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【TGU Positive/Empirical Analyses of Political Economy】Special Lecture: “Living with cancer and thinking about work-life balance”

On June 13 2017, at Waseda University, Mr. Shinsuke Amano, Director of Japan Federation of Cancer Patient Groups and Group Nexus Japan, spoke about what it is like living with cancer This lecture was organized by the TGU Center for Positive/Empirical Analyses of Political Economy.

Mr. Amano was diagnosed with malignant lymphoma in his twenties, which kept recurring, and such personal experience has driven him to promote cancer prevention in Japan. From 2009 to 2013, Mr. Amano was appointed Vice Chairman of the Cancer Control Promotion Council within the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. He has also served as a member on various committees, including the review meeting which examines how cancer screening should be done, as well as the investigative commission appointing hub hospitals for treating pediatric cancer.

According to Mr. Amano, patients who are diagnosed or recurred with cancer experience four kinds of pain known as total pain: physical pain (physical pain and hindrance of physical activities in daily life), psychological pain (anxiety, frustration, and depression), social pain (issues regarding income, work, and family), and spiritual pain (pondering the meaning of life, battling the fear of death, and having remorse). In the lecture, Mr. Amano pointed out that coming up with comprehensive programs supporting total pain would become essential.

In society today, one in every three people who is in the middle of their career suffers from cancer. What then, would be necessary to build a society where everyone can live at ease, even when diagnosed with cancer? Under Article 2 of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, reasonable accommodation refers to “necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.” Mr. Amano said that this very idea of reasonable accommodation will become very important not only for cancer patients, but also for everyone in society because it provides positive suggestions on work-life balance.

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