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politician finds Japan more accepting

politician finds Japan more accepting

Thanks to the prominence of a 38-year-old transgender politician in Tokyo, Japan is becoming more accepting of transgender people in general, even passing a law allowing them to change the sex listed on their birth certificates. Ten years ago there was no word for "transgender" in Japanese, and Aya Kamikawa was considering leaving the country, but she is now optimistic, reports Deutsche Presse-Agentur. "I thought that Japan was never going to change," Kamikawa told the German news agency, "but now I want other transgender people to feel that their country is not just a place of despair." Three years ago Kamikawa was elected to the municipal post of ward assemblywoman in Tokyo, after standing in front of city train stations with a loudspeaker and telling commuters she was transgender. The resulting attention--she appeared in magazines, newspapers, and television shows--made her one of the most famous people in Japan. She won election in part because of policies that were popular with senior citizens, such as improving neighborhood amenities like the library and generally tending to the living conditions of the elderly and disabled. She also promoted herself as a person whom voters could go to directly with their concerns. Next year she plans to run for a second term as assemblywoman. "I should not just get off the train and wave goodbye because I have resolved my problems," Kamikawa told Deutsche Press-Agentur. "My mission is not over yet. There are still many who are suffering as I used to." (The Advocate)

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