A human rights advocate, former teacher and professional wrestler, and now the newly appointed head of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, said Wednesday he plans to promote support for sexual-minority students at schools.

"Let me be clear on this: I believe sexual-minority students at elementary and junior high schools have been left out" to the extent that people around them, including teachers, friends and family, have little understanding of the issues they face, said Hiroshi Hase, 54, at an interview following his appointment to education minister last week.

A Lower House member of the Liberal Democratic Party who started his political career as an Upper House member in 1995, Hase has focused on human rights issues, and co-launched a multiparty caucus to examine discrimination against sexual minorities in March.