Japanese American Leadership Delegation to depart for Japan March 4


THE DELEGATES — Top row: Mari Watanabe, Val Iwashita, Gary Oda, Gary Moriwaki, William Tsutsui and Erwin Furukawa. Bottom row: Bill Imada, Genevieve Shiroma, Susan Muranishi, Kathryn Ibata-Arens, Kenneth Oye, Phyllis Campbell and Susan Morita. photo courtesy of U.S.-Japan Council

Thirteen Nikkei from across the nation will on March 4 embark on a trip to Japan as members of the 2011 Japanese American Leadership Delegation. The delegation will be comprised of senior Japanese Americans who are at the foremost level of leadership in their professions, have had moderate to extensive experience in U.S.-Japan relations, and will be committed to furthering the U.S.-Japan relationship upon their return.

The program is celebrating its 11th anniversary. Co-sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) represented in the United States by the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. and 17 consulate general offices, as well as the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP), the program provides Japanese American leaders with the opportunity to travel to Japan for seven nights.

The 2011 delegates are as follows:

Phyllis Campbell — Seattle

In addition to serving as the chairman of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Pacific Northwest, Campbell also serves on her firm’s executive committee and is the senior executive in Washington, Oregon and Idaho representing J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. at the most senior level. She previously served as CEO of the Seattle Foundation and the U.S. Bank of Washington. She sits on the diversity advisory board of Toyota North America, and serves as a director on the boards of Nordstrom Inc. and Alaska Air Group. She holds an MBA from the University of Washington’s executive MBA program and a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University as well as Stanford University’s executive management program.

Erwin Furukawa — Los Angeles

Furukawa is vice president of Customer Programs and Services for Southern California Edison. Prior to his current position, Furukawa also held various vice president positions at Pacific Bell, SBC and AT&T. His involvement in the Japanese American community currently includes serving as a board member and marketing chair of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund and as a board member for East West Players, the nation’s preeminent Asian American theater organization. Furukawa received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and a master’s of business administration in management from the University of San Francisco.

Kathryn Ibata-Arens — Chicago

Ibata-Arens is an associate professor of political science at DePaul University. She is currently conducting research as a Fulbright New Century Scholar and Mike and Maureen Mansfield/Center for Global Partnership Japan New Network Fellow. She is published on the topic of the U.S.-Japan alliance, writing on entrepreneurship, politics and new technology. Ibata-Arens has conducted lectures and presentations in both English and Japanese at such locations as Kyoto University, Ritsumeikan University, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, National University of Singapore and Fulbright New Century Scholar Workshops in Berlin, Germany; Rio de Janiero, Brazil and Washington, D.C. She received her Ph.D. in political economy from Northwestern University.

Bill Imada — Los Angeles

Imada is the chairman and CEO of IW Group, Inc., a marketing, advertising and public relations company. Imada has helped clients develop their Asian and Pacific Islander American market strategies. More recently, he has worked with the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles to connect consul general Junichi Ihara with various business and ethnic leaders in Los Angeles. Imada serves on the boards of the Asian Business Association, the California Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, and is an active member of the U.S.-Japan Council. He is an AMBEP graduate of the Tuck School of Business.

Val Iwashita — Honolulu

Iwashita is the headmaster of the ‘Iolani School in Honolulu, overseeing the educational, public relations and financial operations of the school. Iwashita previously served as the vice president and principal of Mid-Pacific Institute. Serving for 11 years on the board, he was also the chairman for the National Association of Independent Schools, which represents more than 1,000 independent schools and associations all over the country and overseas. Iwashita received his Ed.D. in counseling and personnel from Brigham Young University, Provo.
Susan Morita — Washington, D.C.

Morita is a partner at the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, D.C. She lived in Japan for six years and has studied at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies. Morita is a leader of the Japanese American Network (JA-NET), serves on the board of governors for the Japanese American National Museum and is a member of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and the U.S.-Japan Council. She holds an MPA in International Relations from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, received her juris doctorate from Harvard Law School, and her bachelor of arts from Stanford University.

Gary Moriwaki — New York

Moriwaki is a partner in the Tax & Estates Department at Fox Rothschild LLP. Moriwaki is active in the Japanese American community, currently serving as president of the Japanese American Association of New York, vice chair of the Asian American Federation, Inc., and as a member of the board of governors for

the Japanese American National Museum. Moriwaki was also an advisory board member for the 2005 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Nagano, and is a member of the Japan Society and the U.S.-Japan Council. He received his juris doctorate from Brooklyn Law School.
Susan Muranishi — San Francisco

Muranishi was appointed as county administrator for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in 1995. She is responsible for the management of a large diverse urban county with a population of 1.5 million, more than 9,000 county employees and a $2.4 billion budget. Muranishi has participated in official trade missions to Asia with elected officials and various business and community leaders. She has worked on issues of clean and green technology as well as regional transportation. She received her Bachelors of Arts in social sciences from the University of California, Berkeley.

Gary Oda — Honolulu

Oda is the president of Allied Builders System, a Top 250 Hawaii Company and a Top 20 General Contractor in the state of Hawai‘i. He is also president of HHA, Inc., and a managing partner of the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. Oda sits on the board of directors for the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce, is the president of the Hawaii ESOP Association, a member of the board and the finance chairperson for the Japan-American Society of Hawaii, and serves on the board of directors for the Oahu Country Club. He received his Bachelors of Business Administration, Finance and Accounting from the University of Hawai‘i.
Kenneth Oye — Boston

Oye is director of the program on emerging technologies and associate professor of political science and engineering systems at MIT. He is co-president of the New England Chapter of the JACL and also the vice governor of the Eastern District Council of JACL, focusing on national security and civil liberties. Additionally, he is co-founder of the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Association. Oye holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Swarthmore College and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.

Genevieve Shiroma — San Francisco

Shiroma is a board member of the Agricultural Relations Board for the State of California, a gubernatorial appointment confirmed by the California Senate. She is the immediate past president and current, elected director of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Ward 4, serving the electricity-related needs of Sacramento residents. Shiroma is a member of the Matsuyama Sacramento Sister City Corporation, and a member and former board member of the JACL’s Sacramento chapter. Shiroma received her bachelor’s of science in material science and engineering from the University of California, Davis.

William Tsutsui — Houston

Tsutsui is the Dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences and professor of history at Southern Methodist University. He has authored several books exploring the postwar Japanese financial system, the American influence on Japanese factory management, and the globalization of Japanese pop culture. Tsutsui has administered programs at schools to train teachers in Japanese studies and increase awareness of Japanese history and culture, been active in the media providing expert commentary on U.S.-Japan relations, and worked with the former Consulate General of Japan in Kansas City to organize community activities. He received his Ph.D. in history from Princeton University.

Mari Watanabe — Portland, Ore.

Watanabe is the executive director of the Oregon Nikkei Endowment (ONE), a nonprofit that preserves the history and culture of the Japanese Americans in Oregon. She sits on boards including Friends of Minidoka and the Japanese Ancestral Society; the steering committee of the National Veterans Network and Japan Related Organizations Committee; and advisory board of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon. Watanabe received her Bachelor of Arts from Washington State University, and has completed various leadership trainings, including the Leadership Education for Asian Pacific Executive Directors program and the Center for Asian Pacific American Women (APAWLI) leadership program.

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