On Wednesday 11 September 2019, Ambassador Tsuruoka bestowed the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon upon Professor The Rt. Hon. The Lord Darzi of Denham in recognition of his invaluable contribution to promoting Japan's efforts in global health and developing Japan-UK relations in the field of medicine, especially patient safety.
Firstly, Lord Darzi has played a leading role in the Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety. This is an international conference established in 2016 following international initiatives that aims to highlight the importance of patient safety to countries and international organisations. The third Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety was held in Asia for the first time in Tokyo in April 2018, following Summits in the UK and Germany in the previous two years.
Lord Darzi has been heavily involved in this summit since its inaugural meeting in London, and worked as an advisor for the hosts of the Summit in Bonn and Tokyo, providing advice regarding the event as a whole and the content of its individual programmes from an international perspective. Lord Darzi also played an invaluable role in the success of this Tokyo Summit, and with Japan expected to take a leading role in efforts towards patient safety by the international community, his work helped Japan to take on this role and responsibility.
In addition to his presentation at the Tokyo Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety, Lord Darzi has also spoken frequently at many other scientific conferences in Japan, including the annual congress of Japanese Surgical Society. In the field of endoscopic surgery, Lord Darzi has been particularly distinguished, and as a figure with impressive achievements in this field, he is an International Honorary Member of the Japan Society for Endoscopic Surgery. Further, he has also welcomed Japanese university doctors in the surgical field to Imperial College London, playing an important role in nurturing Japanese doctors and researchers, and contributing to the development of Japanese healthcare and medicine.
In his speech, Ambassador Tsuruoka paid tribute to Lord Darzi’s long list of achievements and expressed his appreciation to Lord Darzi for his efforts towards medicine, especially patient safety, which contributes not only to one or two countries but to all humankind. Ambassador Tsuruoka also emphasised the importance of international collaboration in medical science and research, and talked of how it was fitting that the Lord Darzi’s decoration would be one of the first awarded by the new Emperor at the beginning of the new Reiwa period, which began on 1 May 2019.
During his acceptance speech, Lord Darzi spoke of his great admiration for Japan, and expressed his gratitude to Ambassador Tsuruoka and Japanese government for the award. He also thanked his friends and colleagues for their dedicated support towards his work, many of whom were in attendance to celebrate his decoration. Lord Darzi also emphasised the importance of international collaboration, citing a Japanese proverb which says that “a frog in a well does not know the great ocean”.
During his toast, The Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP, former Health Secretary and later Foreign Secretary, emphasised the importance of patient safety in hospitals and praised Lord Darzi’s dedicated work in this field, using some Japanese phrases to highlight some of Lord Darzi’s many qualities.
The event was attended by more than one hundred people from Japanese and UK medical fields, academia, government and industry, and concluded with a celebratory drinks reception.
The Embassy of Japan