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Japanese American Leadership Symposium
Aging and Dementia:
Cooperation between the U.S. and Japan
from research to health care

Organized by: The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP)
Co-Organized by: U.S.-Japan Council
Supported by: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Consulate General of the U.S. in Osaka-Kobe, Hiroshima Prefectural Government, The Japan-America Society of Hiroshima

As two countries that are both facing rapidly aging societies, the U.S. and Japan have much to learn from each other. This symposium invited three Japanese American leaders to share their experience. They addressed 1) the role of quality control mechanisms to detect and prevent cellular damage that leads to dementia, 2) the human side of aging through geriatric treatment, and 3) the effective communication of science and technology to stimulate innovation. The panelists touched upon the genetics of Japanese supercentenarians to identify mechanisms of stress resilience, and the importance of global efforts through sharing knowledge, promoting technology and stimulating innovation.

Photo of symposium

Date & Time

Monday, March 9th, 2015 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. (Door Opens at 4:30 p.m.)


Multimedia Studio, 6th floor of Hiroshima City Plaza for Town Development through Citizen Exchange
(6-36, Fukuromachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima TEL: +81-(0)82-545-3911) Access




English/Japanese Simultaneous Translation Provided


Opening Remarks


Presentations by Panelists


Panel Discussion, Q & A


Dr. Richard Morimoto, Bill and Gayle Cook Professor of Biology, Northwestern University
Dr. Robin Yasui, Director of Geriatrics, Denver Health
Ms. Linda Taira,Senior Manager, Communications, Boeing Defense, Space & Security


Dr. Atsushi Sunami, Advisor to the President; Deputy Director of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Program, Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye, President, U.S.-Japan Council

<To learn more about the Symposium, contact>
The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, Tokyo
TEL: 03-5369-6072  FAX: 03-5369-6042
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Biographies of Panelists and Coordinators

Dr. Richard Morimoto

Photo of Dr. Richard Morimoto

Dr. Richard I. Morimoto is the Bill and Gayle Cook Professor of Biology, Department of Molecular Biosciences , and Director of the Rice Institute for Biomedical Research at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. Dr. Morimoto has been continuously supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been a Visiting Professor at several international universities, including Osaka University and Kyoto University. He is a founder of Proteostasis Therapeutics, Inc. in Cambridge, MA, a biotech company developing small molecule therapeutics for age-associated degenerative diseases. As a faculty member, Dr. Morimoto helped found the Asian American Studies program at Northwestern University in 1995. In 2010, he was selected by the Japanese American Citizens League as recipient of its Japanese American of the Biennium Award. He holds a B.S. from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Chicago, and trained at Harvard University. Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: Hiroshima.

Dr. Robin Yasui

Photo of Dr. Robin Yasui

Dr. Robin Yasui is Director of Geriatrics at the nationally recognized Denver Health and Hospitals in Denver, Colorado. In this capacity, she developed and directs a program of care for 6,000 of Denver’s senior patients from over 60 countries. Also an Assistant Professor in Medicine at the University of Colorado, she is an award-winning teacher, lecturing on topics in Cultural Medicine to colleagues and students from wide-ranging healthcare disciplines. Dr. Yasui carries her passion for activism beyond the hospital walls, serving on boards in the Latino, Asian, immigrant and refugee communities. She attributes her dedication to serving diverse communities to her family roots. She follows in the footsteps of the Yasui family tree, including her uncle, Minoru Yasui, who spent over 40 years working for the Denver community she now serves. Dr. Yasui holds a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and an M.D. from Indiana University. She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine as well as a fellowship in Geriatric Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver. Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: Okayama.

Ms. Linda Taira

Photo of Ms. Linda Taira

Ms. Linda Taira is a senior manager at Boeing’s defense, space and security business unit. She has supported internal and CEO communications and has recently been assigned to lead communications for Boeing’s global satellite business, based in Los Angeles. Prior to Boeing, she was vice president and corporate secretary at the national headquarters of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). She was also a senior vice president of media relations at two international public relations firms, Hill & Knowlton and Ketchum. As a journalist, Ms. Taira served as chief congressional correspondent at CNN, as well as a correspondent at CBS News, where she covered the White House and Congress. Ms. Taira holds a M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Hawaii. Prefectures in Japan of ancestral origins: Fukuoka, Fukushima, Okinawa, Tokyo and Toyama.

Dr. Atsushi Sunami

Photo of Dr. Atsushi Sunami

Dr. Atsushi Sunami is currently Professor, and Special Assistant for the President, President’s Office at National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Japan. His research has concentrated on a comparative analysis of national innovation systems and an evolutionary approach in science and technology policy and public policy analysis in general. Dr. Sunami holds BSFS from Georgetown University. He obtained MIA and PhD in Political Science from Columbia University. He was a Fellow at Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry established by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan. He also worked as a researcher in the Department of Policy Research at Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. from 1989 to 1991. He was a visiting researcher at Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, and Tsinghua University, China. The recent publications include Intellectual Property Rights, Development, and Catch Up an International Comparative Study, edited by Hiroyuki Odagiri, Akira Goto, Atsushi Sunami, and Richard R. Nelson (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye

Photo of Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye

Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye is President of the U.S.-Japan Council, a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., dedicated to building people-to-people relationships between the United States and Japan. She is the former President and founding CEO of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, a position she held for twenty years. A recipient of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, Ms. Hirano Inouye has extensive experience in nonprofit administration, community education and public affairs with culturally diverse communities nationwide. Ms. Hirano Inouye’s professional and community activities include serving as Trustee and immediate past chair, Ford Foundation, Trustee and immediate past chair, Kresge Foundation; Trustee, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Trustee, Washington Center, and Trustee, Independent Sector. She was married to the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii. Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: paternal side from Fukuoka, maternal side from Tokyo.

The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership
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