The 2023 Japanese American Leadership Delegation attended orientation at the Japanese American National Museum. From left: (back row) Mark Okada, Fred Katayama, Kenta Washington, Audrey Yamamoto; (middle row) George Kobayashi, Lori Teranishi, Calvin Terada,  Jeffrey Maloney; (front row) Christine Pilcavage,  Kara Miyagishima.

WASHINGTON – Ten Japanese American leaders will travel to Japan from March 3 to 11 for the 2023 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program.

This trip to Tokyo and Shizuoka aims to build people-to-people relationships with prominent Japanese leaders and exchange ideas on how to further strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship.

Since its inception in 2000, the JALD program has sought to strengthen the long-term relationship between Japanese Americans and their motherland and expand the role they play in U.S.-Japan relations.

JALD is sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and organized by the U.S.-Japan Council.

Selected in 2019 for their accomplishments as Japanese American leaders, the delegates’ program was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be the 20th JALD delegation to visit Japan. The 2023 delegates are:

• Frederick H. Katayama (New York City), executive vice president, U.S.-Japan Council

• George Kobayashi (Chicago), president, Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd.

• Jeffrey Koji Maloney (Alhambra), chief counsel, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

• Kara Miyagishima (Denver), acting superintendent, Amache National Historic Site, National Park Service

• Mark Okada (Dallas), co-founder and managing partner, Sycamore Tree Capital Partners L.P.

• Christine Pilcavage (Cambridge, Mass.), managing director, MIT Japan Program, MIT International Science and Technology Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

• Calvin Terada (Seattle), director, Superfund and Emergency Management Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-Region 10

• Lori Teranishi (Honolulu), founder and CEO, iQ 360

• Kenta Washington (Great Falls, Va.), program manager, Boeing Company

• Audrey Yamamoto (San Francisco), chief operating officer, The Asian American Foundation

“Being part of the 20th delegation of Japanese American leaders is both an honor and a responsibility,” said Lori Teranishi, CEO of iQ 360. “I am grateful for the opportunity to exchange ideas with Japanese leaders at the highest levels of business, government and society, and form connections between our two countries that will allow us to not only continue to build partnerships between our two countries but one- on-one friendships that enrich our lives and our organizations.”

Select delegates will participate in a panel titled “Reflections from Japanese Americans on Today’s Drive for Diversity and Inclusion.”

Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks (Loyola Marymount University, JALD ’04) will give the keynote speech about solidarity between Japanese Americans and other minority communities and their roles, and a panel discussion will offer perspectives on the current state of American society and spaces for the Japanese American community within it.

For more information regarding the program, go to:

The U.S.-Japan Council develops and connects global leaders to create a stronger U.S.-Japan relationship. It is an organization whose members believe people-to-people relationships are a powerful way to bring together leaders in the U.S. and Japan to address and create solutions to mutual concerns.

USJC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization that was founded by a group of Japanese American leaders in 2008. In 2012, the U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) was created and in 2013, it became a public interest corporation (koeki zaidan hojin).

Biographies of Delegates

Frederick Hiroshi Katayama is a community leader, communicator and former multimedia journalist. He leads development as the executive vice president of the U.S.-Japan Council.

In his earlier career as a journalist, he won numerous awards for his coverage of business and general news in print, television and digital media. As an anchor and producer at Reuters, he hosted various TV and video shows ranging from world news to technology, business, and personal investing. Earlier, at CNN, he reported for “The Moneyline Newshour” and anchored several shows, including “Business Asia.”

As a reporter at Seattle’s CBS affiliate, KIRO-TV, he covered the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995. He began his career in television news in Tokyo reporting for the NHK show “Japan Business Today.” Prior to that, he wrote a new products column at Fortune magazine in New York and covered Japan’s economic rise as its Tokyo correspondent. He started his career at the Associated Press.

Katayama currently serves as a senior advisor at Japan Society in New York and a board member and vice president of the U.S. arm of the Manjiro-Whitfield Center for International Exchange. He was a founding board member of the U.S.-Japan Council.

A book written by his teacher, Columbia Professor Donald Keene, kindled his lifelong interest in Japan. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in East Asian languages and cultures from Columbia College and earned his M.S. as an East Asia fellow at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. He and several others co-wrote the book “Japan: A Living Portrait” (Kodansha International).

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: maternal side from Hakodate and Niigata, paternal side from Fukuoka.

George Kobayashi is the president of Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd., a national law firm founded in 1929 and headquartered in Chicago. Masuda Funai is one of the largest law firms in the U.S. specifically focusing its practice on assisting global Japanese corporations enter and succeed in the U.S.

For over 20 years, Kobayashi has served as legal counsel to Japan-based companies and their subsidiaries conducting business in North America. Building on his understanding and appreciation for the nuanced and evolving business cultures of Japan and the U.S., he represents clients in a wide range of cross-border business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances, intellectual property licensing and other commercial transactions.

He has served as regional vice chair of the U.S.-Japan Council, Midwest Region and serves on the Board of Directors of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Chicago. Kobayashi also serves on the Board of Directors of the Japanese American Service Committee Housing Corporation, which operates Heiwa Terrace, a senior residence for Japanese Americans. 

As legal counsel to the Consulate General of Japan in Chicago, Kobayashi serves as an advisor to consulate members and staff assisting Japanese nationals living in or visiting the Midwest. Prior to his election as president of his law firm, Kobayashi served as chair of the firm’s Commercial, Competition and Trade Practice and Intellectual Property Practice Groups.

He earned his B.S.B.A. from Creighton University and his J.D. from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law.

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: maternal side from Gunma, paternal side from Nagasaki.

Jeffrey Koji Maloney is chief counsel for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, an agency of the State of California dedicated to the protection of natural open space and urban parks, managing over 80,000 acres of parkland in the Los Angeles region.

In 2016, Maloney was elected to the City Council in Alhambra; he served as mayor from 2018 to 2019 and again in 2022. He is active in a variety of community and governmental organizations, serving as a board member of the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus of the League of Califoria Cities, the Go For Broke National Education Center, and the Clean Power Alliance. He was co-chair of the Alhambra Host Town Committee during the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.

He received his law degree from USC and completed his undergraduate studies at UC San Diego. Maloney lives in Alhambra with his wife, Akiko, and their two children.

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: Kumamoto.

Kara Miyagishima currently serves as acting superintendent of the Amache National Historic Site. Located in a remote corner of southeastern Colorado, Amache was one of ten sites where the U.S. government incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II. She also serves as program manager for the National Park Service’s Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program. This national program provides funding to various entities to preserve and interpret the sites and history associated with the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans.

Miyagishima is a member of the Japanese Hall Advisory Council with the Legacy of the Plains Museum in Gering, Neb., where they are preserving the history of the Japanese in Nebraska and the High Plains. This project is important to her family due to their incarceration at Gila River in Arizona and being able to return to the Scottsbluff, Neb. area during World War II. She has also served on the board of the Japanese American Resource Center of Colorado and was part of the Denver Buddhist Temple’s Minyo Kai for many years.

Miyagishima received her undergraduate degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder (English and ethnic studies), and master’s degree from the University of Colorado Denver (history), where she completed her M.A. thesis on the history of Japanese Americans in Colorado. 

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: Shizuoka, Fukuoka.

Mark Okada is co-founder and managing partner of Sycamore Tree Capital Partners L.P., a soon to be established alternative investment firm.

In 2019, he announced his retirement from Highland Capital Management, L.P, a multi-billion-dollar global alternative investment firm, where he was co-founder and chief investment officer. Okada oversaw Highland’s broad investment activities across the institutional and retail investment platforms, which operate a range of products and investment vehicles, from hedge funds and separate accounts, to mutual funds and ETFs.

With more than 30 years of experience in credit markets, Okada is widely regarded as an industry innovator in alternative credit investing; he was responsible for structuring one of the industry’s first non-bank collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) and is a pioneer in the development of the bank loan market. He is a regular guest on Bloomberg Television and CNBC, and is frequently quoted in the financial and business press.

Okada is on the Board of Directors at NexBank Capital, Inc., a Dallas-based financial services company. He is also devoted to a number of philanthropic and civic causes with a particular focus on education, health, faith-based service, and U.S.-Japan relations.

He serves as board chairman for Education Is Freedom, the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society and Karisopolis, LLC. He is also a trustee at the Japanese American National Museum, a board governor and strategy and governance committee member at The Dallas Foundation, a board member and investment committee member at the U.S.-Japan Council, and a member of the Education Reform Advisory Council at the George W. Bush Institute.

Okada received a B.A. in both economics and psychology, cum laude, from UCLA and has earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: Okayama, Hiroshima and Fukuoka.

Christine Pilcavage is managing director of MIT Japan Program with the MIT International Science & Technology Initiative at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has advised diverse international stakeholders in government, non-government, and grassroots organizations on business processes and cultural competence of Japan and the U.S., and the application of public health and educational best practices.

She has worked with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program as a participant, as an implementer and with the alumni association. She is a board member of the New England Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and the American Friends of the International House of Japan, regional co-chair of the U.S.-Japan Council, New England Region, a co-troop leader for Girls Scout Troop 82030, and a Scott M. Johnson fellow of the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program of the U.S.-Japan Foundation.

Pilcavage was born and raised in Japan, and has also lived in Cambodia, the Philippines, Kenya and the U.S. Her education includes UC San Diego (B.A. economics and psychology) and Columbia University (MIA, economic & political development and MPH).

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: maternal side from Osaka.

Calvin J. Terada serves as director for the Superfund and Emergency Management Division for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 10 in Seattle. His position oversees the cleanup of over a hundred long-term “Superfund” hazardous waste sites and management of environmental and public health emergencies in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Prior to this position, he served as branch chief for emergency management and spent nearly 20 years responding to and managing various types of emergencies and disasters.

Terada has 29 years of service with the EPA and was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in April 2020. He volunteers his time by serving as president of the 115-year-old Seattle Kumamoto Kenjin Kai (Prefectural Association), served various leadership positions with Japanese Community Service of Seattle and is a former board member of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington.

He is a fifth-degree black belt in judo, regularly volunteers as an instructor at Budokan Dojo, and is an internationally certified judo referee that has traveled all over the world.

Terada obtained his B.S. in environmental health from the University of Washington. He is married with two children.

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: maternal side from Tokyo, paternal side from Kumamoto.

Lori Teranishi is the founder and CEO of iQ 360, a certified woman- and minority-owned business communications consultancy that develops and executes strategies to help organizations manage major change initiatives, protect their reputations, and advance their ESG agendas. iQ 360 is composed of a diverse group of consultants headquartered in Honolulu with teams in San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C.

Teranishi provides award-winning strategic communications counsel to global corporations, startups, nonprofits and government agencies. She combines her operating experience managing large-scale P&Ls with her track record of launching communications campaigns that advance her clients’ business goals. She is frequently called upon for strategic planning, positioning, stakeholder relations, crisis response, change management and risk mitigation.

Before establishing iQ 360, she was vice president of product development at Visa, where she also served as chief of staff to the chief operating officer and worked in a variety of communications roles.

She holds bachelor’s degrees in mass communications and political science from the University of Utah and an MBA from the University of San Francisco.

She is the board chair of the Girl Scouts of Hawaii and a trustee with the University of Hawaii Foundation. She was named one of Ragan’s PR Daily Top Women in Communication in 2020.

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: maternal side from Kumamoto and Niigata, paternal side from Yamaguchi and Hiroshima.

Kenta Washington is a program manager for the Boeing Maritime Undersea Division. He retired from the U.S. Navy after 23 years of service as a nuclear trained submarine commander. He served as deputy branch chief at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, where he supported the Navy in future warfare requirements with regards to precision navigation and imagery support. He served the submarines USS Louisville, USS Maine, and USS Chicago.

While stationed in Yokosuka as COMSUBGRU 7’s submarine exercise planner, he experienced the March 11, 2011 earthquake. He was part of Operation Tomodachi as the Navy’s nuclear response team in Japan.

Washington has a master’s from the National War College (national strategic studies) and Catholic University of America (engineering management) in Washington, D.C. His undergraduate degree is in marine engineering from Massachusetts Maritime Academy. He is married with three children.

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: maternal side from Hokkaido.

Audrey Yamamoto serves as chief operating officer of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), a national foundation that was launched in 2021 with a commitment to accelerating opportunity and building prosperity and belonging for all AAPI communities. She has more than 20 years of executive leadership experience in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, where she has consistently helped organizations maximize their impact while building a collaborative, team-oriented culture.

Prior to joining TAAF, Yamamoto served as president and executive director of the Asian Pacific Fund, the only foundation dedicated to supporting the San Francisco Bay Area’s most vulnerable Asians and Pacific Islanders. Under her leadership, the fund reached historic levels of fundraising and grantmaking while launching new programs that increased its visibility.

Previously, she served as executive director of the Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco, where she led the organization through a strategic rebranding initiative that yielded unprecedented growth.

Yamamoto graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in economics and has an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA with an emphasis in nonprofit management and entrepreneurship. She serves on the board of the Asian Health Services Foundation and is an inductee of the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame, an alumnus of Leadership California and a recipient of the Asian Business League’s Leadership Award.

She is a fourth-generation Japanese American who was born and raised in Union City (Alameda County) and now resides in Oakland with her husband and two teenage sons.

Prefecture in Japan of ancestral origins: maternal side from Hiroshima and Okayama, paternal side from Tokushima.


The relationship between the U.S. and Japan is considered by many as the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and Japanese Americans are uniquely positioned to help shape it. The connections between Japanese and Japanese Americans are complex. While World War II played a major role in severing ties between Japanese Americans and Japan, today’s opportunities for collaboration and mutual benefit are great and demand a renewed commitment to involving Japanese Americans in U.S.-Japan relations.

The Japanese American Leadership Delegation provides Japanese American leaders with the opportunity to become acquainted or re-engaged with Japan and participate in discussions related to the role that Japanese Americans can play in addressing key issues that face both countries, now and in the future.

The first delegation was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to visit Japan in 2000. It included third- and fourth-generation Japanese Americans selected from various professional fields, including the educational, cultural, philanthropic, legal and political sectors. Since the initial trip, delegations of Japanese American leaders from throughout the U.S. have visited Japan every year since 2002.

JALD alumni have created a network to ensure that the commitment to strengthening U.S.-Japan relations is maintained. There have been JALD national reunions and several alumni groups have traveled back to Japan together to build on and sustain important relationships built on the program. Alumni are invited and encouraged to join the USJC’s international network of leaders and participate in council programming and events.

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