The editorial “The world has lost a moral force” in the Oct. 31 edition led me to ponder the life of Sadako Ogata, the former United Nations high commissioner for refugees.

She could not pass by without saving those who were suffering. Her compassion had no boundaries. She had a universally understandable moral code of lending a helping hand to people in trouble. Any place around the world where the safety and dignity of humans were in peril became her place.

We are inclined to judge people on the basis of nationality, race, religion, ethnicity, gender, etc., which risks creating unfriendly relationships. On the other hand, Ogata’s very basic idea of human security did not discriminate against anyone.

Life at the top of any organization is often lonely, even if he or she is known worldwide. Yet Ogata seemed happy, surrounded by many friends from around the world and no matter the circumstances she stood with those who were in danger.

Nobody is born to discriminate. We can grow by learning at any stage of our life. Shouldn’t we learn from her and live our life like Ogata?

Leaders of the world should learn from her, since they have to be wise enough to manage in peace our world of today and tomorrow. The concept of human security can be a pillar of foreign policy for any nation.

Yes, we miss her greatly and pray for the repose of her soul.

She was the Good Samaritan mother who dedicated her life to serving the world above self, protecting “the weakest in society.”


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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