The Laureate of the 3rd Okinawa Peace Prize
”Okinawa-Laos Cleft Palate Patient Support Center”
The Okinawa-Laos Cleft Palate Patient Support Center was founded in 1995 by a group of dentists in private practice. Together with the oral surgery unit of the Ryukyu University Medical Faculty School of Dentistry, the Center carries out a variety of treatment support and treatment technology transfer activities in Laos and other Southeast Asian countries.
Looking back at Okinawa's history, as long ago as 1689, during Ryukyu Kingdom times, Takamine Tokuaki, who had learned lip reconstruction techniques in Fuzhou in China, corrected the cleft lip of King Sho Eki, the 12th king of the second Sho dynasty, and later taught the procedure to Satsuma Han doctors. However, Okinawa became the scene of furious land battles in the Second World War. Much of the island was reduced to burnt and blasted rubble and more than 200,000 precious lives were lost.
Along with this devastation went the total destruction of the dental profession. After the war, the Welfare Ministry dispatched doctors to Okinawa to begin the reconstruction of the island's medical services.
Today, Japan is blessed with first-class health care that utilizes the latest in medical technology. All cleft lip and cleft palate patients are assured of adequate treatment. However, in some neighboring countries, many children do not have access to prompt and adequate surgical intervention, and these children often suffer unreasonable and painful discrimination.
Wanting to share the advanced dentistry now available in Okinawa with sufferers elsewhere, the Support Center, in cooperation with the Japanese Cleft Palate Foundation, began work in Laos, one of the world's poorest countries, in 2001. To date, numerous cleft lip and palate surgical procedures have been performed there free of charge. The Center has also trained local staff and donated dental equipment and has devoted much effort to developing and expanding children's dental hygiene projects.
This work has given hope to people who experienced discrimination on account of their infirmities and has helped them toward full participation in society.
Laos is a country still struggling to overcome the ravages of civil war. This assistance, coming from Okinawa, which also suffered grievously in war, is a splendid expression of the spirit of mutual aid born of Okinawa's history and culture.
The Support Center plans to continue expanding its work in Laos and expects that its efforts will both establish dentistry in Laos on a firm footing and bring Okinawa and Laos closer together through the technology transfer process.
The Okinawa Peace Prize selection committee feels that because the Center is making a significant contribution toward establishing Okinawa as a base of dental care throughout the Asia-Pacific region, thus helping to guarantee securer lives for the region's people, it is the most fitting recipient of the 3rd Okinawa Peace Prize.
Rooted in the spirit of mutual assistance, which is a true reflection and expression of Okinawa's history and culture, the Center's work is making a significant contribution to enduring peace and thus helping to fulfill the purpose for which the Okinawa Peace Prize was established.
Accordingly, in the spirit of gratitude for the generous assistance from Japan and elsewhere that helped Okinawa surmount the desolation and confusion of the postwar years and start on the road to development, Okinawa Prefecture awards the 3rd Okinawa Peace Prize to the Okinawa-Laos Cleft Palate Patient Support Center in support of its future work,
A look at the Okinawa-Laos Cleft Palate Patient Support Center
August 1995 Founding of the Okinawa Oral Surgery Research Association
December 2003 Name changed to Okinawa-Laos Cleft Palate Patient Support Center – Okinawa Oral Surgery Research Association
June 2006 Name changed to Okinawa-Laos Cleft Palate Patient Support Center
Located: 242 Sunny Hill 103, Aza Uehara, Nishihara, Nakagami Gun, Okinawa Prefecture
Director: Ryosei Nakama (Nakama Dental Clinic)
Current Membership: 203 Contact: 電話 098-944-4880
The Okinawa-Laos Cleft Palate Patient Support Center was founded by local dentists together with the oral surgery unit at the University of the Ryukyus School of Dentistry. Its basic aims are to keep raising the level of dentistry and dental technology while fostering comradeship and mutual skills exchange and improvement among its members, while at the same time doing research studies and improving treatment on behalf of oral surgery patients.
In conjunction with the oral surgery unit at Ryukyu University, the Center began treatment support work in China and Vietnam in 2000. In 2002, with the cooperation of the Japanese Cleft Palate Foundation, it began doing free cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries in Laos.
In recognition of its accomplishments, the Center received The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company's "Public Health Award" in 2005.
Hosts numerous seminars and technical discussion groups in Okinawa
Treatment support for cleft lip and palate patients in China and Vietnam
Treatment support for cleft lip and palate patients in Laos
Gift of a complete kit of dental instruments to Laos
Hosted a friendship party for the Democratic Republic of Laos
Assisted in the establishment of a children's dental hygiene program in Laos ・Various activities in aid of improved dental treatment in Laos
Gift of a dental unit to Setadilat Hospital in Laos
Gift of toothbrushes to Donkoi Elementary School in Laos
Treatment support activities for cleft lip and palate patients in Laos
December 16 – 25, 2001
Nine participants（Including nonmembers. Below likewise.）
Twenty-three procedures at no charge for cleft lip and palate patients
Okinawa Master Course lectures at the Laos National University Dental School
March 15 – 27, 2003
31 cleft lip and palate procedures; no charge
Okinawa Master Course lectures at the Laos National University School of Dentistry
November 16 – 28, 2003
26 free cleft lip and palate procedures performed
Okinawa Master Course at Laos National University School of Dentistry
July 15 – 23, 2006
22 cleft lip and palate procedures donated
Third Okinawa Peace Prize Selection Committee
Chairperson Akito Arima (Chairman of Japan Sciences Foundation)
Hiroko Sho （University of the Ryukyus Professor Emeritus ）
Ikuo Kabashima（Professor, Tokyo University Graduate School of Law）
Gregory Clark（Vice President, Akita International University ）
Taeko Nagai（Vice President, Japan Broadcasting Corporation ）
Moshin Morita（President, University of the Ryukyus ）
Kinhide Mushanokoji（Director, Centre for Asia Pacific Partnership, Osaka
University of Economics and Law）
沖縄県 子ども生活福祉部 女性力・平和推進課
〒900-8570 沖縄県那覇市泉崎1-2-2 行政棟3階（北側）