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News

Japan’s Lesbian Politician Celebrates Her Same-Sex Partnership - 5 June 2007

(Tokyo)Japan’s first openly lesbian politician, who is running in the upcoming national election, celebrated her same-sex partnership on 3 June in Nagoya, Japan.

Kanako Otsuji, 32, the former Osaka Assembly Member and an official candidate of Democratic Party of Japan for the next month’s election for the House of Councilors, Japan’s upper house, tied the knot with her partner of four years, Maki Kimura, 32, who is working for Otsuji’s office.

Their wedding took place in IkedaPark in Nagoya, the country’s third largest city, during an HIV/AIDS prevention festival, the Nagoya Lesbian & Gay Revolution, organised by ANGEL LIFE NAGOYA. Some 1,000 people including relatives and friends of both Otsuji’s and Kimura’s attended the wedding.

DPJ leader, Ichiro Ozawa, Secretary General of the Party, Yukio Hatoyama and Fusae Ota, Governor of Osaka Prefecture sent congratulatory telegrams on the wedding.

Kanako said in her wedding speech that the wedding has become one of the most unforgettable moments in her life.

After the wedding, Otsuji said: “Gays and lesbians are hiding themselves in society to protect themselves. I want people to know that gays and lesbians exist in society by looking at [the two of] us.”

Otsuji was moved to tears when she received messages on her wedding day from DPJ top officials and the Governor.

Otsuji and Kimura are not legally recognised as a couple becauseJapan hasn’t legalized same-sex marriage or civil partnerships. Five countries -Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Belgium, and South Africa and Massachusetts have legalized same-sex marriage. Most of EU countries and some states in the U.S. have civil partnerships.

The official announcement of the Upper House election is 5 July. The election is scheduled for 22 July.

Otsuji said that she and Kimura have to concentrate on the Upper House election. She added that she wanted to create society where people can live together despite their differences, and that she would think about her life with Maki after the election.(Editors:Azusa Yamashita,Tom Paine; Photos by Kakejiku)

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