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Japan’s consul will visit Viscardi Center

Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki speaks during the award ceremony

Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki speaks during the award ceremony for Dr. Dennis Ritchie, Bell Labs Fellow, who was awarded the 2011 Japan Prize at Bell Labs headquarters in Murray Hill, N.J. (May 19, 2011) Credit: AP

Shigeyuki Hiroki, ambassador and consul general of Japan in New York, will visit The Viscardi Center in Albertson on Friday morning in recognition of the ongoing international relationship between Japan and The Viscardi Center and to discuss the concerns of people with disabilities worldwide.

The Viscardi Center has a long history of working with the people of Japan — dating to the 1950s, when founder Dr. Henry Viscardi visited Japan and spoke about the work he was doing to improve the lives of people with disabilities in the United States.

That visit inspired Hiroyasu Itoh, a young Japanese man with a disability, to visit Viscardi’s Abilities Inc. in Albertson, and return to his country to start Japan Abilities, according to educators at the Viscardi Center.

Itoh has continued to be a close friend of the Viscardi family and the center, and he visited with president and chief executive John D. Kemp in October 2011.

In June 1994, the Viscardi Center hosted Japan’s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko during their visit to the United States. The royal couple toured the Henry Viscardi School and got a look at Abilities Inc.’s vocational rehabilitation, employment and research programs.

Earlier this year, Kemp visited Japan and spoke to the United Nations about the employment and empowerment of the disabled.

“As a global organization, I look forward to meeting Ambassador Hiroki and discussing how we can improve the lives of people with disabilities around the world,” Kemp said.


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