Embassy to recognize 2009 Woman of Courage Award, Japan recipient

March 5, 2009

The U.S. Embassy will observe International Women's Day this evening by honoring Ms. Nami Takenaka, the Japan nominee for the Secretary of State's Award for International Women of Courage. The 2009 winners will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on March 11.

Instituted in 2007, this is the only Department of State award that pays tribute to emerging women leaders worldwide who courageously champion equal rights in their communities. This year's winner from Asia is Ms. Ambiga Sreenevasen, a Malaysian lawyer who has worked to advance human rights.

While the issues that women deal with are different in Japan, there are many courageous and visionary Japanese women who work selflessly to improve the lives of others. One such person is Ms. Takenaka, a mother of a physically and mentally disabled child, who has, not only worked to improve the life of her daughter, but also touched the lives of thousands of other challenged individuals through her volunteer work and activism in Japan. In 2005, she became a member of the Japanese Cabinet Office's Central Council for the Promotion of Measures for Disabled Persons. More recently, she served as a member of former Prime Minister Fukuda's National Commission on Social Security.

Charge d'Affaires James P. Zumwalt will present Ms. Takenaka a certificate at the reception this evening. The citation reads: "For helping thousands of physically challenged individuals use their talents to live productively, and with dignity and independence."