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About Sickkids
About SickKids

July 9, 2009

SickKids welcomes Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan

Canadian tour commemorates the 80-year relationship between Canada and Japan

TORONTO – Their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan received a warm welcome at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) this morning during their official state visit to Canada. SickKids leaders, clinicians, researchers and patients greeted Their Majesties as part of an 11-day celebration of 80 years of Canada-Japan diplomatic relations. 

"I have no doubt that this historic visit by Their Majesties will generate goodwill and foster greater interest in Japan among Canadians,” says Constance Sugiyama, Chair of the SickKids Board of Trustees. “We also believe this visit will help raise awareness in Japan that Canada is not only a land of extraordinary beauty and abundant natural resources but, as evidenced by our world-renowned hospital, is also a leader in clinical research, medical science and innovation."

During the visit, Their Majesties were introduced to SickKids’ rich history of collaboration with Japanese clinicians, researchers and trainees in a variety of medical and scientific specialties. The Hospital works in partnership with health-care organizations in more than 75 countries for the betterment of child health. SickKids health-care professionals come from more than 70 countries – including Japan – and include the world’s foremost experts on a full range of paediatric specialties.

“We are grateful for our strong relationship with scientists and clinicians in Japan. We are all focused on the same goal: Healthier Children. A Better World,” says Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO of SickKids.

Their Majesties met with some of SickKids’ leading clinicians and researchers, including Dr. Shinya Ito, Head of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology and Senior Scientist at SickKids. Ito, a Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Pharmacy at the University of Toronto, received his MD from Jichi Medical School in Japan.

Ito is also an active member of the Motherisk Program, which is widely recognized as the leading international centre for the study of the safety of medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The program attracts post-doctoral trainees from more than 35 countries. Ito and SickKids are working closely with the National Center for Child Health and Development in Tokyo to set up a Japanese version of Motherisk.

The visit included a “meet and greet” with members of Team SickKids – a group of transplant patients who will be competing at the World Transplant Games in Australia later this summer. Their Majesties joined the athletes in Marnie’s Rainbow Lounge, where the children created Origami cranes. Their Majesties also stopped by the Reading Room, the Hospital’s on-site children’s library, where the Empress surprised the children by singing a Japanese lullaby. The lullaby was broadcast to patient rooms throughout the Hospital on SickKids’ closed-circuit television system.

“It is a great honour for everyone at SickKids that Their Majesties have chosen to make our hospital a part of their visit to Toronto,” says Haddad.

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), affiliated with the University of Toronto, is Canada’s most research-intensive hospital and the largest centre dedicated to improving children’s health in the country. As innovators in child health, SickKids improves the health of children by integrating care, research and teaching. Our mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized care by creating scientific and clinical advancements, sharing our knowledge and expertise and championing the development of an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. For more information, please visit www.sickkids.ca. SickKids is committed to healthier children for a better world.

For more information, please contact:

Matet Nebres
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-6380
email: matet.nebres@sickkids.ca

Suzanne Gold
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 2059
email: suzanne.gold@sickkids.ca