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Press release

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake travels to Japan

Thanks Government and Japanese people for their extraordinary support for children

TOKYO, 11 May 2010 – UNICEF’s new Executive Director, Anthony Lake, arrived in Japan today as part of his first mission on behalf of the UN children’s agency.

During his two-day visit he will discuss children’s rights and needs with His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince, His Excellencies Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, as well as senior government officials, parliamentarians and other Japanese dignitaries.

“The Japanese Government and the Japanese people are firm supporters of UNICEF’s mission to help improve the lives of children in need. Japan’s leadership on the Millennium Development Goals has also been, and will continue to be, very significant,” said Lake, UNICEF’s sixth Executive Director.   “Protecting children's rights is a global responsibility that can only be met by strong partnerships like that which exists between UNICEF and Japan.”

Japan is among UNICEF’s top ten government donors, and private donations by Japanese people, made through that country’s National Committee, total more than the organization receives from the citizens of any other country. Executive Director Lake will pay a special visit to Japan’s National Committee.

At a special event at U Thant International Conference Hall, Lake, along with UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Tetsuko Kuroyanagi and Agnes Chan, will meet a range of UNICEF’s partners, supporters and volunteers to thank them for their engagement. A children’s chorus will perform the special UNICEF lullaby written in 2009 by Canadian composer Steve Barakatt.

Executive Director Lake will also meet with Sadako Ogata, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees and a former President of UNICEF’s Executive Board. Ms. Ogata is currently the president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and their discussions will focus on UNICEF-JICA collaboration and joint efforts to promote greater international cooperation around children’s issues.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

For further information please contact:

Naoko Iwasaki, UNICEF PARMO, Tokyo, + 81-3-5467-4431, niwasaki@unicef.org

Christopher de Bono, UNICEF Media, New York, Tel + 1 212 303-7984, cdebono@unicef.org




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