Nagase Osamu – Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific

My name is Nagase. I am from Japan. I have been in the council of Inclusion International since 2004.

I am the Asia-Pacific regional representative of Inclusion International. My priority for the work of Inclusion International has been promoting self-advocacy, particularly in the less developed parts of Asia-Pacific.

It is very important for us to hear the voice of persons with intellectual disabilities themselves, self advocates. If Inclusion International is going to be a role model for the rest of the world, within our organisation, we should respect and listen to the voices of persons with intellectual disabilities.

My involvement with disability issues started at the college. I was a member of a voluntary circle called “Wakatake”, a weekly activity to bring disabled children into the neighborhood park to let them play with children in the park. I remember some of parents were members of Inclusion Japan.
I started to work for Inclusion Japan, on an ad hoc basis, in its international activities with the World Congress in the Hague in 1998. In 2003, I was asked by Inclusion Japan to chair its international activities committee as a volunteer and I agreed. Then there was another surprise and now I am on the council of Inclusion International.

I try to promote Inclusion International within Asia and the Pacific region. We are the only region that has not organized a regional structure and it is our challenge to put a regional structure in place.
I work for the University of Tokyo as an associate professor for disability studies, which identifies social and cultural barriers and affirms life of disabled people. I am also an executive director of Japan Society for Disability Studies as well as a director of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Association, which is an alumni association for the returned volunteers of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV/JICA). I served as a Japanese language lecturer at the Jomo Kenyatta College of Agriculture & Technology in Kenya from 1983 to 1986.