UNFPA: “Delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled.” On July 15, 2015, the International School Network went to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) office in the United Nations University of Tokyo, Japan, to interview the director, Ms. Junko Sazaki.
Ms. Junko Sazaki aspires that Japanese people become more globalized. Japanese women should take challenges, and be more dedicated and aspired. Japan is constantly changing; we can see an apparent difference in women’s rights over the past 30 years. Ms. Sazaki hopes to dedicate her hard work to human development, communication, and support, especially for young people.
Japanese people should also use more of their opportunities in life and plan out their goals. Japanese schools often do not provide guidance to their students. Ms. Sazaki therefore says that it is important for all of us to expose ourselves so we can be surer about our life missions are fulfill our jobs. Her message to students is to read books and biographies, travel to many places (including developing countries), and meet and interact with many people.
Ms. Junko Sazaki started questioning gender issues since she was of a young age. She studied at a graduate school in the United States, majoring in international relations. She studied Spanish, political situations, population, demography, in her school years. Ms. Sazaki met and interacted with students from different parts of the world, and was able to realize the fascinating nature of different styles of thinking. She knew then that she wanted to work in an organization or facility that works towards the betterment of international development.
UNFPA was created in 1969, in response to the rapid population growth of the world. Since the industrial revolution, the population has been growing exponentially alongside better life expectancy rates. Since its creation, UNFPA had been involved in population data funding, overseeing population development censuses and planning, and humanitarian issues. After the Cairo conference in 1994, UNFPA shifted directions towards working for women and couples’ rights.
Ms. Sazaki commented that “those who are not wealthy have a smaller voice in politics.” UNFPA is an organization that aims to be the voice of these people, to increase awareness and make a change. In the long term, the organization has the goal to decrease poverty in the world. Regarding short term goals, the organization is working towards increasing women rights for education (convincing husbands in different cultures to allow their wives and children to go to school), reproduction health, and responsible and educated childbirth and marriage.
Ms. Junko Sazaki stated that it is important for students to raise awareness of women’s rights through social media. “Indifference is the worst attitude”. She mentioned that it is always a good idea to visit developing countries and see with our own eyes how differently the people live. It is important to engage in different cultures by talking to the people in the area, including the immigrants. We must expose ourselves to different opportunities and volunteer to help. Ms. Sazaki says that donating to charity, reading articles, and sharing our thoughts will be the first step towards understanding our world. Being very fond of diversity, she aspires to open her eyes even more towards different cultures of the world.