Ichiro Hatanaka, the founder and the Managing Director, was once caught in the middle of a major riot that broke out in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), Africa, where he was stationed 30 years ago. The intense experience, in which many innocent people were slaughtered and he was clearly aware of the danger that loomed over him, still haunts Ichiro with aftereffects.
In the end, thanks to the efforts of many people, he was fortunate enough to escape unharmed, but the question that plagued Ichiro for a long time afterward was
“Why did I survive?”
Among those who have escaped similar experiences or natural disasters and have had a narrow escape from death, there are many who lose their mental balance. Ichiro was no exception.
The reason he managed to crawl out of such a quagmire was because he thought to himself, “I must be on some important mission, and I must have been rescued to accomplish it”.
To escape the depths of intense anxiety, Ichiro’s own frantic ‘mission search’ began: in his 30s, 40s and 50s, he repeatedly took on various challenges, and while he found the experiences very meaningful, he was never certain that they were his ‘mission’.
In the summer of 2021, Ichiro was suddenly diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and told that he would only have 3-4 years to live if he did not wear a ventilator.
The diagnosis of ALS and the declaration of life expectancy had a completely different impact on him than any other experience he had ever had, and the words “the end” and “game over” flashed through his mind. But strangely enough, he says he never felt a sense of despair.
After the diagnosis, Ichiro asked himself “What can I do with the time I have left?” and one answer he arrived at was, ”to continue to support patients and their families suffering from intractable diseases and other disabilities.” This was ‘my mission’ that Ichiro derived as his life’s work, which he could devote his whole being to.
The plan to establish Future of Humanity Institute was thus launched in the summer of 2021.
The progression of the disease is not only a cause of anxiety for the patients themselves who lose physical functions, but also a major difficulty for the family members who care for them, a characteristic of ALS and other intractable diseases.
We thought that by utilising the ever-evolving state-of-the-art technology and the agile business structure that Ichiro has long been involved in, we could support patients and their families in a variety of ways and create an environment in which they can positively face the fight against their diseases.
And if this trial becomes widely known and takes root in the public mind, it will give hope to the many people who have to live with physical disabilities as the ageing population is becoming a major social issue.
We decided to establish the Institute as a receptacle for ideas from a wide range of fields to be put into practice through the support of many people.