The AFP reports:
"This is our first attempt to link up with many groups" of sexual minorities, said one of the organisers, Hiroko Masuhara, 35. "The parade is a symbolic event in the (Tokyo) Rainbow Week programme." Masuhara, who held a wedding with her partner at Tokyo Disney Resort last month, said support for gay rights was rising in Japan. "We have an impression that we are seeing more women and various nationalities of people participating in our parade in recent years," she said.
Masuhara and her partner became the first gay couple to be married at Tokyo's Disneyland.
Rainbow Week ends May 6. Watch a video of the parade, AFTER THE JUMP.
The Magic Kingdom just got a little more magic in Japan, the Taipei Times reports:
Tokyo Disneyland said this week it would allow gay couples to hold ceremonies on its grounds, although same-sex weddings have no legal status in Japan.
Disneyland’s decision came to light after Koyuki Higashi, a 27-year-old woman, inquired about marrying her female partner, identified only as Hiroko, at the resort. Higashi was initially told she would be able to marry her partner provided they were dressed “like a man and a woman,” she wrote on her blog. Staff at Disneyland, which attracts about 14 million visitors a year, were apparently concerned about how other visitors would react to the sight of couples both dressed in wedding dresses or tuxedos.
A spokeswoman for Milial Resort Hotels, a subsidiary of Tokyo Disney Resort, later said there had been a misunderstanding, telling Higashi and her partner they could dress how they pleased, although they would not be able to exchange vows in the chapel because of “Christian teachings.”
The park is now accepting all applications for same-sex wedding ceremonies.
The new Black Eyed Peas video "Just Can't Get Enough" was shot in Tokyo a week before the earthquake, ET reports:
"It was the easiest video I ever shot because it was us living our lives," Fergie says. "I love that it's showing a true perspective of how it can sometimes be lonely on the road away from our loved ones. It also demonstrates the love and connection we have with Japan. Our heart goes out to all of the Japanese people who have been affected by this natural disaster."
"It was an amazing moment in time because Japan has always been my favorite place on the planet," Taboo says. "It was great to do our video there. God bless the Japanese. Our love goes out to them."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
The situation in Japan continues to deepen as explosions and fire have damaged the Fukushima nuclear reactor perhaps beyond recovery:
In a brief morning address to the nation Tokyo time, Prime Minister Naoto Kan pleaded for calm, but warned that radiation had already spread from the crippled reactors and there was “a very high risk” of further leakage.
The sudden turn of events, after an explosion Monday at one reactor and then an early-morning explosion Tuesday at yet another — the third in four days at the plant — already made the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station the worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl reactor disaster a quarter century ago.
Most workers have abandoned the plant:
Engineers at the plant, working at tremendous personal risk, on Tuesday continued efforts to cool down the most heavily damaged unit, reactor No. 2, by pumping in seawater. According to government statements, most of the 800 workers at the plant had been withdrawn, leaving 50 or so workers in a desperate effort to keep the cores of three stricken reactors cooled with seawater pumped by firefighting equipment, while crews battled to put out the fire at the No. 4 reactor, which they claimed to have done just after noon on Tuesday.
RIA Novosti reports: "The Japanese Transport Ministry declared a no-fly zone within the range of 30 km from the blast-hit Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant, the Kyodo news agency said on Tuesday. The ban does not include planes and helicopters involved in rescue efforts and delivering aid to quake-hit areas."
Some folks are evacuating Tokyo: "Panic swept Tokyo on Tuesday after a rise in radioactive levels around an earthquake-hit nuclear power plant north of the city, causing some to leave the capital or stock up on food and supplies. Embassies advised staff to leave affected areas, tourists cut short vacations and some multinational companies told staff to move from Tokyo out after low levels of radiation were detected in one of the world's biggest and most densely populated cities."
The aircraft carrier USS George Washington was docked for maintenance after detecting low levels of radioactivity.