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It was a perfect end to a J1 League qualifying final show down! With no question on who the winner was. Tokushima Vortis made history by becoming the first team ever to ascend to J1 (the top J. League) out from Shikoku, after beating Kyoto Sanga F.C. 2 – 0.
It was a long 2013 J2 year for Vortis, ranking fourth in J2 when they played against JEF UNITED CHIBA in the semi-finals. They tied. But since the opposing team was ranked 5th, Vortis automatically got to move onto the play-offs against Kyoto Sanga F.C., who was one place ahead of Vortis in J2 League.
Vortis did not disappoint. It did even better than anyone had expected. First goal delivered by Mitsuru Chiyotanda after 39 minutes of the first half.
The crowds roared with the lead-in goal as Kyoto Sanga F.C. kept a strong offense pushing forward trying to get itself back in the game, but Tokushima did not weaken its defense. And it wasn’t long before Tokushima doubled its lead with powerful shot from Vortis. This time, Tomohiro Tsuda helped seal the victory two minutes before the first half ended.
The result knocked the Kyoto members out of J1 League and the dream of entering J1 League for Vortis was finally granted as the second half of the game ended without any goals from both sides.
History was made on Sunday, not just for Shikoku successfully sending its first team to J1 League, but it was also the last J. League game played at the National Stadium before it will be rebuilt for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Tokushima Vortis is a soccer club in Japan’s professional league, J. League. The club, which emerged from a soccer club at Otsuka, was established in 2004 in cooperation with Tokushima city and prefectural authorities, aiming to bring new vibrancy to the region. It has been playing in the J2 league since 2005.
The club is actively involved in community contribution activities in cooperation with the Prefectural Board of Education, including helping to create the J. League’s first supplementary reader for a physical fitness textbook and a food education program.
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Otsuka Pakistan Ltd. held a ceremony in Islamabad on December 3rd to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Otsuka Welfare Clinic (OWC), which was founded in Peshawar, Pakistan in order to provide health care to Afghan refugees. About 100 guests, including the Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, Mr. Hiroshi Inomata, attended the ceremony.
When the conflict in Afghanistan sent over a million refugees over the Pakistan border a decade earlier, many companies donated money for their care in Peshawar. But more often than not, those aids did not reach the hands of the needy. Chairman Akihiko Otsuka asked himself what can be done to directly assist the refugees, who were mainly women and children. Mr. Otsuka decided to build a clinic in Peshawar offering free medical care for those who left everything behind when they fled Afghanistan.
Ms. Naveeda Khanum one of the attendees at the 10th Anniversary Celebration event has been with OWC for ten years as a pharmacist. She said, “Otsuka Welfare Clinic is providing the refugees the best services available as they are not getting these types of services anywhere else in Peshawar, in Pakistan.”
On the first day Otsuka Welfare Clinic opened, only 7 patients visited the clinic. Through repeated visits by clinical staff to each refugee camp to build trust with the locals and publicize the clinic’s activities, the clinic has grown to the point where it is now seeing about 150 patients every day. In the 10 years since the clinic opened, it has treated more than 700,000 people in all.
Because many of the patients are female, there are female doctors in residence at the clinic as well. When treating Afghan refugees, language is critical for mutual understanding, and the clinic needs to have doctors than can speak not only Urdu, the language spoken in Pakistan, but also Pashto and Dari, the languages spoken in Afghanistan . The female physicians that work at the clinic can speak all of these languages. Today there are still 1~1.2 million refugees living in Pakistan. The refugees still do not have access to appropriate medical care.
When the clinic was opened, it was initially expected that it cease operations after about 5 years. However, because of the conditions in the area, the clinic has continued its activities for 10 years. Given that corporate support for refugees normally ends after a short time, Otsuka Welfare Clinic which has continued to directly support refugees for a long period of time providing not only treatment, but also drugs, free of charge has a good reputation among the local community.
Under Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s corporate motto of “Otsuka – people creating new products for better health worldwide”, Otsuka will continue to develop businesses that make it its mission to support the health of people everywhere in the world, and will continue pursuing the vision of improving health and contributing to local societies as a health care company.
His Excellency Mr. Hiroshi Inomata in his speech as Chief Guest applauded all those who are working at Otsuka Welfare Clinic as well as those who are supporting their cause and praised them highly. He also appreciated the role of Otsuka Pakistan in continuous running of this clinic for patients coming from Afghan refugees and local residents.
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On the day of the discussion, December 3, 2013, there were helicopters flying in the blue skies over the Hikarie building in front of Shibuya Station. When I arrived at DeNA headquarters, the site of the discussion, I was greeted by police dogs, and was ushered into the waiting room after passing through a rigorous security check. The other panelists were industrialists and entrepreneurs, including Tomoko Namba, the founder of DeNA, the company hosting the discussion, and Calbee CEO Akira Takahashi. My role at the discussion was not to present myself as a female entrepreneur, but to show how an ordinary female employee can transform her career inside a large organization. I particularly wanted to show how the company had given someone like me, by no means a stereotypically driven career woman, such an opportunity, and also that diversity is about understanding and accepting the uniqueness of all individuals in an organization – in other words, that embracing diversity does not mean providing women with preferential treatment.
I only learned about one week in advance of my invitation to attend a panel discussion on “Women and the Economy” (the third arrow of “Abenomics”) that was to be held during US Vice-President Joseph Biden’s visit to Japan. It was a great honor for Otsuka Pharmaceutical to be selected as one of only six Japanese companies invited to send a representative to the panel discussion and, although I was pleased to have Otsuka’s long-standing support of diversity recognized, the news that I was being asked to personally attend came as a bit of a shock.
I was starting to feel as if I were in over my head, and was getting cold feet, but there was nowhere to go, and the time for the panel discussion had arrived. Surrounded by tough-looking security police, Vice-President Biden, US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, and Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell arrived. I had no time to collect myself before the discussion started. Ambassador-at-Large Russell introduced the participants one at a time, and each shared various anecdotes or talked about their entrepreneurial experiences. I was the fifth person introduced, and when I finished as scheduled, I took a Pocari drink from my bag and took a sip, trying to look natural. I was conscious of the media, and had the presence of mind to hold the drink with the label showing.
At a discussion that is only an hour long, it is hard to make an impression, but I had a secret plan. What I can be seen holding in my hand in the two pictures of me with Ambassador Kennedy is a DVD copy of the 1988 movie “Working Girl,” a romantic comedy that tells the story of a working-class woman with no connections or elite educational background who rises from secretary to company executive solely on the strength of her courage and ideas. It is a very American movie, and one of my favorites. Although my personality is quite unlike that of the protagonist, I, like her, had no connections or elite academic background, but I persevered and, in the end, that is what allowed me to succeed.
After the discussion was over, Ambassador Kennedy came directly over to me and said, “The person who wrote that movie is a good friend of mine. Can I take a picture? It would make him happy.” Then she pulled out her own cell phone and held it out to take a picture of the two of us. As a present, I gave her an InnerSignal sample, which she showed great interest in, and slipped into her bag.
I am not used to acting as some sort of bridge between Japan and America, or to being presented as a trailblazer for the promotion of women in the workplace, but I was happy to have been able to use this opportunity to provide an example of Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s commitment to diversity. More than anything, I wanted to convey the message that it is important to persevere.