Suzanne Basalla is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC). The Council promotes people-to-people relationships to strengthen ties between the United States and Japan, bringing together leaders across sectors, generations and regions.
Suzanne is also a member of the Japan Society of Northern California Board of Directors and Special Advisor to Career Girls. She rejoined USJC from her role as Chief of Staff at the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), a Silicon Valley-headquartered subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corporation that develops automated driving, robotics, and other human amplification technology for Toyota.
Prior to TRI, Suzanne had served from 2012-2017 under USJC's Founder, Irene Hirano Inouye, as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. She helped lead USJC through people-to-people connections, with a focus on investing in next-generation leaders through the public-private TOMODACHI Initiative, which was established in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Suzanne is a former Navy officer and her assignments included duty in Japan, the Pentagon, and Diego Garcia. Following her naval career, she was Director for Japan in the Office of the Secretary of Defense in Washington, DC. She subsequently was appointed Senior Advisor to John Roos, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, working at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from 2010-2012. In that capacity, she supported Ambassador Roos on the full portfolio of security, economic, political and cultural issues in the U.S.-Japan relationship. Suzanne graduated from the University of Virginia and received a master’s degree in Asian Studies from George Washington University. She spent two years at Keio University as an Olmsted Scholar. She has received the inaugural Ryozo Kato Award for service to the U.S.-Japan Alliance (2008), Nakasone Yasuhiro Award of Excellence (2021), and JCCI NY Eagle on the World (2022).