Tokyo has held its 7th Pride Parade on the weekend after a break of three years. The event had been put on hold because of a lack of staff and previous low attendance.

Saturday’s parade saw around 4,000 people take to the streets and was followed by a festival in the city’s Shinjuku Ni-chôme gay district on Sunday.

Tokyo Pride, the largest Pride event in Japan, is technically classified as a demonstration and all participants had to register to take part before the event.

“We are desperate to move mainstream to show people that being gay is normal. This year for the first time ever apart from the usual gay websites and bars we also attracted big international sponsors such as Google, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup,” Hideki Sunagawa, organiser of the parade, told Reuters.

In 2007, organisers chose to change the event’s name from Tokyo Gay Pride Parade to Tokyo Pride Parade to “embrace of all sexual minorities as well as our straight allies”.

Japan remains conservative when it comes to homosexuality and many are afraid to come out to family and colleagues. The country offers no legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

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