the country’s general election, taking place next week.

Mr Ishikawa will be at the top of the party list in Tokyo – making him likely to be elected under the proportional block of Japan’s complex parallel voting system.

He told the Wall Street Journal that he will prioritise fighting for same-sex marriage if elected, in addition to working on the environment and women’s rights.

He said: “My goal is to promote diversity in the community.”

The small party has just five seats across the legislature, but could be on course to make gains in the election.

Mr Ishikawa, who came out as gay in 2002, previously made history in 2011 when he gained a seat on the Tokyo’s Toshima ward assembly.

The country has already briefly seen a lesbian lawmaker, as Democratic Party member Kanako Otsuji stood in to serve in the House of Councillors after another politician resigned, but her term expired after just a few months.

The election is set to take place on December 14.

More: Asia, election, Gay, Japan, Japan, lawmaker, Taiga Ishikawa, Tokyo

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