First lady Akie Abe joins Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade

AFP-JIJI

On Sunday first lady Akie Abe showed her support for  lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities by joining the third annual Tokyo Rainbow Pride event.

The 51-year-old wife of conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, dressed in all white,  stood on a float with a drag queen, as some 3,000 participants marched through the Shibuya district.

Abe, known for her liberal inclinations, wrote on her Facebook page later that she has been involved in LBGT issues since joining a commission set up by UNAIDS and the Lancet medical journal last year.

“I want to help build a society where anyone can conduct happy, enriched lives without facing discrimination,” she wrote.

“I had the pleasure of spending fun time filled with smiles. Thank you,” she wrote.

Her husband spent the day in northern Japan meeting residents of communities badly damaged by the deadly tsunami in March 2011.

Unlike traditional Japanese first ladies, Abe has projected a cheerful confidence, freely speaking her mind and making remarks that often resonate with the modern public.

She has voiced her opposition to nuclear power and skepticism about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, and has passionately embraced Korean pop culture.

She represents a counterbalance to her nationalist husband, known for his hawkish politics and support for nuclear power. Relations with South Korea and China have dropped to their worst in recent memory during his time in office.

  • Harry Underwood

    Amazing! I hope this is another sign of a sea change on civil rights law in Japan. Happy Pride!