On March 4–6, 2019, the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), which works in close partnership with the Asian Health and Wellbeing Initiative (AHWIN), co-hosted the 7th International Conference for Universal Design in Bangkok, Thailand. This was the first time the conference had been held outside Japan and this year’s theme was “Toward Sustainable Development through Universal Design.”
Prof. Akiko Yamanaka, Special Advisor to the President of ERIA and former vice minister of foreign affairs of Japan delivered the opening remarks. In addition, Dr. Osuke Komazawa, special advisor to the president for healthcare and long-term care policy at ERIA, gave a keynote speech on the subject of how universal design relates to aged societies. In his talk, entitled “Population Aging, Sustainable Development Goals, and the Asia Health and Wellbeing Initiative,” Komazawa discussed which SDGs could be affected by population aging. He pointed out that in order to achieve active aging, both research and practical measures are required, and he noted that ERIA had begun conducting research on population aging since the launch of AHWIN. Emphasizing the opportunities as well as the challenges of population aging, Komazawa closed his speech by saying, “Population aging is really the success of humanity. We have a responsibility to find a way to reap the dividend of these extra years of life.”
This event was organized by ERIA in partnership with the International Association for Universal Design (IAUD) and the King Mongkut Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL).