Yōhei Sasakawa is chairman of The Nippon Foundation, the World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, and Japan’s Ambassador for the Human Rights of People Affected by leprosy. As chairman of The Nippon Foundation, Japan’s largest charitable foundation, he is seen as a pioneer in guiding public-interest activities by the private in modern Japan. Sasakawa received his degree from Meiji University’s School of Political Science and Economics. Sasakawa’s father was a businessman, politician, and philanthropist Ryōichi Sasakawa.
After serving as chairman of the Japan Motorboat Racing Association, and as a director of the Japan Foundation for Shipbuilding Advancement (now the Ocean Policy Research Foundation), Yohei Sasakawa was named president of the Nippon Foundation in 1989. In July 2005, he was appointed chairman, following the retirement of Ayako Sono, the previous chair.
Known as a social entrepreneur with insight into a wide range of issues, Sasakawa is internationally recognized for his proactive planning and leadership on a global scale. Key projects include:
- Medical examinations for 200,000 children victimized by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident;
- Establishment of a system through which users would pay for the support of safe navigation through the Strait of Malacca;
- Development of the next generation of leaders through a global scholarship network of 69 universities;
- Establishment of a program to bring 2,000 Chinese doctors to Japan for training, and;
- Development of Arctic Sea lanes that are usable year-round.
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