Sadako Ogata, a former top United Nations official died at the age of 92. She was the first and only woman to serve UNHRC. She became known for donning a helmet and flak jacket on trips into the field.
Further, Japanese government officials said Ogata died on October 22. But, the announcement was made on Tuesday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Praises Sadako Ogata
“Further, she stood on the front lines of humanitarian issues such as poverty, refugees and conflicts, where she demonstrated outstanding leadership,” chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference on Tuesday.
“Also, her thinking, such as guaranteeing human security and emphasising work in the field, is even now the basis for humanitarian aid efforts both in Japan and overseas,” he added.
“We also would like to express our deepest respect and pray for the repose of her soul.”
A pre-World War Two Prime Minister’s grand-granddaughter, Tsuyoshi Inukai, Ogata received a PhD in Political Science also the University of California, Berkeley, and later served as Japan’s special representative on Afghan reconstruction. She urged Japan to show more leadership on refugee issues in an interview with Reuters in 2015.
“Japan has to set up a situation to welcome people…not to welcome everybody, but those who are in need, in serious need and who are willing to come, or would like to come,” Ogata said.
“Also, I think we should be open to bringing them in.” Japan, where many pride themselves on their country’s cultural and ethnic homogeneity, accepted just 42 refugees last year, from more than 10,000 applicants.
“Moreover, If refugees come in millions, that’s a different story, but the arrival rate is not that huge and (to say) Japan does not have resources, that’s nonsense,” she said in the interview. Filippo Grandi, the current UNCHR, praised Ogata for her work.