Peter Sands, the new executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, arrived in Japan with a hopeful message: “The exciting thing is that we can now talk meaningfully not only about saving lives but about ending the epidemics.”
Mr. Sands and his colleagues from the Global Fund—Christoph Benn, Osamu Kunii, and Makiko Takayama—had a jam-packed two-day schedule that included meetings with the Friends of the Global Fund, Japan’s Advisory Board and Diet Task Force.
A highlight of the visit was a symposium co-organized by JCIE and the International AIDS Society on “Ending AIDS by 2030: Science, Community, and Political Commitment,” where Sands engaged in a lively discussion with Tamaki Tsukuda (Deputy Assistant Minister for International Cooperation and Global Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan; Board Member, Global Fund) about reaching the objective of ending AIDS, during which he stressed, “We need to achieve more with less.”
Mr. Sands and his colleagues also paid courtesy calls on Health Minister Katsunobu Kato and State Min. of Foreign Affairs Kazuyuki Nakane, during which they expressed gratitude to Japan for its extraordinary support since the inception of the Global Fund. Minister Nakane talked about the UN High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis and expressed his strong expectation that the meeting will be an important cornerstone for the success of the Global Fund’s 6th replenishment meeting. He also explained that Japan would host the G20 Summit as well as TICAD7 next year, so that the government hoped to work closely with the Global Fund and other related organizations to promote global health agendas through these events.
Mr. Sands also participated in a roundtable with CSO leaders (co-organized by the Africa Japan Forum and FGFJ), spoke at the Global Fund Career Seminar at Sophia University, and spoke with members of the media.
Finally, to commemorate both Mr. Sands’ visit and World Malaria Day (April 25), JCIE and the British Embassy in Tokyo co-hosted a reception where we welcomed ambassadors to Japan from African countries, the former Minister of Health Yasuhisa Shiozaki (Chairman of the UK-Japan 21st Century Group), and Representative Ichiro Aisawa (Co-chair of the Friends of the Global Fund, Japan), among others. The group was treated to a production of a traditional Japanese kyogen performance that depicted a battle between a master and an enchanted mosquito disguised as a sumo wrestler.