Finnish Ambassador Jukka Siukosaari and his family participated in the Tokyo Rainbow Pride (TRP) Parade on May 7 in the European Embassies' Group to show support for the LGBT community in Japan. A common booth for the five Nordic countries at the TRP venue next to Tokyo's Yoyogi Park gathered many visitors interested in LGBT progresses and tourism attractions in the Nordics.
It was a refreshing sunny day for the grand parade, one of the highlights of the Tokyo Rainbow Pride Week starting from the end of April. The European Ambassadors, the Embassy staff, their families and friends from 14 countries and the Delegation of the EU to Japan walked together for the first time in the Parade under the same banner. The group consisted of about 100 people waving national flags, walking the 3km route through bustling areas of Shibuya and Harajuku. The parade had a record number of participants of about 5000 this year, and many more waved rainbow flags cheering and shouting "happy pride!" alongside the streets.
Icelandic Ambassador Hannes Heimisson emphasized the importance of "openness, tolerance and inclusion" in his speech at the TRP main stage after the parade, as a representative of participating European diplomats. The common belief that LGBT rights are human rights that transcend borders, and that everyone has the right to be who they want to be regardless of their background or origin was shared among the participants of the event. At the Nordic Booth staff representing the Embassies of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland - wearing common black T-shirts - explained about status and happenings related to sexual minorities in their countries for the visitors stopping by. This was the third year the Nordics had set up a common booth to participate the TRP event, taking place during the weekend of May 6-7 this year.
The Nordic countries have been global forerunners in implementing measures to ensure LGBT rights for their populations. In Finland the gender-neutral marriage legislation, permitting same-sex couples also to adopt children, started off as as a citizen's initiative and came into force on 1 March 2017. Over 800 couples married during the first month of the new legislation, although 770 of those were already registered civil partnerships.