Kate Leonard is conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon by Consul General Kenko Sone on Feb. 2.

SAN DIEGO — On Feb. 2, the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles held a conferment ceremony for Fall 2022 Decoration recipient Kate Leonard, who is the honorary consul of Japan in San Diego.

Leonard received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon (旭日中綬章 Kyoku Jitsu Chuu Jushou) for her contribution to promoting exchanges and friendship between Japan and the U.S.

The ceremony, held at the Inamori Pavilion, Japanese Friendship Garden of San Diego, in Balboa Park, was attended by her family and relatives, as well as people from a wide range of fields whom she has worked with in the past to promote mutual understanding between Japan and the U.S., such as naval defense, culture, education, and the political sphere.

Leonard majored in Japanese studies at San José State University and in 1973 she studied in Okayama Prefecture through San Jose’s Sister City Program. Subsequently, she worked as the only American Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Japan’s largest audit corporation in Osaka for four years, through which she deepened her friendship with Japan.

After she returned to the U.S., she provided services and advice regarding audits, accounting and international tax to a number of Japanese companies, Japanese nationals and Japan-related organizations.

Friends and family of Kate Leonard gather for a group portrait.

From 1996 to March 2021, she served as a board member of the Japan Society of San Diego and Tijuana, and for three years from 2005, as the chair of the board, conducting various activities to promote understanding of Japan in the San Diego area.

In addition to her local contributions, she also played an important role internationally as a board member of American Institute of CPAs and member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. In 2000, she was included “San Diego’s Women Who Mean Business” by the San Diego Business Journal.

In recognition of these achievements, she was appointed to be what is now called honorary consul of Japan in San Diego in 2012, and served as president of the San Diego Consular Corps for five years. As an honorary consul, she contributes to consular affairs by assisting Japanese nationals and promoting people-to-people exchanges and mutual understanding between Japan and San Diego.

Since 2017 she has served on the board of the Kyoto Prize Symposium Organization. In June 2022, she celebrated her 10th year as an honorary consul, and she continues to be active in that role.

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