Dr. Yamanaka addressing the audience
Following the success of the inaugural Business Advisory Board (BAB) meeting in November 2014 and the second meeting last March, USJC held its third BAB meeting at the Tokyo American Club on June 11. BAB is led by Mr. Masaaki Tanaka, Vice Chair of the USJC Board of Councilors, and Mr. Paul Yonamine, Member of the USJC Board of Directors.
Nobel Laureate and Member of the USJC Board of Councilors Dr. Shinya Yamanaka keynoted the gathering. He addressed close to 100 Japanese and American business leaders, shared his personal journey and accomplishments in science innovation, and acknowledged the diverse team members who work with him to achieve groundbreaking results.
Dr. Yamanaka delivered his presentation with humor and wit, entertaining the audience while also imparting the critical and broad applications of his research. He emphasized the value of interdisciplinary studies and teamwork to drive innovation and push the boundaries of science. He reiterated the importance of research goals that aim to contribute to a higher quality of life. During the reception that followed his speech, the audience discussed and debated ethics, immortality, innovation and leadership.
Dr. Yamanaka shares a laugh with guests
Ms. Miki Tsusaka, Senior Partner and Managing Director of Boston Consulting Group, was impressed with Dr. Yamanaka’s team, which included women leaders. When Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki asked where the idea for iPS stem cell research had come from, Dr. Yamanaka explained that he was inspired by the results of another experiment that a senior researcher conducted. Mr. Akihiro Ichimura of Mitsui Chemicals mentioned that it is important for businesses, not only government, to seriously consider investing in quality research. He further stated that USJC events like Business Advisory Board meetings offer essential cross-industry and exchange opportunities for Japanese and American leaders to address vital issues such as these.
BAB meetings are supported in part by USJC interns from Japanese and American universities. Ms. Naomi Cormier, TOMODACHI alumna and senior at Wellesley College, said she was encouraged and inspired by Mr. Yonamine, who emceed this meeting. “Though many of his peers were eager to speak to him,” she said, referring to his position as President of IBM Japan, “he greeted us warmly as we approached him, and thanked us for helping at the event.”
The Business Advisory Board is comprised of business leaders in Japan with extensive experience in the United States, and American business leaders working in Japan. They are invited to advise USJC leadership on innovative programs, with the aim to diversify membership and expand the Council's impact in Japan.
(L-R) Mr. Yonamine; Mr. Tanaka; USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye; Dr. Yamanaka; Mr. Dennis Teranishi, USJC Chairman; and Mr. Ernest Higa, Chair of the USJC(J) Board of Directors
See more photos from the meeting here.