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Illust by Junko Suzuki
Prop Station, a Nonprofit Social Welfare
Organization Supporting the Challenged.

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The Challenged are Making Their Dreams Reality with ICT–A Report from Kyoto Prefecture


Prop Station works on promoting the employment of the challenged in collaboration with many local municipalities, and one of which is Kyoto Prefecture.

It has been over a year since PC room was opened in the west annex of Kyoto Prefectural Office to start 'Kyoto Prefecture IT skill up training' where the challenged staffs teach as instructors after we worked on this project in collaboration with the officers of Kyoto Prefecture. The first thing that happened is that Yamada Kyoto Governor consulted with us that he would like to promote the employment of the challenged in Kyoto in three years ago.

The Main Instructor is Mr. Toshimi Okamoto who operates PC with his feet, and the substitute instructor is Mr. Hiroyuki Kawamoto (Wabisuke), who started his own business on his bed of a healthcare center in Kyoto Prefecture.

Mr. Ueda is a 19-year-old student of this seminar who has progressive muscular dystrophy. He is eagerly attending classes of homepage making in order to work with PC. Mr. Ueda’s effort has been featured on Kyoto Shimbun.

The instructors of this seminar, Mr. Okamoto and Mr. Kawamoto, are the graduates of the seminar at Prop Station. Also, the graduates from 'Kyoto Prefecture IT skill up training' have become volunteer instructors or obtained their jobs through the centers for employment assistance. The challenged who have passion to work are now moving forward to achieve their goals throughout Japan. Thank you for your continued encouragement.


The following is the article in Japanese about Mr. Ueda’s Story (Kyoto Symbun)

The following is the web site of WAKE-DO, a company that Mr. Hiroyuki Kawamoto (Wabisuke) started on his bed of a healthcare center. WAKE-DO mainly operates homepage making and sells their original T-shirts with illustrations by Ms. Kaoru Hayashi.

Nami-Ne Took Up an Appointment as a Commissioner of 'Social Security National Council'


I, Nami-ne have newly become a member of Social Security National Council on at Prime Minister Fukuda’s request on January 25th, 2008.

As you may already know in the press, Prime Minister Fukuda has been indicating a willingness to set up 'Social Security National Council' where members from various backgrounds discuss the ideal situation of social security, the role of government administration and the structure of the public's burden in order for the public to be able to grasp the practical image of social security.

"In accordance with the acceleration of demographic aging, we are facing sustainability issues of our social security system underpinning the people' s living such as health care, pension, nursing care, and welfare. We need to reflect on whether the benefits and services of our social security have been provided from the beneficiaries’ standpoints. Now it is the time to pull together the social security system which is sustainable into the future for the safe livelihood of the people by changing our mind-set into the standpoint of the public based on the idea of interdependence." stated Prime Minister Fukuda in his administrative policy speech in the 169th Diet on January 18th. Thus, he positions 'the reestablishment of social security system' as one of key challenges in our government.

Now that we are facing the society with a falling birthrate, I believe that the people themselves need to be proactive in examining the social security system from the beneficiary' s perspective. We need to review the existence of social security including pension, nursing care, healthcare, and welfare, and consider what can be done to build the sustainable system into the future.

I, Nami-ne do not think it is an exaggeration to say that the existence of social security is the expression of the spirit of a country. Now, it is very much a situation in which we can not survive without shifting over the spirit. The slogan of Prop Station, 'Making the Challenged Taxpayers in Japan', shows the true mettle from the public standpoint.

I will proactively speak out at the council with the spirit. The initial meeting has been held at the office of Prime Minister on January 29th.



The members of 'Social Security National Council' (the order of the Japanese syllabary)

Wataru Omori (Chairperson of NPO Community-Care Policy Network, Professor Emeritus at University of Tokyo)

Hiroshi Okuda (Senior Advisor to the Board of TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION)

Yoshihiko Oda (Chairperson of Junior Chamber International Japan)

Yoshihito Karasawa (Chairperson of Japan Medical Association)

Toshiko Kanda (Director Gineral of Shodanren Consumers Japan)

Yoshikazu Kenjo (Professor at Faculty of Business and Commerce, Keio University)

Seijuro Shiokawa (President of Toyo University)

Atsushi Seike (Professor at Faculty of Business and Commerce, Keio University)

Tsuyoshi Takagi (Chairperson of Japanese Trade Union Confederation)

Nami Takenaka (Chairperson of Prop Station)

Kiyoshi Nakata (Vice Chairman of Japanese Council of Senior Citizens Welfare Service)

Keiko Higuchi (Chairperson of Women’s Association for the Better Aging Society)

Masago Minami (Senior Editor of Yomiuri Shimbun Tokyo Head Office)

Keiji Yamada (Governor of Kyoto Prefecture)

Hiroshi Yoshikawa (Professor at Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo)

A Happy New Year! -Joyful News-


2008 has started. Are you haveing an enjoyable New Year?

It was less than excellent last year for the most popular word to represent the year in Japan was 'fake', but I would tell you 'Happy News' befitting a new year today.

It is the story of Haruka who has downs syndrome and is growing vigorously. Haruka is the beloved daughter of Nami's best friend Mitchan, Mitsuyo Ohira the Lawyer.

Mitchan had large hemorrhages and risked her life to have her baby girl, Haruka on September 3rd of 2006. She calls her 'my goddess' and bringing her up hand in hand with her husband. I have recently talked with Mitchan on the phone, and she sounded so cheerful and energetic.

Haruka, getting over from a major surgery of her heart, has learned to 'Standing' when she became a year old and is walking in the nature as a matter of routine. Mitchan said it could be difficult sometimes for babies with downs syndrome to express their needs. Now the time to show Mitchan's child-raising skills!

"The worst thing you can do is just leaving the baby just because she is meek, which ends up making her even less expressive." said Mitchan. Now she puts off her work as a lawyer so that she can turn herself inside out to establish the foundation of Haruka’s life.

"Now since I can go out with Haruka, let me know when Nami have a symposium. I am ready to join in you with my baby strapped to myck!" said Mitchan bravely. Motivated by her powerful voice, Nami-ne has decided to hold a symposium, inviting Mitchan with Haruka.

Everybody, don't miss it!


Meet Ms. Lena Maria in Osaka

lena and nami

On Oct. 20, 2007, Nami-ne had a lunch meeting with Ms. Lena Maria at Hotel NewOtani in Osaka. She held several concerts in Kansai area during her visit in Japan this time. Lena, a female singer with a beautiful voice from Sweden, had performed greatly in our Challenged Japan Forum International Conference in Tokyo, 2006, on her last visit.

It was very kind of Lena to welcome us at the hotel lobby instead, even though we were supposed to visiting to her room. Meeting with Lena after one year, we had a great time talking over coffee and sandwiches. Nami-ne felt 'knocked-out' by Ms. Lena's charm all the time during the meeting.

Lena related that Japan is her favorite. She heartily told Nami-ne that she would love to hold concerts next year too, and hope to record her music album with several Japanese songs in thefuture. Nami-ne expressed her eagerness to hold a concert together and to support Lena achieve her plan of making a CD album.

We would make much of the connection with Lena and be looking forward to seeing her again.

If you want to know more about Ms Lena Maria, Please visit her website ' Lena Maria'.

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