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Decoration of Mrs. Akie ABE

08 December 2017

The Ambassador of Belgium to Japan, His Excellency Gunther Sleeuwagen, conferred the high distinction of « Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold II » to Mrs Akie ABE, during a ceremony at the Embassy of Belgium in Tokyo on 7 December 2017.*

Mrs Akie ABE was honoured for her personal efforts to advance women’s empowerment and gender equality and to promote the active role of women in society in Japan and abroad. Belgium and Japan strongly share these values and actively promote them, in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Handing over the decoration, Ambassador Sleeuwagen praised Mrs Abe’s leadership in speaking up publicly to raise awareness of the role of women in society, which is not always easy in a context of complex societal change. In particular, he praised Mrs Abe for inspiring and strongly promoting the World Assembly for Women (WAW!). The Ambassador of Belgium noted that the 4th edition of the WAW! Conference was held in Tokyo last November and had proved that WAW! has become a successful international forum to discuss and promote the role of women. He said that Mrs Abe had helped to initiate a new way of thinking that will lead to implementing needed structural reforms but also to protecting the fundamental rights of women.

Ambassador Sleeuwagen said that Mrs Abe had always shown genuine interest and openness to work together with Belgium on this topic. In May 2016, Mrs Abe met civil society organisations working on gender issues in Belgium. In October 2016, Mrs Abe addressed the Conference on Women entitled “Launching and landing in a fulfilling career. Together”, which was organized on the occasion of the State Visit of the King and the Queen of the Belgians to Japan. The Conference was attended by Her Majesty Queen Mathilde.

The decoration ceremony itself was preceded by a presentation by two students of the Hoyonomori Junior High School in Shinagawa, who presented their view of women in society. The students’ presentation was followed by a panel discussion on the role of women in society, with a particular focus on the business climate and social issues such as child care. Panelists were Ms. Els Verhulst, a Belgian business consultant living in Japan, Ms. Hinae Niori, President of MANMA, Ms. Haruka Mera, Director of Ready for Co. Inc. and Mr Hiroki Komazaki, representative of the non-profit-organisation Florence which is promoting child care.

*The Order of Leopold II is the third oldest national order of the Kingdom of Belgium. It was created in 1900. The rank of “Grand Officer” is the one but highest in the order. Distinctions are conferred by His Majesty the King upon a proposal by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

安倍 昭恵氏へベルギー勲章授与

2017年12月7日在京のベルギー大使館で開催された叙勲式にて、安倍 昭恵氏に駐日ベルギー王国ギュンテル・スレーワーゲン大使閣下より「レオポルド2世勲章グランオフィシエ章(Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold II)」が授与されました。

安倍 昭恵氏は女性のエンパワメントと男女平等の促進、そして国内外における女性の社会参画を個人的に後押しされてきました。ベルギーと日本両国は「持続可能な開発のためのアジェンダ」に沿ってこれらの目標到達のために積極的に活動しています。

スレーワーゲン大使は叙勲に際し、社会における女性の役割を喚起した安倍氏の力強いリーダーシップに敬意を表しました。複雑な変化を遂げる社会において決して容易ではないことです。特に「国際女性会議WAW !」における積極的な取組みを称え、今年11月東京で開催された第4回国際女性会議が女性の役割についての包括的論議を通じ、国際フォーラムとして大成功を収めたことにふれました。さらに安倍氏は、女性の基本的権利の保護のため必要とされる社会的構造改革の実施に繋る新しい考え方を示されたと述べました。


式の前に、社会で活躍する女性達をどのように思うかという発表が品川区豊葉の杜学園中学校の生徒2名によって行われました。またそれに続いて、社会における女性の役割について、ビジネス環境と育児といった社会問題にフォーカスしながらのパネルディスカッションが設けられました。在日ベルギー人でビジネスコンサルタントのエルス・ブルヒュースト氏、株式会社manma 代表・新居 日南恵氏、Readyfor株式会社代表取締役CEO・米良 はるか氏、認定NPO法人フローレンス代表理事で育児問題に取組む駒崎 弘樹氏が参加されました。