A ten-member delegation headed by H.E. Abdulla Al Humaidan, Secretary-General of Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination (ZHO) recently visited Japan to receive insights on how to create a more inclusive society for people faced with challenges. The eight-day visit, which took place between June 15 – 22, 2019, was organized by the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE), and provided opportunities for the ZHO delegation to meet key Japanese researchers, service providers, experts and policy makers who promote and are tasked with devising and implementing programs for an inclusive society in Japan.
The delegation held meetings, seminars and workshops with a number of organisations including: the Japan Federation of the Blind, the National Committee of Welfare for the Blind, the Tokyo Helen Keller Association, the Foundation for Promoting Personal Mobility and Ecological Transportation, the National Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities, the National Vocational Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities, the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo, as well as holding meetings at the Japan government's Cabinet Office and the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The delegation first received a presentation on the latest Basic Act for Persons with Disabilities at the Cabinet Office, which laid out the law's aim to create a symbiotic society through the mutual respect of diverse individuals that equally share basic human rights despite a persons' disabilities. A lecture at the University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST) provided delegates with insights into the challenges faced by deaf and blind people, along with the support and solutions offered in Japan that allow people of determination to further themselves in advanced education.
As part of the mission, delegates were also able to witness how braille blocks for guiding the visually impaired, were installed in the surrounding areas of Tokyo Station. Mr Hisham Al Wahedi, Braille checker at ZHO said: "I felt I could go anywhere by myself in Japan with the facilities that are provided to support the visually impaired."
The delegation also met with executives of Start Line Inc., a Japanese consulting firm that is at the cutting edge of providing new business support models that are inclusive and progressive in the ability for firms to employ people of determination. One such business model they promote is 'IBUKI', a fully functional business model, centred on the indoor production of vegetables and herbs, that not only allows for the gainful employment of people of determination but allows them to professionally thrive. Inclusive within the IBUKI business model is ongoing support and training by the company for both management and the employees, as well as hiring and marketing support.
H.E. Abdulla Al Humaidan, Secretary-General of Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination commented; "The whole mission was an invaluable experience to see how Japan promotes an inclusive society. The programme coordinated for us by JICE introduced us to excellent case studies and gave us many insights that will aid us in creating an increasingly inclusive society in the UAE. The UAE might have an equal or even better level of facilities; however, Japan has developed various support systems to sustain inclusiveness in education, training and employment for people of determination, which was impressive."
H.E. Al Humaidan continued; "We would like to further develop the partnership with Japan's counterparts at various levels, especially as Japan is going through the issues of a rapidly ageing society. Creating a society where the people of determination, the elderly and others enjoy the quality of life is important, and the UAE and Japan share the same values regarding this."
Shigeto Aoki, General Manager of JICE Abu Dhabi Office, said: "We at JICE are always ready to support the growth of human resources and talents by implementing training and education for international visitors focused on sustainable development. We expect the partnership between Japan and the UAE in these areas to mutually grow and broaden based on our shared values."
About the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE)
Since 1977, the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE) has participated in the Japan government's Official Development Assistance (ODA) programmes abroad.
In the current international environment of advanced globalization, JICE has defined its objective of contributing to the development of the international community through various activities and support to enhance the mutual relations between Japan and other countries.
JICE continues to fulfil its duties within the international community as a leading Japanese agency focused on the dynamic development of Japan in the field of education for sustainable development (ESD).
On May 1, 2013, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), and the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the installation of the JICE Abu Dhabi Office.
Under the agreement, the JICE Abu Dhabi Office is expected to function as a center to contribute to the educational development of Abu Dhabi through such activities as (1) providing information on universities in Japan, (2) provide Public Relations activities for Japanese universities, such as holding Japan Study Fairs, (3) provide advice and consultation on studies, application to universities, and daily life in Japan, (4) coordination of educational missions between the two regions.