Princess Srinagarindra Award Foundation

Miss Chieko NOHNO, Laureate2013



 Miss Chieko NOHNO, 78 years old, a nurse/midwife, a great and influential leader, and a former member of the Japanese House of Councilors, graduated from National Kagoshima Hospital Nurses’ School and Osaka University in Japan.

Country:  Japan

          She undertook further training in midwifery and premature babies and worked with the International Planned Parenthood Federation in the United Kingdom. Throughout her life she has devoted herself to the promotion and protection of the health, welfare, and rights of all vulnerable and disadvantage groups, such as mothers, children, the elderly, prisoners, and people with gender identity disorder. Currently, she still actively works to fulfill her own resolutions for a better society.

          After graduation, Miss NOHNO worked as a midwife at a private institution in Osaka, and as an instructor, deputy director, associate professor, and professor at various universities in Japan.  She was then elected as a Diet Member in The House of Councilors and represented nurse midwives in Japan for 18 years.  She was appointed as the Vice Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare, and the Minister of Justice and State Minister in Charge of Youth Development and Declining Birthrate during the second and the third Koizumi Cabinets.

          As a nurse midwife who had experienced war during her childhood, Miss NOHNO loved peace, and believed that medical and health care were important in building a peaceful society and families. Nurse midwives have an important role in creating healthy individuals, families and society. Thus, she has dedicated herself to supporting maternal and child health in local communities. As a teacher she was devoted to training midwives, inspiring and cultivating them to take proactive roles at their workplaces.  Those midwives who completed their training with her currently work in local communities and hospitals across Japan, playing leading roles in their profession.

           As an Executive Board Member of Japanese Midwife Association for many years, Miss NOHNO led the implementation of a national program providing a home visiting service by midwives and health nurses for all households with an infant.  This offered parenting support to prevent child abuse. Furthermore, she deeply devoted herself to the establishment of the child-care fund which financially supports privately-conducted maternal and child health programs.  These programs include offering free telephone counseling from local branches across Japan;  providing on-site education on life and sexual matters at schools; helping mothers who have parenting anxiety; and assisting to prevent issues such as child abuse, unwanted pregnancy among adolescents and sexually transmitted diseases.  These programs are very successful and well appreciated by the public.

           Miss NOHNO was actively involved in the International Council of Midwives and the International Council of Nurses.  For example, she served with integrity as a committee member and an executive board member of the International Council of Midwives for the Asia-Pacific region for three terms.  Today, she continues to remain dedicated to a wide range of international activities in the field of maternal and child health.  Her achievements include the establishment of midwives’ associations in Vietnam and Mongolia, and she continues to take leadership in supporting their further development.

          During the 18 years of her political career, Miss NOHNO was involved in an extraordinarily large number of legislations for one Diet Member: 20 lawmaker-initiated legislations, including: the Prevention of Spousal Violence and the Protection of Victims Act; the Act for the Prevention of Child Abuse: the Act on Special Cases in Changing Gender for People with Gender Identity Disorder;  amendment of the Act for Public Health Nurses, Midwives and Nurses; numerous revisions of the Maternal Protection Act; and the Act on the Prevention of Elderly Abuse and Support for Caregivers of Elderly Persons.  Miss NOHNO also played a leading role in the revision of the internationally criticized name of the Eugenic Protection Act to change it to the Law to Protect the Life of the Mother, and by incorporating the important concept of reproductive health and rights into this Law.

         When serving as the Minster of Justice she also committed herself to the rehabilitation of inmates and their right to just treatment.  One rehabilitation facility even built a monument with the word ‘rebirth’ engraved in honor of Miss NOHNO. In addition, she still continues to provide counseling to people with gender identity disorder and their families.

          The promotion of health and welfare of mother and children is always in Miss NOHNO’s heart, thus wherever she goes, she takes the opportunity to visit children. When she attended The Asia Pacific Conference in Bangkok as Vice Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare, she took her time in the morning before the Conference began to visit children at Slum Klongteuy Center. She has also supported a foster parent program for orphans in Chiang Mai for over 20years, and with a group of Japanese nursery teachers visits the orphans every year.

Currently, Miss NOHNO still supports future development of the Nursing and Midwifery Association as an honorary member and is often asked to deliver a keynote speech at various occasions both in Japan and abroad. Her wisdom and experiences accumulated through her entire life as a nurse-midwife leader are highly demanded by many people.

           As an academician, Miss NOHNO has published many papers and textbooks related to the health of mothers, children and laws. Recently, she wrote a book on gender identity disorder, which helps readers to understand this problem as a personality trait, not a mental illness.Because of her distinguished contribution both nationally and internationally as a nurse-midwife leader, teacher, and politician, Miss NOHNO has received many awards.  These include a Life Saving Award from the 10th Regional Japan Coast Guard for rescuing a young fishing boat operator who had been attacked by a shark; a Mongolian Ministry of Health Honorary Award from the Minister of Health, Mongolia; The Order of Duke Trpimir with Ribbon and Star from The President of the Republic of Croatia; The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun in recognition of contributions to Japanese national politics; and The House of Councilors Distinguished Services Award from the President of the House of Councilors

            Miss Chieko NOHNO has made a great contribution to mankind in the protection of health, welfare, and rights of all vulnerable and disadvantage  groups in Japan, and in the development of midwifery in Japan and Asia-Pacific Region. Therefore, the Committee of the Princess Srinagarinda Award Foundation under the Royal Patronage, has come to its final resolution to award Miss Chieko NOHNO the Princess Srinagarinda Award for the year 2013.