Japan-US Relations: the Role of Japanese Americans

By Glen S. Fukushima, Mitchell T. Maki and Taro Kono.

< Session Title >
G1 Global Conference 2014
Breakout Session III <B >
Japan-US Relations: the Role of Japanese Americans

< Date > September 15, 2013
< Venue > GLOBIS University, Tokyo Campus
< Duration > 1:15:49

< Session description >
The 442nd Regiment of the US Army, composed entirely of the Japanese-American soldiers, became "the most decorated unit in the US military history” during the World War II, but the Japanese-Americans living in the mainland US were sent to the internment camps at the same time. The history of the Japanese-Americans is not well known in Japan. This session will shed light on somewhat underrated roles played by Japanese-Americans in both historical and contemporary contexts of Japan-US relations.

Glen S. Fukushima
Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Mitchell T. Maki
Vice Provost, California State University Dominguez Hills

Taro Kono
Member of the House of Representatives


President and Chief Executive Officer, Airbus Japan K.K.

Senior Vice President, Airbus S.A.S.

Former President, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan

Glen S. Fukushima leads the Japan operations of Airbus S.A.S., the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial aircraft, with 55,000 employees from 85 nationalities, headquartered in Toulouse, France.

Before joining Airbus in February 2005, Fukushima was Co-President and Representative Director of the Japan operations of the NCR Corporation, the $5.6 billion global technology company headquartered in Dayton, Ohio. Before NCR, Fukushima was President (2000-2003) and Chairman (2003-2004) of the Japan operations of Cadence Design Systems, Inc., the $1.4 billion software company and world leader in EDA (electronic design automation), headquartered in Silicon Valley. From May 1998 to September 2000, he was President and Representative Director of the Japan operations of Arthur D. Little, Inc., the strategy management consulting firm. Before joining ADL, he was Vice President of AT&T Japan Ltd. Prior to AT&T, he was based in Washington, D.C. as Deputy Assistant United States Trade Representative for Japan and China (1988-1990) and Director for Japanese Affairs (1985-1988) at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Executive Office of the President. Before government service, he was in corporate law practice in a prominent Los Angeles law firm.

In December 1997, Fukushima was elected the 44th President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ), often described as the most influential American business organization outside the United States. He was re-elected in December 1998 to a second term as President. Previously, he served as ACCJ Vice President (1993-1997) and on the ACCJ Board of Governors (1992). He is on the Board of Directors of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, the America-Japan Society, and the Japan Forum on International Relations; Councilor of the Japan Management Association and the International Christian University; and adviser or board member of several major corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government advisory councils and commissions. In 1993-1994, he was Visiting Professor at Sophia University in Tokyo, and in 2002-2004 served as President of the Japan Stanford Association.

In the United States, Fukushima is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Founding Member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, Distinguished Associate of Stanford University’s Asia/Pacific Research Center, and, until June 2001, for eight years Vice Chairman of the Japan-United States Friendship Commission and Vice Chairman of the U.S. panel of CULCON (Joint Committee on United States-Japan Cultural and Educational Interchange). He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Japan Society of Boston and of the Japan Society of Northern California in San Francisco and on the Board of Trustees of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.

Fukushima’s publications include Nichi-Bei Keizai Masatsu no Seijigaku [The Politics of U.S.-Japan Economic Friction], winner of the 9th Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize in 1993. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, Japan Times, and numerous Japanese-language publications. Fukushima was selected by Tokyo Journal (9/96) as one of the “50 Foreigners in Tokyo Who Make a Difference” and by World Trade Magazine (6/97) as one of the “25 Most Influential U.S. Global Visionaries.” He received the “Excellence 2000” Award from the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce in 1999 and the “Alumni Hall of Fame” Award from Stanford University in 2002.

A native of California, Fukushima was educated at Deep Springs College, Stanford University, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Law School. At Harvard, he was a National Science Foundation Fellow and a Teaching Fellow for Professors David Riesman and Ezra F. Vogel and former Ambassador Edwin O. Reischauer. He has studied and worked in Japan for over 20 years, including at Keio University, a daily newspaper, an international law firm, and as a Fulbright Fellow and a Japan Foundation Fellow at the Faculty of Law, University of Tokyo.

Mitchell T. Maki is Vice Provost of Academic Affairs at California State University Dominguez Hills. Dr. Maki received a doctorate degree (1993), a master’s degree (1984) in social work, and a bachelor’s degree in public affairs (1982) from the University of Southern California. Dr. Maki is the lead author of Achieving the Impossible Dream: How Japanese Americans Obtained Redress, a detailed case study of the passage of the 1988 Civil Liberties Act. This critically acclaimed book documents the development of the redress movement from its earliest roots during World War II, through its passage and implementation. In 2000, the book received the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award. Dr. Maki is recognized as a leading scholar on the Japanese American redress movement. He serves on the Board of Governors and on the Scholarly Advisory Council of the Japanese American National Museum.


Mr. Kono Taro is a member of the House of Representatives. He graduated from Keio High School in Yokohama and from Georgetown University in Washington DC. He also attended the Central School of Planning and Statistics in Warsaw, Poland in 1984. Kono joined Fuji Xerox in 1986. He moved to Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific in Singapore in 1991. Kono was elected to the House of Representatives for the first time in 1996, and has been successively re-elected since then. In 2002, he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Public Management. Until 2009, Kono was the Chairman of the Standing Committees on Foreign Affairs. He also served as Senior Vice Minister of Justice from November 2005. In 2010, he was appointed as Deputy Secretary-General and to the Shadow Cabinet as Minister of State for Government Revitalization and Civil Service Reform. He has been President of Central Institute of Politics since 2012.