Expats in Tokyo kick off series of women’s marches around the world
TOKYO — As the sun was rising on Inauguration Day in America, nearly 650 people halfway around the world in Tokyo participated in a show of solidarity with the millions expected for the Women’s March on Washington.
U.S. expats and Japanese citizens alike held signs promoting women’s rights, human rights, access to health care and other social issues as they marched nearly 2 miles from Hibiya Park in central Tokyo to Mikawadai Park, about a mile east of Hardy Barracks.
Linda Crawford, an expat from New York City who has made her home in Kyoto, Japan, for the last 47 years, traveled to Tokyo for the march. She said she was heartened by the number of people who braved low temperatures to participate.
“That people are willing to come out (in the cold) and show commitment to legislation and policies that enhance the lives of all Americans and others around the world is awesome,” Crawford said.
For Navy vet Alexander Gonzalez, a student living in Tokyo, being able to participate in the march was a defining moment.
“It speaks loudly to the voice of democracy,” he said. “Knowing that I can exercise my rights in any country that allows democratic participation is amazing. As a vet ... I fought for and defended (it).”
According to the organizers’ website, the Women’s March on Washington marks the 20th anniversary of the 1997 Million Women March and is meant to send a message to “all levels of government, including but not limited to the incoming Presidential administration” that marchers “expect elected leaders to act to protect the rights of women, their families and communities.”
The original March on Washington — during which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech — occurred in 1963. Since then, other marches have been staged for different issues, including the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals.
The march in Tokyo was organized with Democrats Abroad Japan and is part of a series of other events held in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, over the weekend.