Sexual health in East Asia: it's a matter of life and death

1 June 2016


As a Japanese citizen, I read with great interest the speech US President Barack Obama gave during his recent historic visit to Hiroshima, and one sentence struck me like no other: “Those who died, they are like us.”

With these few simple words, he quietly called on people around the world to exercise their empathy to bridge the distance, however great, in time and space, to see those 200,000 people killed by the atomic bombs in Japan – indeed all those we see as "others" – as fellow human beings.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, recently adopted by the member states of the United Nations, echoes this challenge by calling on nations to overcome inequalities and exclusions to ensure a life of dignity for all people, leaving no one behind. The United Nations Population Fund, where I serve as the Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, seeks to contribute to this objective by helping countries to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health.

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