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Monday, December 03, 2012

LGBT rights petition to Tokyo gubernatorial candidates

The former governor of Tokyo, far-rightist Shintaro Ishihara, has just resigned from his governorship after 13 and a half years in the post. Ishihara became governor of Tokyo in 1999 after a four-year holiday from politics following his quitting of national politics in the wake of the Aum Shinrikyo Tokyo subway sarin gassing incident. According to one politician, Koichi Hamada, Ishihara had financially and politically supported Aum Shinrikyo.

Ishihara has always appealed to the lowest common denominator in Japanese politics, and is characterized by pronouncements designed to make Japanese comfortable with whatever racist or nationalist sentiments they might hold - and make himself a hero for his perceived "forthrightness" and "honesty" in the process.

At age 80, he has now placed himself at the head of the Japan Restoration Party (Nippon Ishin no Kai), apparently looking to go down in a doddery blaze of national-scale right-wing glory.

There are nine Tokyo gubernatorial candidates now looking to fill his place. One, deputy governor Naoki Inose, is Ishihara's dumpy, uncharismatic protege, and is vowing to continue Ishihara's "policies." Three other likely winners are Shigefumi Matsuzawa, former governor of Kanagawa prefecture; Takashi Sasagawa, former Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party General Council; and Kenji Utsunomiya, former President of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.

Members of Tokyo's gay and lesbian community are taking this opportunity to petition the candidates for recognition of the rights of Tokyo's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population. The "WE ARE HERE!" petition is being organized by the proprietor of a GLBT cafe, Gossip, in Omotesando, Tokyo.

The petition has yet to be fully translated into English, but if you are able to read Japanese, or to translate the page, you are encouraged to add your name to this petition to get formal recognition for GLBT rights in Tokyo, one of the few leading metropolises of the world where gays and lesbians are still officially invisible.

Sign the WE ARE HERE! petition for recognition of GLBT rights in Tokyo.

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