Many USJC Members were actively involved in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Mrs. Abe's visit to Boston. Special thanks to Board Member Atsuko Fish and Council Member Anne Nishimura Morse for their contribution to the following report!
Welcome Reception by Secretary John Kerry
(L-R) Mrs. Abe, Secretary Kerry, Prime Minister Abe, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (Photo courtesy of Prime Minister Abe's Twitter, @AbeShinzo)
Board Member Atsuko Fish was one of a few dozen individuals invited to the residence of Secretary of State John Kerry for a small welcome reception on April 26. Ms. Fish thanked Prime Minister Abe for this leadership in empowering women in Japan. (Ms. Fish leads the Japanese Women's Leadership Initiative (JWLI) and has been involved in activities like the TOMODACHI MetLife Women's Leadership Program and the USJC-ACCJ Women in Business Summit.)
Mrs. Abe's Tour of MFA and Discussion with Women Leaders
Mrs. Abe with Council Member Anne Nishimura Morse (right)
On April 27, Mrs. Abe visited the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), Boston, which is celebrating the 125th anniversary of the founding of its Asian department. She was greeted by the director, Mr. Malcolm Rogers, and Council Member Anne Nishimura Morse, William and Helen Pounds Senior Curator of Japanese Art. Mrs. Abe toured the Japanese permanent collection galleries, which are currently scheduled for renovation and then viewed the recently re-opened Japanese garden Tenshin-en; the cherry trees were in full bloom. Although members of her entourage were very concerned about her tight schedule, she expressed her wish to spend time with individual works of art, particularly those by female artists. While viewing the exhibition In the Wake: Japanese Photographers Respond to 3/11, she took her own iPhone shots of the ground-breaking work of Shiga Lieko, who once lived in the town of Kitakama, and in the Hokusai show paused to examine the painting of three women by Hokusai’s daughter, Katsushika Oi. The well-known print of the “Great Wave” provided photo opportunities.
Mrs. Abe (third from left) with women leaders that include Ms. Fish (right)
After the tours in the galleries, Mrs. Abe met with six Japanese women leaders in a private reception room at the MFA. Over tea, the six women shared their activities with Mrs. Abe, who was very open and interested in learning about their projects. Ms. Fish, who was among the leaders, discussed the Japanese Disaster Relief Fund of Boston and JWLI.
Mrs. Abe (fourth from right) with Ms. Fish (right) and other leaders in Boston; to the left is Mrs. Nobuko Sasae, former conference interpreter and wife of Ambassador Keniichiro Sasae
Prime Minister Abe's Visit to Harvard and MIT
In the meantime, the Prime Minister delivered a speech at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, where he discussed the importance of reforms that address the economy, women's leadership, global issues and more.
He then visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which began with a tour of the MIT Media Lab, led by its director (and USJC Member) Joi Ito. He also met with the President of MIT, Japanese researchers and researchers in Japanese studies.
Prime Minister Abe with Council Member Joi Ito, Director of MIT Media Lab (right) (Photo courtesy of Kenko Sone, Prime Minister Abe's Director of Global Communications (@KenkoSone))