Shigaraki-cho (Koga-gun, Shiga Prefecture) has recently been presented a certificate by an American NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) as a local government which has successful regional community activities. Shigaraki-cho was selected as a town which gives hope to mentally handicapped people so they can work in the community. After receiving the certificate, Shigaraki's motivation has become even stronger. People in this town said, "with this encouragement, we will continue to promote the town's welfare plans."
The award that the town received was given by the Friends of the United Nations (offices in Santa Monica, California), an organization which is active in promoting the spirit of the U.N. Charter. The certificate, "We the peoples: 50 Communities," was established to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations.
In 1993, the organization decided to award local governments which conduct excellent activities in various areas such as "Peace and Security" and "Human Rights." At the end of last year, the Friends of the United Nations selected 55 local governments as finalists out of a total of 400 local governments from 38 countries. Shigaraki was trying to receive an award in the "Education and Health" category, but was presented a certificate as a "local government which has the same level of community activities as the award recipients."