Symposium Learning from the History of Japanese Americans: Hints to Promote Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

April 12, 2023


Keizai Koho Center and Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) held the above symposium in cooperation with the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and U.S.-Japan Council. Ms. Masako Miki, Director of External Relations of the Japanese American National Museum first introduced the history of Japanese Americans to the audience. Her presentation was followed by Mr. Steve Sakanashi, Director of Marketing and Global Strategy of Matchbox Technologies and Board Member of the U.S.-Japan Council (Japan), who shared his personal story about his family’s experience in the U.S. during World War 2.

In the panel discussion on DE&I moderated by Ms. Kaori Iida, Director of the Digital News Department of NHK, Ms. Ann Burroughs, President and CEO of the National Japanese American National Museum, noted that there is a shift in rhetoric in the civil society and political landscape when talking about the hate crimes against Asian Americans. She emphasized the importance of incorporating diverse perspectives and opined that the greatest creativity and innovation occurs when people from different backgrounds and experiences work together to solve problems and create opportunities.

Ms. Debra Nakatomi, President and CEO of Nakatomi PR, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic and remote work has changed the culture of work and the workplace, requiring companies to rethink and pivot to meet worker expectations. She noted that DE&I is becoming increasingly important in the U.S., as companies and employees embrace the benefits and business imperative of a more inclusive workforce, but challenges still remain. From her experience as a female entrepreneur, she explained the need for a mindset shift, embracing an enterprise wide awareness of DE&I and the commitment to continuous learning.

Mr. Steve Sakanashi stressed the importance of understanding diversity and nurturing a sense of emphathy from an early age.

The symposium provided the participants with helpful insights to promote diversity in Japanese society and businesses.