Dr. Adam Kassab, Lecturer of GLOBIS University in Tokyo, invites a variety of guests from around the world to discuss people, culture and business from an “Inside Japan” perspective. The twenty third guest is Mr. Taro Kono, Liberal Democratic Member of the House of Representatives.
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Inside Japan No.23 – Taro Kono
Guest: Mr. Taro Kono, Member of the House of Representatives of Japan
Host: Adam Kassab, GLOBIS
Date: April 11, 2014
Venue: Taro Kono’s office in Tokyo
KONO Taro, 51, is a sixth-term Liberal Democratic Member of the House of Representatives.
KONO Taro represents the 15th District of Kanagawa Prefecture, which includes the cities of Chigasaki, Hiratsuka, Oiso and Ninomiya on the Sagami Bay.
KONO was first elected to the House of Representatives as a Liberal Democratic Member in October 1996, at age 33, and has been re-elected without fail since. In the 2012 General Election KONO received 192,604 votes, which was the largest number of votes received by any candidate in the Election.
In 2002 he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Public Management, with responsibilities including administrative reforms, local government matters, and e-Government. KONO also served in Prime Minister Koizumi's final government as Senior Vice Minister of Justice from November 2005 to September 2006. Until the Parliament was dissolved in August 2009, KONO was the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of the Representatives.
After the LDP's devastating defeat in the 2009 General Election, KONO ran for the presidency of the Liberal Democratic Party and came in second to the former Finance Minister, TANIGAKI Sadakazu.
KONO donated part of his liver to his ailing father, KONO Yohei, former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, in a liver transplant operation in April 2002. KONO Yohei later became the longest serving Speaker of the House of Representatives. KONO Taro introduced major amendment to the Organ Transplant Law and secured its passage in 2009.
In 2004 KONO co-sponsored and enacted the Economic Sanction Amendment to the Foreign Exchange Law and the Port Close Law which allow the Government to refuse the entry of North Korean ships into Japanese ports.
KONO has championed consumer issues in LDP since he successfully established the new labeling rules on Genetically Modified Organisms. He sponsored the Consumer Protection Law of 2004 and enacted the Anti-Skimming Law of 2005. KONO has also played a leading role in the passage of many Government Bills on various environmental issues. KONO is a strong advocate of the Kyoto Protocol and has led the debate on global warming issues. He also enacted the Anti-Chlorofluoro-carbons Law of 2001.
KONO has voiced strong concerns over the Government's nuclear policy since 1997. He is especially critical of the Government's pursuit of the so-called "nuclear fuel cycle," whereby plutonium is extracted from spent fuel by re-processing within Japan. KONO also opposes the building of new nuclear power plants.
Born January 10, 1963, KONO enjoyed a warm family upbringing with his brother and sister in Hiratsuka. He graduated from KEIO Senior High School in Japan and the Suffield Academy in Suffield, Connecticut. KONO graduated from Georgetown University with the Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service. He also attended the Central School of Planning and Statistics (SGPiS) in Warsaw, Poland in 1984.
While in Washington, DC, KONO served for Democratic Congressman Richard Shelby of Alabama, now GOP Senior Senator of Alabama, for two years. KONO joined Fuji Xerox in 1986. He moved to Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific in Singapore in 1991. KONO had served as Managing Director in Nippon Tanshi from 1993 to 1996.
KONO had been Chairman of the Shonan Bellmare, a Professional Football Club in Japan, winner of the 1995-1996 AFC Cup-Winners' Cup and three time winners of both the Emperor's Cup and the National League. KONO is also Chairman of the Japan Race Horse Association, a non-profit organization which organizes Japan's largest thoroughbred yearling sales. KONO also teaches an evening graduate class at the Hosei University. KONO Taro and his wife, Kaori, have a son, Ippei, who was born in 2002. The KONOs are keen scuba-divers and movie/theater-goers
Dr. Kassab has extensive business experience across Asia as well as in Europe and the USA. He has held senior positions at Sanyo Electric, a global Japanese electronics manufacturer, Mercer, a US based global HR Consulting firm, and most recently at Culture Convenience Club, the dominant Japanese player in the consumer entertainment and lifestyle sector. His work has ranged from facilitating European wide strategic planning sessions aimed at exploring synergies and enhancing competitiveness, developing ways to internationalize and globalize business operations, and implementing change programs for overseas subsidiaries.
As well as his strong professional background he also recently completed doctoral research looking into the use of Stories and Storytelling in Organizations as a tool for inspiring employees and bringing about visionary change.
Bachelors degree, History & Philosophy of Science and Philosophy, University of Leeds (UK); Masters Degree, International Resources and Development Studies, University of Leeds (UK); Masters Degree, Organization Change, Ashridge Management Center (UK); Doctoral Research, Hitotsubashi University (JPN)