Japanese American Leadership Delegation


The Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program provides the opportunity for a select group of Japanese American leaders from across the United States to travel to Japan to engage with Japanese leaders in the business, government, academic, nonprofit and cultural sectors. The trip also allows Japanese leaders to gain a greater understanding of multi-cultural America through the experiences of a diverse group of Japanese Americans. Upon their return, delegates collaborate with program alumni, the local consulates, the U.S.-Japan Council and local and national community organizations to continue strengthening ties between the U.S. and Japan. 

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), represented in the U.S. by the Embassy of Japan in Washington, DC and 17 consulate general offices, sponsors the program. The U.S.-Japan Council provides administration and support for the program. JALD began in 2000 and 217 delegates have participated to date. The 2020 Delegation marks the 20th Anniversary of the JALD program and comprises a diverse delegation of prominent Japanese American leaders nationally.

Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the decision has been made to cancel the 2020 JALD trip. We are proud of the participants who were selected for the 2020 delegation and hope to continue to engage them in the future.

2020 Delegation

Anchor/Content Producer, Reuters News

Frederick Hiroshi Katayama is a multimedia journalist, communicator and community leader. He has won numerous awards for coverage of business and general news in print, television and digital. He is an anchor and content producer in New York at Reuters, where he has hosted TV and video shows ranging from world news to technology, business, and personal investing. Earlier, at CNN, he reported for “The Moneyline Newshour” while anchoring the show, “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 earlier covered Japan’s economic rise as its Tokyo correspondent. He started his career at the Associated Press. Outside of the newsroom, Katayama serves on the boards of Japan Society and the Center for International Exchange, where he is vice president. 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” (Kodanshsa).

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.  For over twenty years, he has been counseling Japan-based companies on conducting business in North America.  Drawing on his understanding and appreciation for the ever-evolving business cultures of Japan and the United States, he represents his clients in a wide range of cross-border business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances and other commercial transactions. He has also served as Regional Vice-Chair of the U.S. – Japan Council, Midwest Region, since 2015 and serves on of the Board of Directors of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Chicago. He previously served on the Board of Directors of the Japanese American Service Committee Housing Corporation (which operates Heiwa Terrace, a senior residence for Japanese-Americans).  Prior to his election as President of his law firm, Mr. Kobayashi was the chair of the firm’s Commercial Transactions Practice Group and was a founder of the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. He earned his B.S.B.A. from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska and his J.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago – John Marshall Law School.

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

Chief Counsel, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

Mr. 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. 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 young two children.

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: Kumamoto.

Program Manager, National Park Service

Ms. Kara Miyagishima 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.  Born and raised in Colorado, Ms. Miyagishima 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 & Managing Partner, Sycamore Tree Capital Partners L.P.

Mr. Mark Okada is Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Sycamore Tree Capital Partners L.P., a soon to be established alternative investment firm. In 2019, Mr. Okada announced his retirement from Highland Capital Management, L.P, a multi-billion-dollar global alternative investment firm, where he was co-founder and Chief Investment Officer. Mr. Okada oversaw Highland’s broad investment activities across the institutional and retail investment platforms, which operate a range of products and investment vehicles, from hedge funds and separate accounts, to mutual funds and ETFs. With more than 30 years of experience in credit 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 strategy & governance committee member at The Dallas Foundation, a board member and investment committee member at the U.S.-Japan Council, and a member of the Education Reform Advisory Council at the George W. Bush Institute. 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, cultural competence, 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; 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.

Acting Branch Chief – Remedial Cleanup Branch – Superfund and Emergency Management Division – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 10

Mr. Calvin J. Terada serves as the Acting Remedial Cleanup Branch Chief in the Superfund and Emergency Management Division for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 10 in Seattle, Washington. Calvin’s position oversees the cleanup at over 150 sites located in the States of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington that contain persistent hazardous wastes that could harm communities. Prior to this position, Mr. Terada served as the Emergency Management Branch Chief where he oversaw emergency response planning and preparedness and managed responses to a variety of public health and environmental emergencies. Mr. Terada is the President of the 112-year-old Seattle Kumamoto Kenjin Kai (Prefectural Alumni Association) and Vice President of the Japanese Community Service of Seattle. He is a 5th 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. Mr. Terada obtained his Bachelors in Science in Environmental Health from the University of Washington.

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

Founder and Principal, iQ 360

Ms. Lori Teranishi is the founder and principal of iQ 360, a marketing and communications firm with offices in Denver, Honolulu, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Ms. Teranishi provides strategic counsel to companies managing high-stakes crises, repositioning their brands and undergoing organizational change. Prior to founding iQ 360, Ms. Teranishi was vice president of product development with Visa U.S.A., where she led a team of 60 developers and product managers to launch a national loyalty program for Visa credit and debit cards. In her seven years with Visa, Ms. Teranishi held a variety of positions including chief of staff to Visa USA’s chief operating officer where she instituted a company-wide business planning process and assisted in negotiating major deals with Fortune 50 companies. While at Visa, Ms. Teranishi also oversaw product PR, technology PR, managed CEO visibility and provided crisis communications strategy for a variety of high-stakes issues. Prior to joining Visa, Ms. Teranishi was an account manager at Cunningham Communications and director of communications for Quaker State Corporation. Her work has been awarded a variety of industry awards and she is a frequent speaker at the national level on marketing and communications topics. Ms. Teranishi received an M.B.A. from the University of San Francisco, a B.S. in Mass Communications and a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Utah. She is a Trustee with the University of Hawaii Foundation, Board Chair of the Girl Scouts of Hawaii, and a member of the U.S. Japan Council. She lives in Honolulu with her husband and daughter.

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

Commander, U.S. Navy; Deputy Branch Chief, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

CDR Kenta Washington serves as a Deputy Branch Chief at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, where he supports the U.S. Navy in future warfare requirements with regards to precision navigation and imagery support. He previously served on submarines aboard the USS LOUISVILLE, USS MAINE, and USS CHICAGO. He served as the Executive Officer of the USS LOUISVILLE out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. As the Exercise Officer for Commander Submarine Group Seven in Yokosuka, Japan, he developed and executed submarine exercises throughout the Pacific, working closely with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force. These exercises also supported South Korea, India, Singapore, Malaysia, United Kingdom and France in the 5th and 7th Fleets. He has a Masters from the National War College (Strategic Studies) and Catholic University of America (Engineering) 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.

President & Executive Director, Asian Pacific Fund

Ms. Audrey Yamamoto serves as the President and Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Fund, the only foundation dedicated to improving the lives of the most vulnerable Asian and Pacific Islanders in the Bay Area. She provides strategic oversight for the Fund’s fundraising, grantmaking and programmatic efforts. Prior to joining the Asian Pacific Fund, Audrey was the Executive Director of the Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco, where she led the organization through a rebranding initiative that yielded unprecedented growth. She has also served as Chief Operating Officer at Plugged In, a community technology center in East Palo Alto. Ms. Yamamoto is currently a trustee for the Redwood Day School and Asian Health Services Foundation. She holds a B.A. in economics from the University of California, San Diego and an MBA from the Anderson School at the University of California, Los Angeles. Ms. Yamamoto resides in Oakland with her husband and two boys.

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

2020 Delegates at the JALD Orientation in Los Angeles


The relationship between the U.S. and Japan is considered by many as the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and Japanese Americans are uniquely positioned to help shape it. The connections between Japanese and Japanese Americans are complex. While World War II played a major role in severing ties between Japanese Americans and Japan, today’s opportunities for collaboration and mutual benefit are great and demand a renewed commitment to involving Japanese Americans in U.S.-Japan relations.

The Japanese American Leadership Delegation provides Japanese American leaders with the opportunity to become acquainted or re-engaged with Japan and participate in discussions related to the role that Japanese Americans can play in addressing key issues that face both countries, now and in the future.

The first delegation was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to visit Japan in 2000. It included third and fourth generation Japanese Americans selected from various professional fields including the educational, cultural, philanthropic, legal and political sectors. Since the initial trip, delegations of Japanese American leaders from throughout the United States have visited Japan every year since 2002.

Program Alumni

JALD Alumni have created a network to ensure that the commitment to strengthening U.S.-Japan relations is maintained. There have been JALD national reunions and several alumni groups have traveled back to Japan together to build on and sustain important relationships built on the program. Alumni of the program are invited and encouraged to join the U.S.-Japan Council’s international network of leaders and participate in Council programming and events.