International Symposium Japan-Europe Cooperation on Social Firms

Date: Sunday, January 30, 2011 10:00 – 16:30
Venue: Nadao Hall, Japan National Council of Social Welfare (Zenshakyo)
Organized by: The Japan Foundation In cooperation with Japanese Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities (JSRPD)
Language: Japanese and English (with Simultaneous Translation)


With the development of information technology, the diffusion of the concept of accessibility, and the effectuation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the environment for promoting social participation of persons with disabilities has been improved. Under such circumstance, social firms are now attractingattentions as a new approach to employ persons with disabilities that crosses over the existing social welfare. Social firms are one type of social enterprise that engage in the general market while aiming at hiring persons with disabilities and disadvantages in the labor market. Social firms are growing in countries around the world; in Japan, the Social Firm Japan has been established and new approaches for promoting employment of persons with disabilities are being implemented.
In this symposium, experts from European countries will be invited to discuss with Japanese experts strategies and the potentials for Japan-Europe cooperation for the development of social firms, based on experiences in each country and the results of field research in Japan.

Keynote Speech "Toward Development of Social Firms in Japan"

Mr. Shigeru Sumitani
President, Social Welfare Organization Saiseikai Imperial Gift Foundation, Inc.
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Social Firm Japan
Former Administrative Vice Minister, Ministry of the Environment

Since his days as a government official, Mr. Sumitani has been devoting himself to social causes, such as support for employing persons with disabilities, homeless people, the withdrawals, and ex-convicts, and the development of communities in poverty. He is the leading advocate of social firms in Japan and the founder of Social Firm Japan which was established in December 2008.

Panelists from Europe]

Marjatta Varanka (Finland)
Managing Director, VATES Foundation
As Managing Director of VATES Foundation, Ms. Varanka is an active figure for promoting employment and occupational rehabilitation for persons with disabilities and the disadvantaged.

Daniel Lindgren (Sweden)
Mananger, Le mat Sweden
Member of founders of Vägen ut! kooperativen(Way out! Co-operatives)
with 80 co-workers and 120 daily participants. Among all experiences, Mr. Daniel Lindgren also has for a long period of time been working within national and transnational development projects.

Lars René Petersen (Denmark)
Managing Director at the Danish Center for Social Economy
As the Managing Director of the Danish Center for Social Economy, the leading national knowledge center and voice for social enterprises in Denmark, Mr. Petersen's opinion from the professional perspective has influence over policy making.

Sally Reynolds (United Kingdom)
Chief Executive of Social Firms UK
A co-founder of Social Firms UK. With a private sector background in marketing and PR, Ms. Reynolds is dedicated to raising the profile of Social Firms as a solution to employment creation for people at a severe disadvantage in the labor market. She is traveling around UK and the world and sharing her expertise through lectures and symposiums.

Gerold Schwarz (Germany / Serbia)
Coordinator of joint program between MDG (Millennium Development Goals) Achievement Fund and the Serbian Government
Mr. Schwarz is program manager in the areas of economic development and employment creation for persons with disadvantages at the International Organization for Migration. Currently he is in Belgrade, Serbia where he manages an 8-million US dollar joint program implemented by four international organizations and the Serbian Government. He had worked on a national survey on social enterprises in Germany and worked for a consulting firm for social firms in Berlin.

Panelists from Japan

Yasuhiro Oyama (Chairman, Nihon Rikagaku Industry)
Akira Terashima (Dean/Professor, Faculty of Child Study, Urawa University)
Nozomu Miyajima (Director of Kyodogakusha Shintoku Firm, Vice-president of Kyodogakusha)
Yoko Ueno (Professor, Director of Department of Psychology and Education, Faculty of Humanities, Tokyo Kasei University)


Ms. Phillida Purvis
Director, Links Japan

This symposium is open to public, especially for those involve in social welfare for the disabled and elderly.

Capacity: 200 seats
Information Accessibility: Japanese-English Simultaneous Translation and real-time captioning provided. If you need sign language interpretation, braille documents, or FM loop system, please indicate on the registration form.
Admission: Free.
Registration deadline: January 25, 2011
For registration, please send an email or FAX to the following address with your contact information.

** Your personal information will be used only for this symposium and it will never be disclosed to the third party.
Contact: Arita / Nomura, Japanese Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities 1-22-1, Toyama, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0052
TEL: 03-5273-0796 FAX: 03-5273-0615
Registration Form (Word:25KB)

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