On 3 December 2007, the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, along with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and the New Heritage Theatre Group, co-sponsored “UnHeard Notes,” a piano concert featuring pianists with disabilities, which was held in the Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium. Performers from 7 different countries performed classics such as Beethoven and Chopin, some having arranged the music themselves. The performers, with disabilities ranging from visual and hearing impairments to loss of extremities, moved the audience greatly as they demonstrated their ability to overcome physical and mental hardships and play the piano masterfully.
The concert was a collaboration of the winners and friends of the Piano Paralympics, which was first held in Japan in 2005. The President of the Institute for Piano Teachers & Disabled Japan and one of the founders of the Piano Paralympics , Mr. Tokio Sakoda, spoke to the audience about the importance of giving people with disabilities an opportunity to show their talents and strengths. Ambassador Jiro Kodera also remarked how the performers gave profound hope to all like people, and he recognized their hard work and dedication with respect.
On September 2007, Japan’s Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura signed the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities at the United Nations. As the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st Century, the convention seeks to legally protect people with disabilities from discrimination as well as respect their independence and dignity.
Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities