2013 Japanese American Leadership Delegation Announced

Los Angeles, CA – Ten Japanese Americans have been selected to travel to Japan where they will visit Fukushima Prefecture followed by Tokyo for meetings with newly elected top officials from March 8-16, 2013.

In its 13th year, the Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) provides opportunities for Japanese Americans to establish a meaningful role in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations. The program also allows Japanese officials from all sectors of society to become acquainted with multi-cultural America and the diversity of the Japanese American population.

For the first time in program history, the delegation will visit Fukushima in the Tohoku region to support and learn from those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and in particular, the nuclear crisis. The delegation will focus on recovery and revitalization when meeting with officials. They will also participate in a symposium sponsored by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and the U.S.-Japan Council.

"Being with the fire department for 36 years, I've had the opportunity to respond to many incidents. In Fukushima, I want to learn about how emergency personnel handled the disasters and I hope to bring back lessons learned not only to the fire department but to the community as a whole," said 2013 Delegate David Yamahata at a press briefing. It will be his first trip to Japan.

In Tokyo the delegates typically meet with the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and top business executives, among others.

The delegates come from across the country and are active in their communities, engaged in U.S.-Japan relations and committed to deepening ties between Japanese Americans and Japan. U.S.-Japan Council President Irene Hirano Inouye will lead the delegation. The program is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and organized by the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC).

The delegates participated in an orientation program Jan. 25-26 at the Japanese American National Museum and Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in Los Angeles. They received briefings by leaders from the U.S.-Japan community including Consul General Jun Niimi.


Ms. Julie Azuma (New York, NY)
President & Founder, Different Roads to Learning, Inc. & DRL Books, Inc.

Dr. Marion Friebus-Flaman (Schaumburg, IL)
Principal, Thomas Dooley Elementary School

Dr. Martin Iguchi (Washington, DC)
Dean & Professor, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University

Mr. Kenzo S. Kawanabe (Denver, CO)
Partner, Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP

Dr. Emily Murase (San Francisco, CA)
Executive Director, San Francisco Department on the Status of Women & Commissioner, San Francisco Board of Education

Mr. Verne Naito (Portland, OR)
Vice President, Naito Corporation

Mr. Kelly Ogilvie (Seattle, WA)
Founder, Chairman, President and Chief Operating Officer, Quemulus, Inc. & Founding Partner, Social Milli, LLC

Mr. Eric Takahata (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Managing Director, Hawaii Tourism Japan & President, a.link LLC

Chief David Yamahata (Los Angeles, CA)
Chief Deputy, Los Angeles Fire Department

Dr. Amy D. Yamashiro (Arlington, VA)
Data & Evaluation Coordinator, Arlington Public Schools

Click here for more information including delegate biographies.