Member of the House of Councillors
House of Councillors of Japan
Ryuhei Kawada is a Member of the House of Councillors in Japan, an Activist and Founder of Raum, Japan. Kawada, who is a haemophiliac, contracted HIV when he was 10 years old from a tainted blood-clotting agent. In September 1993, he joined a lawsuit against the Japanese government and five companies that had continued to use unheated blood in transfusions, despite the known risk. In court, he sat behind a screen when he testified because of the shame in Japan of having the disease. This helped to force executives of Green Cross, the nation’s top blood-supplies company, to publicly admit the firm’s role in selling HIV-tainted products in the 1980s. Since then, despite a dwindling T-cell count, he has worked to place a human face on the disease. He helped create a human chain around Japan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare until officials pledged to open an AIDS treatment centre. “My dream is to become a teacher and change society, improve society. That is my dream,” he says.