As of August 2020

U.S. Panel: Profile


Photo of KATO Ryozo

Hon. Amb. KATO Ryozo

Ambassador KATO Ryozo was the Ambassador of Japan to the United States of America from September 2001 to July 2008, and is the longest-serving Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. after the W.W.II. Ambassador Kato joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in April 1965 and held several positions in the Ministry such as Director of National Security Affairs Division in the North American Affairs Bureau, Director of Treaties Division in the Treaties Bureau, Deputy Director-General of North American Affairs Bureau, Director-General of Asian Affairs Bureau, Director-General of Foreign Policy Bureau and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs. As for overseas assignments, Ambassador Kato served four times in the U.S., including his tenure as the Consul-General of Japan in San Francisco and the Ambassador in Washington, D.C. Ambassador Kato also served in Australia and in the Arab Republic of Egypt.

Ambassador Kato served as Commissioner of Nippon Professional Baseball from 2008 to 2013. Since June 2009 to June 2017, he was a Member of the Board of Mitsubishi Corporation, and is currently Advisor to Palace Hotel Tokyo and Special Advisor to Central Japan Railway Company. Ambassador Kato received B.A. from the University of Tokyo and LL.M from Yale Law School. He was bestowed upon with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure in recognition of his public service on May 2017. He is Japan Chair of CULCON since 2015.

Vice Chair:

Photo of Dr. KUBO Fumiaki

Dr. KUBO Fumiaki

KUBO Fumiaki has been the A. Barton Hepburn Professor of American Government and History at the Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, the University of Tokyo since 2003. He is affiliated with the Nakasone Peace Institute as the Executive Research Director, as well as with the Japan Institute for International Affairs as a Visiting Scholar and the Tokyo Foundation as a Senior Research Scholar. He studied at Cornell University in 1984-86, at the Johns Hopkins University in 1991-93, and at Georgetown University and the University of Maryland in 1998-99. In addition, he was an Invited Professor at SciencesPo in Paris in the spring of 2009, and a Japan Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 2014. Kubo attended the Faculty of Law, the University of Tokyo, and received his B.A. in 1979 and Ph.D. in 1989 from the University of Tokyo. He is the author of many books which include: Modern American Politics (with ABE Hitoshi), Ideology and Foreign Policy After Iraq in the United States (editor), A Study on the Infrastructure of American Politics (editor). In 1989, he received the Sakurada-Kai Gold Award for the Study of Politics and the Keio Gijuku Award. In 2001 and 2002, Kubo served on the Prime Minister's Commission on the Study of Direct Election System of Prime Minister. Since 2007, Kubo is a member of the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON). From June 2016 to June 2018, he was the President of the Japanese Association for American Studies.From June 2016 to June 2018, he was the President of the Japanese Association for American Studies.


Photo of Mr. MIMURA Akio


MIMURA Akio is the Senior Advisor, Honorary Chairman of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation which was integrated by Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal. In his more than 40 years at Nippon steel, most of his career has been related to marketing strategy and sales for the manufacturing sector, such as automobile, construction, shipbuilding, home electric appliances and industrial machines. He became Representative Director and President of Nippon Steel in 2003, Representative Director and Chairman of the Company in 2008 and was named Director, Member of the Board and Senior Advisor of NSSMC on October 1, 2012. He is Senior Advisor, from June 2013

He was Chairman of World Steel Association (formerly IISI) from 2004 to 2005, and Vice Chairman of Japan Business Federation from 2005 to 2009.

Mr. Mimura is also an external director of Development Bank of Japan Inc., Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, public-private partnership fund, Tokio Marine Holdings, Inc., and Japan Post Holdings.

In addition to his career in business, Mr. Mimura is currently the Chairman of two councils for the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Also, he was appointed as a member of the National Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy in 2008-09.

He is the Chairman of Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, from November 2013.

Mr. Mimura is a graduate of the University of Tokyo in Economics and Harvard Business School. Australian National University, Honorary Doctorate in Science, 2012. Honorary Companion (AC) of the Order of Australia, 2012.

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Mr. AGAWA Naoyuki

Mr. AGAWA Naoyuki is currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Doshisha University in Kyoto, teaching American constitutional history and law as a member of the Faculty of Law of that university. Prior to joining the university in April 2016, he was professor of Keio University from April 1999 through March 2016, where he served as Vice President, International, between 2009 and 2013 and Dean of the Faculty of Policy Management between 2007 and 2009.
Mr. Agawa served as Minister for Public Affairs at the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C. (2002 - 05). Mr. Agawa was also Of Counsel to the law firm of Nishimura Partners (1996 - 2002), associate and Asian Partner of the law firms of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C. and Tokyo (1987 - 95) and Sullivan Cromwell (1984 - 85) and a member of the Legal Department of Sony Corporation (1977 - 87). He is licensed to practice law in the State of New York and the District of Columbia. Mr. Agawa is a graduate of the Law School (JD, 1984) and the School of Foreign Service (BSFS, magna cum laude, 1977) of Georgetown University.
Mr. Agawa’s books include: The Birth of an American Lawyer, The Friendship on the Sea, and American History Through the United States Constitution (for which he received the Yomiuri-Yoshino Sakuzo Award in 2005), and Constitutional Revisions and Changes in the United States.

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Dr. EGAWA Masako

EGAWA Masako is Specially Appointed Professor, Graduate School of Commerce and Management, Hitotsubashi University (since April 2020) . She is also an independent board director for Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. and Tokio Marine Holdings, Inc. Prior to joining Hitotsubashi University in 2015, she served as Executive Vice President of the University of Tokyo from 2009 through 2015, overseeing international affairs, public relations, alumni relations and development.

In 2001, Dr. Egawa founded the Japan Research Center of the Harvard Business School and served as its Executive Director until 2009. Prior to joining Harvard Business School, she worked in the investment banking industry for 15 years in New York and Tokyo, advising clients on M&A and capital raising transactions. She has served on the Tax Council (advisory body for the Prime Minister); the Financial System Council (advisory body for the Ministry of Finance); Council for Policy Evaluation of the Ministry of Education; and numerous councils. From 2014 to 2015, she served as the chair of the U.S.-Japan Research Institute. She received a B.A. in international relations from the University of Tokyo, an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration (Harvard Business School), and a Ph.D. in management from Hitotsubashi University.

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President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE).

After graduating from Keio University with a B.A. in law, OKAWARA Akio joined Sumitomo Corporation in 1973. During the span of his 40-year career with the company, he served in the automotive, overseas transport, and other departments. He was seconded in the 1980s to Los Angeles to serve as assistant to the president of Mazda Motors America, and in 1991-1997 he was posted as director of business development in Washington, D.C. Back in Tokyo, he headed Sumitomo’s Information Analysis and Research Department. In 2004, he was posted to the Sumitomo Shoji Research Institute, and he served as the executive director of the institute from 2006 to 2013.

In April 2014, Okawara became president and CEO of JCIE. He currently serves as a panel member of the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON) and is a member of the Foundation Council of the Japanese-German Center Berlin. He also serves as Japanese director of the UK-Japan 21st Century Group, and as a member of Japanese-German Forum and the Korea-Japan Forum. In the global health field, Okawara serves as director of the Global Health and Human Security Program Executive Committee, and director of the Friends of the Global Fund, Japan (FGFJ).

Photo of Mr. AKITA Hiroyuki

Mr. AKITA Hiroyuki

AKITA Hiroyuki is a Commentator of Nikkei. He regularly writes commentaries and columns, analysis mainly on foreign & international security affairs. He joined Nikkei in 1987 and worked at Political News Dept. (1998-2002) where he covered Japanese foreign & security policies, domestic politics. He was Senior & Editorial Staff Writer (2009-17) , and he also worked at “Leader Writing Team ” of the Financial Times in London (Oct-Dec, 17).

He was Beijing Correspondent (1994-98) and Washington Chief Correspondent (2002-06). In Beijing, he reported major news events such as death of Deng Xiaoping, Hong Kong handover to China. In Washington, D.C., he covered White House & Pentagon, State Department during Bush administration.

He graduated from Jiyu Gakuen College in 1987 and Boston University (M.A.). From 2006 to 2007, he was an associate of U.S.-Japan Program at Harvard University, where he conducted a research on U.S.-China-Japan relations. In March 2019, he won the Vaughn-Ueda International Journalist Award, a prize for outstanding reporting of international affairs. He is an author of two books in Japanese: “Anryu (Power Game of U.S.-China-Japan)”(2008), “Ranryu (Strategic Competition of U.S.-Japan and China)”(2016).

Photo of Ms. TSUKA Hiroko

Ms. TSUKA Hiroko

Ms. TSUKA Hiroko joined the Japan Foundation in 1981 after graduating from the Faculty of Foreign Studies (Spanish), Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Her work with the Japan Foundation at the Tokyo headquarters has been across many areas of expertise and now she is recognized as one of the leading figures in international cultural exchange. In 1989 she was assigned to the newly established representative office in Mexico, as the first female director. Since then, she has held important posts in areas such as Japanese-Language Education, Arts and Culture, and General Affairs. After holding the title of Managing Director of the Planning Department, Ms. Tsuka became the Executive Vice President in 2015 to be in charge of CULCON among other things. Presently, as Executive Vice President, she mainly oversees arts and culture projects in cooperation with various organizations all over the world.

Photo of Mr. SHIMATANI Hiroyuki

Mr. SHIMATANI Hiroyuki

SHIMATANI Hiroyuki was born in 1953. He graduated from the Department of Fine Arts, Faculty of Education, Tokyo University of Education. Before being appointed Executive Director at Kyushu National Museum in April 2015, he began his career as an assistant curator in the Calligraphy Division of Tokyo National Museum in 1984. He went on to serve in the same museum as the Senior Manager of the Calligraphy Section, the Senior Manager of the Historical Materials and Ethnology Division, the Senior Manager of the Exhibition Division, the Director of Cultural Property, the Director of Curatorial Research, and the Executive Vice Director (the Research Coordinator of National Institutes for Cultural Heritage Secretariat). His recent publications include Nihon no Bijutsu (Arts of Japan) 519: Wayo no sho (Japanese-style Calligraphy; August 1, 2009, Gyosei Corporation), Nihon no Bijutsu (Arts of Japan) 504: Bunjin no Sho (Calligraphy of Scholars; May 10, 2008, Shibundo Publishing), and Sho no Bi (Beauty of Calligraphy; July 15, 2013, Mainichi Shimbun Publishing Inc.). He is also a member of the Textbook Approval and Research Council (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) and the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO (MEXT).


Photo of Mr. ASO Yutaka

Mr. ASO Yutaka

Mr. ASO Yutaka is Chairman of Aso Corporation and Chairman of Aso Cement Co., Ltd.
After graduating from New College, Oxford, U.K. Special Diploma in 1972, he joined Aso Cement Co., Ltd. and was appointed President and CEO. and President of Aso Juku Educational Foundation in 1979, Chairman of Aso Corporation (2010), Chairman of Aso Cement Co., Ltd. (2016)

He held many prominent positions, such as Vice Chairman of Japan Cement Association, President of Educational CorporationFukuoka Futaba School, Chairman of Kyushu Economic Federation

Photo of Mr. MAKIHARA (Ben) Minoru, KBE

Mr. MAKIHARA (Ben) Minoru, KBE

MAKIHARA (Ben) Minoru is currently Director General of the Toyo Bunko. Mr. Makihara was the Senior Corporate Advisor of Mitsubishi Corporation since April 2010 to 2019. He joined Mitsubishi Corporation in 1956 and held several positions such as General Manager of the Washington Office of Mitsubishi International Corporation, U.S.A. in 1971, President of Mitsubishi International Corporation in 1987, President of Mitsubishi Corporation in 1992 and was appointed Chairman in 1998.

Mr. Makihara currently serves as the International Advisory Board of Hakluyt & Company Limited. He was bestowed upon with Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun on 2005 and Order of the British Empire on 2014. Mr. Makihara received B.A. from Harvard University.

Photo of Dr. SATO Teiichi

Dr. SATO Teiichi

SATO Teiichi was the Vice Minister of Education, Science, Sports and Culture from 1997 to 2000, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Delegate of Japan to UNESCO from 2003 to 2006. Dr. Sato joined the Minister of Education, Science, Sports and Culture in 1964 and held several positions in the minister such as Director-General, Science and International Affairs Bureau Director-General, Minister's Secretariat.

Dr.Sato served as Director-General, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science from 2000 to 2002. Since 2007 to 2009, he was the Executive Director, Tokyo National Museum and is currently Eminent Scholar Professor, J.F.Orberlin University, Honorary Executive Director, Tokyo National Museum, Senior Adviser, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Board Member, National Committee for UNICEF, Senior Adviser, International Association of University Presidents. Dr. Sato received B.L. from Faculty of Law, Kyoto University and Doctor of Policy Studies from National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies. He was bestowed upon with Officier de l'Ordre National du Mérit from France on 2002 and the Order of Sacred treasure, Gold and Silver Star on 2012.