U.S.-Japan Council President to Retire; Board Launches CEO Search as USJC Positions for the Future

The U.S.-Japan Council has announced that it is entering a new phase, with the decision of President Irene Hirano Inouye to retire later this year, and the opening of a new position for a chief executive officer.

“The Board and I began discussing leadership succession around the tenth anniversary of USJC as we looked at how to meet the challenges of our next ten years. Coupled with some personal considerations, I believe it is the right time to begin this change, which will better position us in this new decade to address a host of emerging and evolving opportunities,” said President Hirano Inouye.

Phyllis Campbell, Chair of the Board of Directors, said that “after considerable deliberation, President Hirano Inouye and the Board of Directors have agreed 2020 is the opportune time to move forward with the next phase of leadership succession, one that will allow Irene to support the Council in an advisory role in the future.” Ms. Campbell said the Board has formed a Search Committee to begin the CEO search this week. The process is expected to take several months, with the goal of selecting a CEO during the second quarter.

In a special message to Council members, President Hirano Inouye wrote, “I am extremely proud that we have been able to grow substantially over the past 10+ years with the support of so many generous donors and supporters. We have an opportunity to build on our foundation and invest even greater resources to support the next generation of young leaders in the U.S. and Japan.”

President Hirano Inouye has overseen the growth of the non-profit organization, which was formed in late 2008, with these major accomplishments:

  • Created an organization that has brought together Japanese American leaders working with Japanese and other American leaders committed to strong U.S.-Japan relations through people-to-people connections at the regional, national and international levels.
  • Built the TOMODACHI Initiative, in partnership with the public and private sectors, to invest in the next generation of young Japanese and American leaders.
  • Increased the awareness of the important role that Japanese Americans and other diverse Americans can play in U.S.-Japan relations. Programs such as the Asian American Leadership Delegation Program have been an important part of our programming.
  • Established a permanent $10 million endowment to support scholarships for young Japanese and Americans to study abroad through the generosity of The Toshizo Watanabe Foundation.
  • Through the Emerging Leaders Program, engaged and invested in younger Japanese American leaders who are playing important roles in USJC and in their communities.

Ms. Campbell praised President Hirano Inouye for the Council’s successes over the past decade in developing meaningful connections between and among leaders in Japan and the U.S. “Irene’s tenure has been a remarkable one – from the day she accepted the role of spearheading the Council in its formative years to the impressive 700-member leadership organization it is today,” she said. “Irene Hirano Inouye has been a formidable and relentless champion of a stronger U.S.-Japan relationship and she has our enduring admiration and respect.” 

To see more information on the CEO position description and application information, click here.