Materia Medica Malaysiana

August 30, 2003

106219575937133821

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 6:22 am

Daily Yomiuri On-Line: Ex-bureaucrat builds welfare facilities in Malaysia
: Shozo Sugimoto Yomiuri Light and Love Organization

In 1993, a Heath and Welfare Ministry bureaucrat quit his job working on behalf of the disabled and left for Malaysia.
‘I wanted to search for the meaning of welfare service (in Malaysia) where my father died as a soldier,’ said Ken Nakazawa, 62. Every summer, Nakazawa envisions his father’s sorrow as he died shortly after the end of World War II.
‘I thought Malaysia must have a different welfare system from that of Japan, which is heavily dependent on facilities,’ he said, explaining why he left the ministry.
This month, Nakazawa opened a center and a home for the mentally disabled on Penang Island, west of the Malay Peninsula.
He did research for the program at a local university, and has opened a health care center for handicapped children, a job-training facility for adults and a mobile service to lend educational toys to infants.
The facility was built on a 2,000-square-meter plot of land, which was previously a palm forest.
Nakazawa has supporters in Japan, including Miyagi Gov. Shiro Asano, a former colleague.
Nakazawa said he had difficulties when he was raising funds for the facilities, but because of his Christian faith, inherited from his parents, he did not give up.
‘I feel the greatest joy when I see the faces of handicapped children and adults brighten with joy,’ he said.
Malaysia is a multiethnic nation of Malays, Chinese, Indians and others. Nakazawa is sympathetic to the concept of the ‘caring society’ advocated by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
‘This country’s diversity and receptivity is a model for welfare systems in the rest of the world,’ he said.
“The combination of self-help, mutual help and public help is important for welfare systems,” he said. “In Japan, where the welfare system excessively relies on public assistance, welfare activities may be isolated from the public.”

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