Japan – Day 8

 Joyce speaking at US Embassy  Tokyo with a sign language interpreter.Thursday, I had the great honor of speaking at the American Center – Japan. It is always so exciting to speak at the American Center when I speak in another country. I spoke last year at the AmericanJoyce at Embassy Center in Jakarta.  We met first with Mayumison and Richard.  Then, I was interviewed by the reporter from the Embassy Tokyo Public Affairs for American View magazine. This was wonderful, because the article about employing people with disabilities in Japan will be distributed widely and hopefully will have a great impact. My goal is to see barriers come down to create employment for people with disabilities.

Then, I spoke to a large audience about employing people with disabilities. The program began with Richard Roberts, Public Affairs Officer for the Consulate in Okinawa, introducing me.  Richard is a shining star for the U.S. State Department. He is truly committed to advancing employment for people with disabilities throughout Asia.  I first met Richard in South Korea. His dedication to the employment of people with disabilities has only increased.  I am proud to know him. That evening, I also had the pleasure of meeting Mike Flynn, Public Affairs Officer for the Embassy in Tokyo; he too, is a wonderful person.

Joyce speaking at US Embassy Tokyo  Joyce Bender and a student

At the American Center, I spoke about the “Economic Benefits of Hiring People with Disabilties.”  The audience was comprised of businesses, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, and people with disabilities.   I was excited to see people who are deaf in the audience, and they communicated using Japanese sign language.

There were many questions from the audience about what ideas I had to realize the benefit of seeing companies hire people with disabilities. I talked about education and ending stigma.  I explained how companies need to see employment as a business decision and not charity.

At the end of the evening, we went out to dinner with Mike Flynn and Richard Roberts; our agenda to advance disability employment and inclusion continued!

What a great night!

Joyce and Mary posing at US Embassy in Tokyo


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