Ayako Fuchigami won one the seat for Sapporo’s Higashi Ward district, in a move hailed as a step forward for trans rights in the island of Hokaydo, one of the most conservative regions of Japan. She said that she feels the weight of the burden of all transgender Japanese and it is very honorable and responsible for her to represent them. The politican is endorsed by the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and has campaigned for diversity and equality for the queer community in the country for years. “We just want to live a normal life. I want to create a society where opinions from diverse people are reflected,” Fuchigami said at a speech prior to her election, as trans rights are still a complicated issue for Japanese population. Citizens are required to undergo sterilization before they could have their gender legally recognized. Earlier this year, a Human Rights Watch report criticised the procedure for legally changing gender as “regressive and harmful.” The 84-page publication, released in March, is based on interviews with 48 transgender people living in Japan, as well as testimonies from lawyers, health providers, and academics from across the country.