Mayoral Appointee Responsible for Human Rights and Community Partnerships Selected to Go to Tokyo and Fukuoka Prefecture to Meet with Top Japanese Officials

DENVER – Derek Okubo, Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships, will travel to Japan from March 7 to 15 on the 2014 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program, which brings ten prominent Japanese Americans to Japan for a week-long trip dedicated to building people-to-people connections with Japanese leaders. In its 14th year, JALD provides opportunities for Japanese Americans to establish a meaningful role in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations across all sectors of society.

Okubo and the other delegates will visit Fukuoka in the Kyushu region, an economically and culturally dynamic prefecture where many Japanese Americans have their ancestral roots. They will also participate in a panel discussion sponsored by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC). The delegates will then visit Tokyo, where past delegations have typically met with the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and top business executives, among others. 

Okubo is the Executive Director for the Agency for Human Rights & Community Partnerships for the City and County of Denver. An appointee of Mayor Michael Hancock, Okubo oversees eight offices and ten community commissions that serve as a bridge between the Mayor’s Office, local government’s departments/agencies and the community. In 1990, he was appointed to the staff of Colorado Governor Roy Romer as a community liaison to northeast Colorado. He worked with communities on developing collaborative partnerships on issues such as substance abuse prevention and intervention, youth violence and community health. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President for the National Civic League. A main focus was his work with neighborhoods, communities, counties and regions with strategic planning and community problem-solving on a variety of issues such as race and inclusion, economic development, sustainability, education, public safety, civic engagement, immigrant integration, health and wellness and government structure. Okubo is a Colorado native and was raised in Littleton, Colorado. He earned a degree in Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado with minors in Communications and Sociology.

“I am so humbled and grateful to have this opportunity to travel with such talented colleagues to meet with the leadership of Japan,” said Okubo. “This will be a life-changing experience for all of us.”

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. USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye will lead the delegation. The program is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and organized by USJC.

** Okubo is available to comment before, during and after his trip to Japan. Contact USJC Communications Manager Shiori Okazaki at sokazaki@usjapancouncil.org or 202-223-6843 to arrange an interview. For more information and biographies of all ten delegates visit: www.usjapancouncil.org/programs/program/JALD

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