DR. BEN CARSON
SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
AT THE MOC SIGNING BETWEEN JAPAN AND THE UNITED STATES
JUNE 30, 2017
As prepared for delivery. The speaker may add or subtract comments during his presentation.
Thank you. Good morning and welcome.
I would like to welcome Vice Minister Fujii, President Nakajima,and the entire Japanese delegation to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. And Maren Kasper of Ginnie Mae, thank you for coming.
You bring us a great gift … you bring us cooperation and friendship. You bring us a promising future. In both country’s our population is aging. One-fourth of the Japanese population is over 65 years of age. Currently, more than 15 percent of Americans are over 65. So, HUD and Ginnie Mae are excited to continue to work with you on strategies and research focused on the future, especially on aging in place.
A prelude to our meeting today was a meeting in February. And, before that, cooperation over many years. In February, for example, researchers and scholars from both countries analyzed demographic trends and governmental responses. There was much discussion about assisted housing for low-income citizens and about home ownership trends. We shared information and approaches. And there was much discussion about helping our older citizens age in place.
That discussion has continued, leading us to the signing of this memorandum. This document symbolizes a great opportunity, to listen, learn, and cooperate on behalf of citizens in both countries. We will “shake the tree of dreams,” to quote one of your writers. I know that Japan has been very creative, with new ideas and innovations. And Japan honors older citizens with much respect and regard.
We have much to learn from you. But we also have some things to share. One of the great American efforts has been the creative use of public-private partnerships, which bring government, business, and the community together. We have been able to provide for the elderly by using the strengths of each part of our society. Those efforts afford lessons that may be helpful in other settings.
At HUD, we are committed to helping vulnerable populations, like the elderly, and providing access to affordable, and safe housing. We need to be very honest about the challenges that the elderly face, so that we do not just assume they have help, or that government care is reaching everyone. We need a constant, careful, and thorough examination of the needs of the elderly. They must never be marginalized. The strength of any culture is measured by its regard, respect, and care of the elderly.
In helping Americans, especially the elderly, we must also base our policies on facts and data. Our responses must be evidence-driven. Our actions must be judged by their impact, not by whether they make us feel good about ourselves.
This Memorandum of Cooperation will help both the U.S. and Japan base our strategies for aging in place on research and data. It will help us understand the challenges our older generations face and ensure that everyone can age with dignity and comfort. I look forward to the research that will be produced and the strategies that will be developed from that research. By working together, the U.S. and Japan will improve outcomes for the citizens of both our countries.
This building is named after my predecessor, Dr. Robert Weaver. He was a great scholar and humanitarian, quietly effective and determined to respect our vulnerable populations. He often said that we must look with an open mind to help those in need. He reminded us that this department is the human face of government. Aging in place is a very human, family-oriented response that keeps families together. Providing our vulnerable with the security of a home and the constant support of the family is a goal we share. Through this memorandum, we extend our friendship with the people of Japan.
So, thank you Vice Minister Fujii and President Nakajima for your presence and your agreement to work together.