TOKYO — Thousands gathered in Tokyo’s trendy Shibuya business and shopping district for LGBT pride on Sunday.
Japan’s first lady, Akie Abe, wife of conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, joined the festivities, standing on a float (pictured, right, in white) amid a sea of 3,000 marching participants.
Akie Abe, 51, known for her liberal inclinations, wrote on her Facebook page later that she has been involved in the issue since joining a commission set up by UNAIDS and the Lancet medical journal last year, reports AFP.
“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.”
Unlike traditional Japanese first ladies, Akie Abe has projected a cheerful confidence, freely speaking her mind and making remarks that often resonate with the modern public.
The Prime Minister did not join her at the event, and instead spent the day visiting victims of the 2011 tsunami.
Check out more photos of Tokyo Pride, courtesy of Getty Images:
Sunday’s parade kicked off the week-long celebration of Tokyo Rainbow Week.