Kanako Otsuji, Japan's first openly lesbian political candidate, failed to win a House of Councilor's seat in the general election. Otsuji-san was backed by a major party, the Rainbow and Greens coalition, and would have been Japan's first openly gay national politician.
She was previously elected to the Osaka Assembly where in 2005 she led the change to allow same-sex couples to rent from the Osaka Prefectural Housing Corporation. This was a privilege previously limited to married couples. Since same-sex marriages are not recognised under Japanese law, gay couples in Osaka had previously found it impossible to rent public housing.
We featured Otsuji-san in the Homotextual section for the following quote:
"In Japan, you cannot say you are a lesbian. There are no lesbians among famous TV stars or other celebrities, so I didn't think there were any in this country at all, and this filled me with doubt. I decided to become a politician to change society, to deliver the message that we aren't ashamed to be what we are."