Taiga Ishikawa Becomes Japan’s First Gay Politician to Win the Upper House

Taiga Ishikawa of the Social Democratic Party addresses voters Wednesday in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward in 2014. | SATOKO KAWASAKI

Out gay Japanese politician Taiga Ishikawa, who has been running in Japanese national elections since 2014, won a seat in the Japanese legislative Upper House according to The Asahi Shimbun.

The government of Japan is a constitutional monarchy in which the power of the emperor is limited and is relegated primarily to ceremonial duties. As in many other states, the government is divided into three branches: the legislative branch, the executive branch, and the judicial branch.

A champion for the rights of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people, Taiga Ishikawa was elected to the Upper House for the first time, winning a seat in the proportional representation system on July 21.

Ishikawa, 45, who is openly gay, ran on the ticket of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ).

He has been campaigning on recognizing same-sex marriages, aiming for a society in which diversity is respected.

“I was calling for the acknowledgement of LGBT people in the election,” Ishikawa said at his campaign office in Tokyo after winning an Upper House seat. “A lot of people all over Japan plucked up their courage to vote for me. This acknowledges that we are here.”

Many supporters came to his office on the night of July 21 to share in the drama. They watched up-to-the-minute election returns on TV.

When TV news reported around 4:45 a.m. on July 22 that it was almost certain that he would win, Ishikawa and his supporters erupted in joy.

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