New award honors women making grassroots social change in Japan
Kyodo -- Jan 08
Japanese women who work for social change out of the public eye often go unrecognized, but a new award aims to change that by honoring unsung heroes who effect grassroots reform in their communities.

While national and international headlines abound about Japan's declining birthrate, aging population and gender equality issues, philanthropist Atsuko Fish has been busy creating the Champion of Change Japan Award.

Sponsored by the Boston-based Fish Family Foundation and Tokyo's Public Resource Foundation, it honors women making efforts independent of government or major nonprofits to improve society by providing basic human necessities, such as food, shelter and emotional support, to those in need.

"In Japan, so many wonderful women have been making contributions (to society), but they are not well known and the work they do is not well valued yet," Fish, 71, said in an interview with Kyodo News. "We want to honor women who are working quietly and diligently at the grassroots level for their community and society."

Fish, who moved from Japan to the United States in the 1970s, received the Champion of Change award from the White House in the category of Asian American and Pacific Islander women in 2013 for her efforts to empower women in the United States and Japan. The Japanese version of the award is her latest endeavor and an expression of thanks for the recognition she received.

News source: Kyodo
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