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The Prime Minister in Action

Global Appeal 2020

January 27, 2020

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

  • Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address
[Provisional Translation]

On January 27, 2020, the Prime Minister attended Global Appeal 2020 held in Tokyo.

The Prime Minister said in his address,

“Up until now, former Prime Minister Mori has adjusted the length of his speech. I thank you for doing that for me. He is my mentor for speeches and I am sorry for interrupting this occasion in this manner. Distinguished guests coming to Japan from across the world, ladies and gentlemen, for those who have visited Japan, I would like to extend my sincere welcome to all of you today.

This marks the 15th Global Appeal. Chairman Sasakawa, who has led this endeavor, serves as the World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination and the Japanese Government Goodwill Ambassador for the Human Rights of Persons Affected by Leprosy and has worked passionately for many years on the eradication of Hansen’s disease around the world, including the free distribution of Hansen’s disease treatments. His efforts have been highly appraised, and he was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2018. I want to express my deep respect for his long years of work.

Hansen’s disease does not spread easily. Treatment methods have been established and it can be fully cured without causing any sequelae by appropriate medical treatment. Japan has a past in which the nation’s inadequate segregation policy restricted and limited significantly the human rights of the patients and former patients and fostered social prejudices and discrimination against them. Reflecting upon such a history, the Government has offered apologies and assistance to former patients of Hansen’s disease, and implemented measures to recover their honor and help them re-integrate into society. Last year, we also offered apologies and reparations to the families of former Hansen’s disease patients for the pain and hardship that they have been forced to endure for so many years. Going forward, the Government will work as one and exert every effort towards the elimination of discrimination and prejudice, listening to the voices of former Hansen’s disease patients and their families.

This year’s Global Appeal is taking place with the sponsorship of the International Paralympic Committee. We will exert our efforts to make this year one where the power of sports will change our course of action through the hosting of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and we will advance towards a society where the dignity and fundamental freedom of all people are respected.

I have a high hope that the message of this gathering towards an inclusive society will reach the entire world. I would like to conclude my address by expressing my hope that this gathering will be an opportunity for people around the world to develop a correct understanding of Hansen’s disease, and greatly eradicate prejudice and discrimination related to the disease in our thoughts and actions. Thank you.”

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