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2,000 people take part in Tokyo pride parade held for 1st time in 3 yrs

TOKYO -- A pride parade celebrating sexual diversity was held on April 24 in the Japanese capital's Shibuya Ward after a three-year hiatus due to the spread of coronavirus infections.

    Participants in the "Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2022" parade are seen in the capital's Shibuya Ward on April 24, 2022. (Mainichi/Natsuki Nishi)=Click/tap photo for more images.

    About 2,000 people attended the "Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2022" march around Yoyogi Park. The limited number of participants were selected through a lottery system and other means as a measure to prevent the spread of infections. Holding rainbow flags, which symbolize promoting the rights of sexual minorities, and placards with various messages such as, "We want to make our hometowns places we can return to," and "We will make a change," the smiling participants marched around the park.

    Yu Kuramoto, 21, a fourth-year university student, participated in the Tokyo parade for the first time with executive committee members of a march in Sapporo. They said, "I'm happy that the event is being held. I'd like to call on people to stop treating heterosexuality as a given and forcing others to behave in certain ways depending on their gender."

    A graduate school student, 28, and their same-sex partner, a 27-year-old corporate employee -- both from China -- were pleased to join their first march together, saying: "We want to be (legally) married in Japan and China."

    Sexual minorities in Japan have held parades on and off since the 1990s. Tokyo Rainbow Pride, consisting of events such as a festival and a parade, was inaugurated in 2012 as a celebration for sexual minorities including LGBTQ people. Though the number of participants had been growing year by year, it was held only online in 2020 and 2021 amid the pandemic. In the latest edition, the parade and the festival at Yoyogi Park were held for the first time in three years.

    (Japanese original by Miyuki Fujisawa, Digital News Center; Video by Natsuki Nishi, Photo Group)

    In Photos: Participants celebrate sexual diversity in 1st pride parade in Tokyo in 3 yrs

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