2023 Japanese American Leadership Delegation

Fred Katayama (JALD ’23)
USJC Executive Vice President

The ​delegates of the 2023 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program met a star-studded lineup of Japanese movers and shakers that would be the envy of any visiting Senator. The ten members returned home on March 1​1 after a week of meetings, discussions and networking opportunities. ​JALD aims to strengthen U.S.-Japan relations by connecting top leaders from both sides of the Pacific.  

The delegates sightseeing in Shizuoka

Under the glare of media flashbulbs, the group met Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio. The Prime Minister mentioned that he had learned about the history of Japanese Americans when he toured the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, and he expressed his gratitude for the contributions Nikkei have made in strengthening ties between the two nations.  

The delegation thanked Kishida for recognizing the important role of the Japanese American community. Members told him the trip deepened their understanding of Japan through the people-to-people connections they had made.

The Prime Minister took photos with each of the delegates, including ​Audrey Yamamoto.

More information is available here.

Among the other leaders the delegates met were Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel and Digital Transformation Minister KONO Taro, who has met each of the past 19 delegations. The delegates also held talks with representatives from the Japan-U.S. Parliamentary Friendship League, Japan Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shizenkan University, USJC members in Japan and big business groups Keidanren and Keizai Doyukai. They also enjoyed a special treat: tea with Princess Takamado at the Akasaka Palace.

Later that week, the delegates participated in a symposium where they talked about their personal experiences that made them strong advocates for diversity and inclusion. The roughly 1​00 individuals who attend​ed learned about the social justice movements spawned during the pandemic and what they can personally do to promote diversity and inclusion.​ (For more information, click here.) The delegates capped off the week by attending a “Future of Food” conference organized by Pasona Group and the U.S.-Japan Council and one last night of karaoke. (For more information about the event, click here.)

The trip started with a two-day swing through Shizuoka Prefecture, where the delegates toured a tea museum and participated in a tea ceremony before visiting Governor KAWAKATSU Heita. 

The JALD program is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and organized by USJC.

See more photos here.

~Fred Katayama, USJC Executive Vice President (JALD ’23)

WASHINGTON, DC – Ten Japanese American leaders traveled to Japan from March 3 to 11 for the 2023 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program. Organized by the U.S.-Japan Council and sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the JALD program aims to strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship by facilitating people-to-people connections between prominent Japanese American and Japanese leaders. 

This year’s trip, which marked the 20th delegation since the program’s inception in 2000, brought delegates to Tokyo and Shizuoka to meet with top government, business, non-profit and other notable Japanese leaders. 

Read more here.

On March 11 – 12, 2022, the 2020 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) met in Los Angeles in lieu of their scheduled trip to Japan.  Despite the trip’s postponement, the meeting was an opportunity to update the delegates on current affairs in Japan. Topics included Japanese politics, regional security, social justice, and the impact of COVID-19 on Japan. Read more.

On March 11 – 12, 2022, the 2020 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) met in Los Angeles in lieu of their scheduled trip to Japan.  Despite the trip’s postponement, the meeting was an opportunity to update the delegates on current affairs in Japan. Topics included Japanese politics, regional security, social justice, and the impact of COVID-19 on Japan.

The two-day meeting kicked off with welcome remarks from U.S.-Japan Council (USJC) Board Chair Paul Yonamine and organizational updates from CEO Suzanne Basalla.

Read more here.

From January 31 to February 1, the 2020 class of the Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) gathered for an intensive two-day orientation in Los Angeles. The orientation was held at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and led by USJC Senior Vice President Kaz Maniwa (JALD ’00) and Consul Shigeru Kikuma of the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles. The delegates were introduced to each other, the program and host organizations. In addition, they were given an overview of historical and current issues pertaining to U.S.-Japan relations in preparation for their trip to Japan.

The delegates with Member of the USJC Board of Councilors George Takei (center), his husband Brad (second from right) and USJC Board Member Yuko Kaifu (fourth from left)

Read more here.

2023 Delegation

Executive Vice President, U.S.-Japan Council

Frederick Hiroshi Katayama is a community leader, communicator and former multimedia journalist. He leads development as the Executive Vice President of the U.S.-Japan Council. In his earlier career as a journalist, he won numerous awards for his coverage of business and general news in print, television and digital media. As an anchor and producer at Reuters, he hosted various TV and video shows ranging from world news to technology, business, and personal investing. Earlier, at CNN, he reported for “The Moneyline Newshour” and anchored several shows, including “Business Asia.” As a reporter at Seattle’s CBS affiliate, KIRO-TV, he covered the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995. He began his career in television news in Tokyo reporting for the NHK show, “Japan Business Today.” Prior to that, he wrote a new products column at Fortune magazine in New York and covered Japan’s economic rise as its Tokyo correspondent. He started his career at the Associated Press. Katayama currently serves as a senior advisor at Japan Society in New York and a board member and vice president of the U.S. arm of the Manjiro-Whitfield Center for International Exchange. He was a founding Board Member of the U.S.-Japan Council. A book written by his teacher, Columbia Professor Donald Keene, kindled his lifelong interest in Japan. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia College and earned his M.S. as an East Asia Fellow at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. He and several others co-wrote the book, Japan: A Living Portrait (Kodansha International).

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: maternal side from Hakodate and Niigata, paternal side from Fukuoka.

President, Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd.

Mr. George Kobayashi is the President of Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd., a national law firm founded in 1929 and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Masuda Funai is one of the largest law firms in the United States specifically focusing its practice on assisting global Japanese corporations enter and succeed in the United States. For over twenty years, Mr. Kobayashi has served as legal counsel to Japan-based companies and their subsidiaries conducting business in North America.  Building on his understanding and appreciation for the nuanced and evolving business cultures of Japan and the United States, he represents clients in a wide range of cross-border business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances, intellectual property licensing and other commercial transactions. He has also served as Regional Vice-Chair of the U.S.-Japan Council, Midwest Region and serves on the Board of Directors of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Chicago. Mr. Kobayashi also serves on the Board of Directors of the Japanese American Service Committee Housing Corporation (which operates Heiwa Terrace, a senior residence for Japanese-Americans).  

As legal counsel to the Consulate General of Japan in Chicago, Mr. Kobayashi serves as an advisor to Consulate members and staff assisting Japanese nationals living in or visiting the U.S. Midwest. Prior to his election as President of his law firm, Mr. Kobayashi served as chair of the firm’s Commercial, Competition and Trade Practice and Intellectual Property Practice Groups. He earned his B.S.B.A. from Creighton University and his J.D. from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law.

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: maternal side from Gunma, paternal side from Nagasaki.

Chief Counsel, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

Mr. Jeffrey Maloney is Chief Counsel for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, an agency of the State of California dedicated to the protection of natural open space and urban parks and manages over 80,000 acres (32,400 hectares) of parkland in the Los Angeles region. In 2016 Jeff was elected to the City Council in Alhambra, California, serving as Mayor from 2018 to 2019 and again in 2022. He is active in a variety of community and governmental organizations, serving as a board member of the Asian Pacific Islanders Caucus of the League of California Cities, the Go For Broke National Education Center, the Clean Power Alliance, and was co-chair of the Alhambra Host Town Committee during the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. He received his law degree from the University of Southern California and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, San Diego. Mr. Maloney lives in Alhambra with his wife, Akiko, and their two children.

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: Kumamoto.

Acting Superintendent, Amache National Historic Site, National Park Service

Ms. Kara Miyagishima currently serves as the Acting Superintendent of the Amache National Historic Site. Located in a remote corner of southeastern Colorado, Amache was one of ten sites where the U.S. government incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II.  Kara also serves as the Program Manager for the National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program. This national program provides funding to various entities to preserve and interpret the sites and history associated with the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Ms. Miyagishima is a member of the Japanese Hall Advisory Council with the Legacy of the Plains Museum in Gering, Nebraska where they are preserving the history of the Japanese in Nebraska and the High Plains. This project is important to her family due to their incarceration at Gila River in Arizona and being able to return to the Scottsbluff, Nebraska area during World War II. She has also served on the board of the Japanese American Resource Center of Colorado and was part of the Denver Buddhist Temple’s Minyo Kai for many years.

Kara received her undergraduate degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder (English and Ethnic Studies), and master’s degree from the University of Colorado Denver (History), where she completed her M.A. thesis on the history of Japanese Americans in Colorado.  

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: Shizuoka, Fukuoka.

Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Sycamore Tree Capital Partners L.P.

Mr. Mark Okada is Co-Founder and CEO of Sycamore Tree Capital Partners L.P., a specialist asset management firm with private and alternative credit investment expertise. Sycamore Tree was established in 2020 and has assets under management of approximately $1.3 billion across bank loans, high yield bonds, structured credit and special situations. With more than 30 years of experience in capital markets, Mr. Okada is widely regarded as an industry innovator in alternative credit investing; he was responsible for structuring one of the industry’s first non-bank collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) and is a pioneer in the development of the bank loan market. He is a regular guest on Bloomberg Television and CNBC, and is frequently quoted in the financial and business press. Mr. Okada is on the board of directors at NexBank Capital, Inc., a Dallas-based financial services company. He is also devoted to a number of philanthropic and civic causes with a particular focus on education, health, faith-based service, and Japanese-American relations. Mr. Okada serves as board chairman for Education Is Freedom, the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society and Karisopolis, LLC. He is also a trustee at the Japanese American National Museum, a board governor and investment committee member at The Dallas Foundation, a board member and investment committee Chair at the U.S.-Japan Council.  Mr. Okada received a B.A. in both economics and psychology, cum laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles and has earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: Okayama, Hiroshima and Fukuoka.

Managing Director, MIT Japan Program, MIT International Science & Technology Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ms. Christine Pilcavage is the Managing Director of MIT Japan Program with the MIT International Science & Technology Initiative at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has advised diverse international stakeholders in government, non-government, and grassroots organizations on business processes and cultural competence of Japan and the United States, and the application of public health and educational best practices. She has also worked with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program in various capacities (as a participant, as an implementer and with the alumni association). She is a board member of the New England Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and the American Friends of the International House of Japan, Regional Co-Chair of the U.S. – Japan Council, New England Region, a co-troop leader for Girls Scout Troop 82030, and a Scott M. Johnson Fellow of the US-Japan Leadership Program of the US-Japan Foundation. Ms. Pilcavage was born and raised in Japan, and has also lived in Cambodia, the Philippines, Kenya and the United States. Her education includes University of California, San Diego (B.A. Economics and Psychology) and Columbia University (MIA, Economic & Political Development and MPH).

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: maternal side from Osaka.

Director – Superfund and Emergency Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 10

Mr. Calvin J. Terada serves as the Director for the Superfund and Emergency Management Division for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Region 10 in Seattle, Washington. Calvin’s position oversees the cleanup of over a hundred long-term “Superfund” hazardous waste sites and management of environmental and public health emergencies in the States of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Prior to this position, Calvin served as the Branch Chief for Emergency Management and spent nearly 20 years responding to and managing various types of emergencies and disasters. Calvin has 29 years of service with the U.S. EPA and was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in April 2020. Calvin volunteers his time by serving as the President of the 115-year-old Seattle Kumamoto Kenijn Kai (Prefectural Alumni Association) and served various leadership positions with the Japanese Community Service of Seattle and is former board member of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington. Calvin is a fifth degree black belt in judo, regularly volunteers as an instructor at Budokan Dojo, and is an international certified judo referee that has traveled all over the world. Calvin obtained his B.S. in Environmental Health from the University of Washington. He is married with two children. 

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: Maternal side from Tokyo, paternal side from Kumamoto.

CEO & Founder, iQ 360

Lori Teranishi is the founder and CEO of iQ 360, a certified woman- and minority-owned business communications consultancy that develops and executes strategies to help organizations manage major change initiatives, protect their reputations, and advance their ESG agendas.  iQ 360 is comprised of a diverse group of consultants headquartered in Honolulu with teams in San Francisco, New York and Washington, DC. Lori provides award-winning strategic communications counsel to global corporations, startups, nonprofits and government agencies. She combines her operating experience managing large-scale P&Ls with her track record of launching communications campaigns that advance her clients’ business goals. She is frequently called upon for strategic planning, positioning, stakeholder relations, crisis response, change management and risk mitigation. Before establishing iQ 360, Lori was vice president of product development at Visa, where she also served as chief of staff to the chief operating officer and worked in a variety of communications roles. She holds bachelor’s degrees in mass communications and political science from the University of Utah and an MBA from the University of San Francisco. She is the board chair of the Girl Scouts of Hawai‘i and a Trustee with the University of Hawai‘i Foundation. She is a delegate for the U.S. Japan Council’s 2023 Japanese American Leadership Delegation and was named a Ragan’s PR Daily Top Women in Communication in 2020.

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: maternal side from Kumamoto & Niigata, paternal side from Yamaguchi & Hiroshima.

Program Manager, Boeing Company

Kenta Washington is a program manager for the Boeing Maritime Undersea Division. He retired from the U.S. Navy after 23 years of service as a nuclear trained submarine Commander. He served as Deputy Branch Chief at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, where he supported the U.S. Navy in future warfare requirements with regards to precision navigation and imagery support. He served the submarines USS LOUISVILLE, USS MAINE, and USS CHICAGO. While stationed in Yokosuka, Japan as COMSUBGRU 7’s submarine exercise planner, he experienced the March 11, 2011 earthquake. He was part of Operation TOMODACHI as the U.S. Navy’s nuclear response team in Japan. He has a Masters from the National War College (National Strategic Studies) and Catholic University of America (Engineering Management) in Washington, DC. His undergraduate degree is in Marine Engineering from Massachusetts Maritime Academy. He is married with three children.

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: maternal side from Hokkaido.

Chief Operating Officer, The Asian American Foundation

Audrey Yamamoto currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), a national foundation that was launched in 2021 with a commitment to accelerating opportunity and building prosperity and belonging for all AAPI communities. She has more than twenty years of executive leadership experience in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors where she has consistently helped organizations maximize their impact while building a collaborative, team-oriented culture. Prior to joining TAAF, Audrey served as the President and Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Fund, the only foundation dedicated to supporting the San Francisco Bay Area’s most vulnerable Asians and Pacific Islanders. Under her leadership, the Fund reached historic levels of fundraising and grantmaking while launching new programs that increased the Fund’s visibility. Previously, Audrey served as the Executive Director of the Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco, where she led the organization through a strategic rebranding initiative that yielded unprecedented growth. Audrey graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in economics and has an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA with an emphasis in nonprofit management and entrepreneurship. She serves on the board of the Asian Health Services Foundation, is an inductee of the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame, an alumnus of Leadership California and recipient of the Asian Business League’s Leadership Award. Audrey is a fourth generation Japanese American who was born and raised in Union City, California and now resides in Oakland with her husband and two teenage sons.

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: maternal side from Hiroshima and Okayama, paternal side from Tokushima.

2023 Delegates at the JALD Orientation in Los Angeles