Global Health Summit 2008

Main Contents
Follow-Up Meeting in Tokyo

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
  • Ministry of Finance


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  • The Nihon Keizai Shimbun

    March 11th 2008,
    Morning Edition, page 29
    Keizai Kyoshitsu

    Japan should demonstrate leadership in global health


  • The Japan Times

    February 24th 2008, page 2

    World Bank asks Japan to double medical ODA

  • The Japan Times

    February 18th 2008, page 2

    Experts push global health initiatives for G8 summit
    >>Online version

  • The Asahi Shimbun

    February 11th 2008, Morning Edition, page 4
    Opinion column "Today’s Topic"

    Global Health Summit to convene on February 16th (Sat)


The Asahi Shimbun
February 11th 2008, Morning Edition, page 4
Opinion column "Today's Topic"



Global Health Summit to convene on February 16th (Sat)

Q: What is the Global Health Summit (GHS) which will be held for the first time in Tokyo? What is its significance?

A:Global health refers to the international efforts to address health and medical challenges in the developing world. It is an issue of top priority for the Group of Eight (G8) Summit, which will also convene in Tokyo this summer. The GHS is one of the major projects that will lay the groundwork for the discussion of global health at the G8 Summit.

The fight against infectious diseases was taken up as a worldwide policy challenge at the previous G8 Summit hosted by Japan in 2000. In the same year, the United Nations adopted the Millennium Development Goals, which range from drastically reducing poverty to halting the spread of infectious diseases. 2015 is the target year by which those goals are to be achieved, and this year marks the halfway point.

Private sector involvement provides momentum

Q:How is the GHS organized?

A:It is co-organized by the World Bank and Health Policy Institute Japan (Chairman of the Board: Kiyoshi Kurokawa). The World Bank mainly funds projects in the area of global health, while Health Policy Institute Japan is a think-tank focusing on health-related issues based in Japan, the host country of the upcoming G8 Summit. Starting this year, the GHS is planned to convene every year in the host country of the G8 Summit. As it is not an official conference among the governments, the GHS will be most productive through the active involvement of the private sector and international organizations.

An example of a private sector initiative in this area is that begun by Mr. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft. At the 2000 G8 Okinawa Summit, member countries recommended the establishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Mr. Gates created momentum for the international commitment to the Fund by contributing funds totaling $500 million (Y53.5 billion) to the Fund.

Q: What is the goal of the GHS?

A:About 100 of the most influential health leaders from Japan and abroad will gather at the GHS. The list of the speakers includes Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Global Health Program in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as Ms. Joy Phumaphi, vice president of the World Bank and former Minister of Health for Botswana.

The GHS will discuss the roles of governments, international organizations, private companies, and citizens in the area of global health as well as the leadership role that Japan should take in view of the upcoming G8 Summit. It will also clarify the global health challenges and encourage the efforts of countries tackling them. The GHS is expected to increase Japan’s presence in the international community and to lay the foundation for the discussion at the G8 Toyako Summit.

The contribution made by Mr. Bill Gates attracted keen international attention to the fight against infectious diseases. Japan is in need of this kind of private sector involvement in taking on global health challenges. This is not unrelated to the fact that more than half the participants of this year’s GHS will be people from private companies.

Q:What are Japan’s achievements made in the area of global health?

A:Since the end of the Second World War, Japan – Okinawa in particular – has been successful in fighting infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria. The achievements of Japanese researchers such as Hideyo Noguchi – well-known for his research on yellow fever – have been highly evaluated worldwide.

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who will deliver the keynote speech at the GHS, established the Hideyo Noguchi Prize for Africa. This prize is intended to encourage medical researches and medical services for the people of Africa. This year Japan, along with the World Bank and various UN organizations, is hosting the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).

Q:What is the role of the private sector in global health?

A:At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting (Davos Forum) in January, Mr. Bill Gates singled out Sumitomo Chemical, praising its contribution to global health. With the aim of preventing the spread of malaria, Sumitomo Chemical developed mosquito nets with long-lasting insect repellant effects, reducing the chance of mosquito bites. The company also contributed to the local economy by building its factories in Africa. Japanese companies should be able to make significant contributions to global health, at the same time greatly improving their corporate images.

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