At a glance: Japan

Former UNICEF Executive Director receives humanitarian award in Japan

UNICEF Image: Bellamy honored in Japan
© UNICEF/2006/Markisz
Former Executive Director Carol Bellamy at her final press conference as head of UNICEF in 2005.

By Michiko Nagashima-Hayashi

TOKYO, Japan, 6 November 2006 – Former UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy has been awarded Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Government of Japan.

The award, one of Japan’s most prestigious, recognizes Ms. Bellamy’s “outstanding leadership as the Executive Director of UNICEF, which contributed to the improved welfare of children around the world, and also to the strengthened partnership between Japan and UNICEF.”

It was presented today by His Majesty the Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Contributions to UNICEF

“I’m honoured to receive such a distinction from the Japanese Government,” said Ms. Bellamy. “We have come a long way in securing children’s rights and in giving them an opportunity to vocalize their needs. However, we must continue to include women and children in any policy we implement. Only then, we can work towards true social change.”

As the head of UNICEF, Ms. Bellamy visited Japan 14 times, consistently reinforcing the organization’s rapport with the country’s government and people.

The annual contribution from the Japanese Government to UNICEF increased five-fold during her tenure, reaching $155 million in 2004. Private-sector contributions through the Japan Committee for UNICEF exceeded $100 million annually. Japan is one of UNICEF's top donor countries.

UNICEF Image: Bellamy honored in Japan
© UNICEF Sri Lanka/2005/Noorani
During her tenure at UNICEF, Executive Director Carol Bellamy – shown here on a visit to Sri Lanka – worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the world’s children.

Prestigious award

Established in 1875, the Order of the Rising Sun is Japan's oldest award and one of its highest honours. It is presented to outstanding individuals working for positive change.

The Order is awarded biannually, and among today’s recipients were former Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Fraser and former Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development  Donald J. Johnston

This is the first time non-Japanese recipients have been presented the Order from the Emperor himself. Among other former UNICEF Executive Directors, the late James Grant received Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure, another highly prestigious award presented by the Government of Japan, in 1991.

After the presentation, Ms. Bellamy was invited to give a special lecture at Sophia University in Tokyo.



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