Diagnosed as hemophilia in six month right after the birth, Ryuhei Kawada was also infected with HIV when he was very young through the virus-contaminated blood products which were imported from USA for the purpose of medical treatment for hemophiliac patients in Japan.
In 1986, he was notified from his mother of his infection with HIV at his age of ten.
In 1993, he joined himself as one of the anonymous plaintiffs to “Tokyo HIV Litigation,” a major and historic lawsuit on medical accidents in Japan.
It was against the Japanese government and the five pharmaceutical companies in the country that had purposefully kept supplying fatal unsterilized (unheated) blood products to the medical market and to hemophiliac patients.
During the lawsuit, he bravely revealed his true identity like his name and face to the public and consequently became an icon for the lawsuit.
In 1996, the lawsuit was settled in favor of the plaintiffs by both sides accepting the mediation initiative the Supreme Court offered.
Despite the settlement above, the plaintiffs were unsatisfied with this obscure conclusion and have been constantly demanding government officials to reveal the true cause of this incident and to investigate what and who were really responsible.
In 1998, he temporarily withdrew Tokyo Keizai University where he attended at the time and went to Cologne in Germany for further study.
In the year 2000, he came back home to support his own mother, Etsuko Kawada, who decided to run for the members of the House of Representatives at Tokyo 21st constituency.
When his mother was successfully elected, he became a secretary for her and started his political career.
His energetic activities since then have been continuously aiming at bringing Japanese society enormous good changes.
In 2003, He started lecturing “human life” occasionally at Matsumoto University in Nagano prefecture.
In 2007, he was chosen as one of the “Young Global Leaders” by World Economic Forum, one of the most prestigious congregations in the world which was consisted of many leaders from various fields like banking, computer, automobile industry and so on.
On July 2007, he ran the House of Councilors (Upper House) as a candidate at Tokyo constituency and won the run with surprisingly enormous 683,629 votes.
He has been a member of the Committee on Environment in the Upper House since November, 2007 and is expected to be a promising young leader of Japan.
I am Ryuhei Kawada, a member of the House of Councilors of Japanese Parliament.
I was born with an inborn blood disease which is called hemophilia.
It means that I am destined throughout my life to take medicines constantly that are produced from human blood.
When I was 10 years old, my mother told me that I got infected with HIV because the medicine I kept taking was contaminated with the virus. Ever since, my life has been with the fear of AIDS , also with anger and frustration because the disease has kept killing many of my dear friends one after another.
All of them had taken medicines produced from the contaminated blood.
Together with the patients who shared the same problem and anger, we decided to take the case to court.
We wanted to make things clear that the reason why we had to be infected with HIV and who was responsible for it.
Although most people knowingly told us “there will be little chance of winning,” we finally sued the government and a major Japanese pharmaceutical company.
I had a strong determination that we had to win the lawsuit at all costs. I thought the battle had to be fought with the pride all we had and finally we wan.
A few years after from that mediation, I decided to run the Upper House election and I was elected. I strongly realized at that moment that the majority of the voters supported the cause on which I stood.
Fight against AIDS……the words have very special and critical meaning especially for the people living in developing countries.
Many AIDS patients in those regions who need a medical help are left untreated.
Don't we have any solution? Each of us in this room from private or public sectors is a part of the solution.
In addition to the above, we must realize that there are things to be fixed before we introduce changes to the medication.
They are the matters of clean water, nutrition, sanitation……in fact, they are the issues all with poverty.
Unless we change the situation prevailing over the most part of the present world, we will not take things in hand which we are looking for. What we need now is an overall strategy for conquering this problem…poverty.
We also need to pick up another serious problem.
It is “discrimination.”
Discrimination is the most serious issue not only in developing countries but in developed countries. I still see it in my country. Let us face the fact that the enemy lies in each of our home.
Education against it must be essential and I will determine to work on this ardently.
What we need now will be a kind of bird view point. Medication is one of the most important parts of our life but we must put something more on it to ensure its effect.
What is important to reach our goal is, I believe, to share sympathy with each other. Everything will start from sharing sympathy. People can understand each other for the first time by understanding each other through sympathy.
The election I took part in was a kind of testimony for the voters whether they could share sympathy with each other and they proved they had done it.
I would like to see “sympathy” among influential persons in every country and it would prevail all over the world.
Thank you very much