UNICEF Director Pledges to Help Japan


NEW YORK — UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake issued a statement on Monday conveying the organization’s deep concern and support for the Japanese people in the aftermath of the disaster they have experienced in recent days.

“As the world unites in support for the people of Japan, we at UNICEF express our heartfelt sympathy for the tragic loss of life following the massive earthquake and tsunami,” said Lake. “This double catastrophe has left the country and its friends stunned and bereaved, and new threats caused by the quake and its aftermath continue to be of utmost concern to us all.

“As in all emergencies of such devastating magnitude, children are the most vulnerable. Working in close cooperation with the Japan Committee for UNICEF, we have offered our support to protect the children affected by this catastrophe and to provide critical services in the days ahead.”

Lake visited Japan last May, less than two weeks after becoming UNICEF’s executive director, to take part in a child-rights advocacy event at United Nations University in Tokyo. There he met with Crown Prince Naruhito, senior government officials, representatives of the Parliamentary League for UNICEF and the Japan Committee for UNICEF, Japanese goodwill ambassadors and children.

In his remarks in Tokyo, Lake thanked the government and people of Japan for their extraordinary support of programs for children. Japan has long been one of the leading sources of both government and private-sector support for UNICEF.

“The Japanese government and the Japanese people are firm supporters of UNICEF’s mission to help improve the lives of children in need,” Lake said at the time. “Japan’s leadership on the Millennium Development Goals has also been, and will continue to be, very significant.”

In his statement Monday, Lake reaffirmed the organization’s gratitude for the assistance that Japan has provided for vulnerable children and families, adding that UNICEF is prepared to do whatever it can to help those who are now at risk in Japan itself.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan, one of the world’s most generous nations,” he said. “We stand ready to assist them as they have helped so many others, in these, their days of greatest need.”

The Japan Committee for UNICEF was founded in 1955 and has grown to become a leading force for child rights in Japan and around the world. UNICEF also maintains a headquarters office in Tokyo to coordinate advocacy and communication work with policy-makers in the government and civil society.

To make a donation, visit www.unicef.org.



  1. Kaori Izumi on

    Dear Mr. Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director,

    Thank you very much for your statement released on the 14 of March to help our people who are affected by the disaster.

    My name is Kaori Izumi, one of the many Japanese mothers who are deeply concerned over the fate of all the children in Fukushima, who are currently exposed to high level of radiation as a consequence of the decision made by the Japanese Ministry of Education and Science. A standard for upper limit level of radiation in Japan is set for 1mSV/year. On the 19 April the Ministry increased it to 20mSV/year for school children in Fukushima – twenty times higher than this standard. This 20mSV/year upper limit is equivalent to what is allowed for workers at nuclear power plants in Germany. As you may be aware children are far more vulnerable to radiation than us adults, thus being exposed to higher risk of developing canser. Parents in Fukushima and their support organisations are currently running their second emergency petition both in Japanese and English to roll back this 20mSV upper limit for children in Fukushima.


    A top nuclear adviser has resigned over Japan’s failure to follow the law and instead allow children to be subjected to

    inhumanely high levels of radiation as his recommendations and the laws are not being followed.

    Mothers from Fukushima are travelling to meet the Minister of Education and Science, Mr. Yoshiaki Takagi on the 23 May, but Mr. Takagi refused to meet the mothers. While adults are arguing on this matter, children in Fukushima are exposed to high level of radiation every second.

    I herewith urgently request you to contact our Prime Minister Naoto Kan and the Minister Takagi and advise them to immediately roll back the 20mSV upper radiation limit for children in Fukushima. UNICEF has always played a role as a guardian for the health and well-being of all the children in the world. We mothers will appreciate for your urgent intervention on this matter as the head of UNICEF. Your official statement to express your concern over the 20mSV upper limit for Fukushima children will be highly appreciated.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Kaori Izumi

    Sapporo, Japan

  2. Yumiko HIROSE on

    I sincerely request you for an urgent action to protect children in Fukushima from high level radiation.

  3. Kurumizawa Shin on

    I sincerely request you for an urgent action to protect children in Fukushima from high level radiation.

  4. hiromi nagai on

    I sincerely request you for an urgent action to protect children in Fukushima from high level radiation.

  5. miwako muramoto on

    I sincerely request you for an urgent action to protect children in Fukushima from high level radiation.

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