Ms. Věra Jourová

EU Commissioner, Justice, Consumers & Gender Equality

Ms Věra Jourová is currently European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. In 2014, before coming to the European Commission, Ms Jourová held the position of Minister for Regional Development in the Czech Republic. Previous to this, from 2006 to 2013, she worked in her own company as an international consultant on European Union funding, and also was involved in consultancy activities in the Western Balkans relating to the European Union Accession. In 2003 Ms. Jourová was appointed Deputy Minister for Regional Development, a position which she held for three years. Previously she worked as Head of the Department of Regional Development in the Vysočina Region, from 2001, and before that as Secretary and Spokesperson of the Třebič Municipal Office, from 1995 to 2001. Ms Jourová holds a Degree in Law (Mgr.) from the Charles University, Prague and a Master’s degree (Mgr.) in the Theory of Culture from the Charles University, Prague.

Dr. Danica Purg

President of the IEDC-Bled School of Management and Head of the European Leadership Centre

Professor Danica Purg is the President of the IEDC-Bled School of Management, Slovenia, and the President of CEEMAN, the association of 200 management development institutions from 50 countries, established with the aim to enhance management development in Central and Eastern Europe. She is also leading the European Leadership Centre (ELC).Prof. Purg is Fellow of Academy of International Business (AIB), fellow of the International Academy of Management (IAM), Doctor Honoris Causa at Moscow State University of Management, Estonian Business School and MESI – Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and IT, and honorary professor at Moscow International Higher Business School (MIRBIS). President of the Republic of Slovenia awarded her with the “Honorary Order of Freedom” for her contribution to management development in Slovenia and CEE.

Prof. Purg is also member of several international advisory boards of well-known business schools, member of European Cultural Parliament (ECP), a member of the Steering Committee of the UN Global Compact Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), and President of UN Global Compact Slovenia.

Mr. Katsunobu Kato

Minister for Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens, Minister for Working-style Reform, Minister in charge of Women's Empowerment, Minister of State for Gender Equality

Mr. Kato is a member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet, holding the portfolios of Minister for Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens, Minister for Working-style Reform, Minister in charge of Women’s Empowerment, Minister in charge of the “Challenge Again” Initiative, Minister in charge of the Abduction Issue, Minister of State for Measures for Declining Birthrate, and Minister of State for Gender Equality. His previous roles include Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary and Head of Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs. After graduating from The University of Tokyo, Mr. Kato entered the Ministry of Finance in 1979. He has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2003.

Dr. Sari Raassina

Member of the Finnish Parliament and President of the Finnish Council for Gender Equality

Dr Sari Raassina is currently a Member of the Finnish Parliament, President of the Finnish Council for Gender Equality and Chair of the Network of Women Members of the Finnish Parliament. She is Vice Chair of the National Coalition Party Parliamentary Group and was appointed to the position in June this year. Dr Raassina is a medical practitioner and was a specialist in oncology and radiotherapy at Kuopio University Hospital and a clinical lecturer at Kuopio University. She obtained her MD from Kuopio University, Finland.

Dr. Jesper Edman

Researcher, Hitotsubashi University

Jesper Edman is currently an Assistant Professor at Hitotsubashi University, Graduate School of Commerce and Management. His research focuses on the globalization of Japanese firms and industries. Edman’s work has examined the Japanese banking industry’s response to foreign innovations, the introduction of new craft industries into Japan from abroad, and the evolution of Japanese companies’ internationalization strategies, among others. His current research examines Japanese company strategies for integrating women and foreigners into their human capital, and its implications for the companies’ global operations.

Mr Edman received his PhD in international management from the Institute of International Business at the Stockholm School of Economics and an MSc in International Economics from the Stockholm School of Economics. He has also worked previously as a research analyst at Deutsche Securities in Tokyo.

His works have appeared in The Journal of International Business, Research in the Sociology of Organizations, and Journal of Management Studies, among others.

Ms. Kuniko Inoguchi

Member, House of Councillors, Japan

Kuniko Inoguchi, Ph.D. is a Member of the House of Councillors of Japan, Chairman, Special Committee on Okinawa and Northern Problems, and Member, of the Science Council of Japan. She was appointed Minister of State for Gender Equality and Social Affairs (2005 to 2006), and elected as Member of the House of Representatives (2005 to 2009). She also served as Acting Director-General of the International Bureau of the Liberal Democratic Party.

Prior to her political appointments, she served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Head of the Delegation of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland (2002 to 2004). Prior to her appointment as Ambassador, she taught first as Associate Professor, then Professor of Political Science in the Faculty of Law at Sophia University, Tokyo (1981 to 2002). She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University (1982), M.A. from Yale University (1977), and B.A. from Sophia University (1975).

Mr Raimo Pärssinen

Chair, Standing Committee on Labour Affairs, Swedish Parliament

Raimo Pärssinen is a Member of the Social Democratic Party for Gävleborg County, Sweden. Mr. Pärssinen has been a member of Parliament since 1998 and Chair of the Committee on the Labour Market since 2014. He was a Member of the Committee on Taxation between 2006-2010, and a Member of the Committee on Civil Affairs between 1996-2006.
Outside of the Riksdag, Mr. Pärssinen was a member of Hofors Municipal Council between 1980 and 2010, and chaired the Council between 2000-2002. He was Chair of the Social Democratic Party in Gävleborg between 2000-2010, and was a Member of the National Board of the Social Democratic Party in Sweden between 2001-2011.

Amb. Mara Marinaki

EU/EEAS Principal Advisor on Gender/UNSCR 1325

Ambassador Mara Marinaki of Greece was appointed in 2015 as the first-ever European External Action Service (EEAS) Principal Advisor on Gender, and on the implementation on UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and all other gender-related matters.

Until 2015, Ms. Marinaki had served as the EEAS Managing Director for Global / Multilateral Issues and Human Rights, and among her key priorities has been the promotion of all issues pertaining to the role of Gender and Women’s Empowerment.

Ms. Marinaki is a career diplomat and joined the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1980. During her diplomatic career, she has served abroad in diplomatic postings in Washington DC, Berlin, Vienna and Brussels.

Ms. Marinaki is a law graduate from the University of Athens, and she holds an LL.M in International Law from the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki. She also holds a joint MA degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University with John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Law School.

Mr. Masaharu Nakagawa

Member, House of Representatives, Japan

Mr. Nakagawa is a Member of the House of Representatives (Democratic Party). Under the DPJ administration, he was appointed Minister for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and Minister for Gender Equality. Now, he has set up and is the chairperson of the “Parliamentary League on the Promotion of Women’s Participation and Activities in Politics” where he aims to establish a bill for quota allocation.

Ms. Astrid Krag

Former Minister for Health and Prevention, Danish Parliament

Ms. Krag has been a Member of Parliament for the Social Democratic Party in Zealand, Denmark, since February 2014. She is currently a member of The Gender Equality Committee and Vice-chairman of The Immigration and Integration Affairs Committee. Prior to this, she was Minister for Health and Prevention from 2011-2014. She was the candidate for the Socialist People’s Party in Roskilde nomination district from 2007-2014, and in Vekle nomination district from 2001-2006. Ms. Krag was Chairwoman of the Young Socialist People’s Party from 2005-2007.

Ms. Krag has a B.A in political science from the University of Copenhagen.

Ms. Sakie T. Fukushima

President & Representative Director, G&S Global Advisors Inc. Board Member of Bridgestone, Ajinomoto, J. Front Retailing, Ushio Electric

President & Representative Director, G&S Global Advisors Inc., Board Member of Bridgestone, Ajinomoto, J.Front Retailing, Ushio Electric

Ms. Fukushima is President & Representative Director of G&S Global Advisors Inc., a consulting firm that advises clients on the globalization of human capital. Before establishing G&S Global Advisors Inc. in 2010, Ms. Fukushima was Chairman & Representative Director-Japan and a Senior Client Partner at Korn/Ferry International – Japan. Prior to this, she was a Consultant at Bain & Company.

She currently serves on various government councils, including at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Ms. Fukushima is also a director at the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai). She is the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors of leading Japanese corporations at Kao, Sony, Benesse and Mitsubishi Corporation.

Ms. Fukushima received a B.A. from Seisen University in Japan. She received an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Ms. Kaori Sasaki

Founder and Chair of the Intl Women in Business Conference

Established UNICUL International Inc., a translation/interpretation communications consultancy and ewoman Inc., an influential think tank. Producer and chair of the largest women’s conference in Japan, the International Conference for Women in Business, just celebrated its 21st year’s conference. She serves on several corporate boards and on councils of various Ministries including Cabinet Office. Her numerous speaking engagements are both in Japan and overseas including OECD and APEC. Appears regularly in the media and was anchored the “CBS 60 Minutes” show in Japan. Received a BA from Sophia University in Tokyo and an honorary doctorate degree from Elmira College in New York.

Ms. Kumi Sato

President & CEO, COSMO

Kumi Sato took over the reins of COSMO in 1987, giving the company its international focus.

Ms. Sato has been recognized numerous times for her leadership in business. In 2012, she was awarded Harvard Business School Club of Japan’s “Business Stateswoman of the Year.” In 2011, she was recognized by the Asia-Pacific SABRE Awards, winning the “Outstanding Individual Achievement” award.

Ms. Sato is an active member of several committees and boards overseas. In 2013, Ms. Sato was appointed as Advisor for the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT). Ms. Sato is also the founder of BioCube, a think tank with a focus on healthcare and bio-related topics.

Ms. Sato served as Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce (ACCJ) for 2011 and 2012, is currently the Vice-Chair of the ACCJ’s Growth Strategy Task Force and was appointed as the first Chairman Emeritus in January 2015.

Ms. Sato is a business lecturer for Business Breakthrough, Dr. Kenichi Ohmae’s online business school and the author of two books.

Ms. Tiziana Alamprese

Marketing Director, FCA Japan (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)

Tiziana’s main challenge at work has been to contribute to the changing process of the automotive business in a creative and innovative way.

In Fiat Group she has held international positions in the areas of Customer Care, Marketing, Digital and CRM, until she was assigned as the Country Manager for Fiat & Abarth in Japan, with the mission of re-launching the Brands, up to her current position as Marketing Director at FCA Japan. She developed her own marketing philosophy by combining her knowledge and love for the local culture with her creative approach. Tiziana is a passionate lecturer about her professional career and her personal achievements and is often invited as a speaker to encourage women empowerment in Japan. In 2010 she was awarded the Knight of the Order of Merit of Italian Republic “for having been able to promote the Italian cars in Japan, linking Fiat to the image and lifestyle of Italy”.

Mr. Akira Matsumoto

CEO, Calbee

Akira Matsumoto is chairman of the Board and CEO of Calbee, a major Japanese snack food maker. Before joining Calbee, Matsumoto worked at Japanese trading company Itochu and at Johnson & Johnson Japan. He became an outside director of Calbee in 2008 and since June 2009 he has been Chairman of the Board and CEO.

Calbee aspires to be the first company to reach Abenomics goal of raising the ratio of female leadership to 30% by 2020. Currently, the ratio of women in managerial positions account for 22.1% at Calbee. 70-80% of Calbee’s consumers are women, so understanding the behavior of women is paramount to the profitability of the company. Matsumoto thinks commitment by top leadership is extremely important. He is advocating flexible work styles (teleworking, shorter work days), and has also set up a committee to promote diversity and prioritize response measures.


Ambassador of Ireland to Japan

After graduating from the National University of Ireland, Ambassador Anne Barrington joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1977. Her previous roles include First Secretary, Consulate General of Ireland, New York, First Secretary and Counsellor in Headquarters (European Union Division), Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations, Ambassador to Tanzania, Kenya and Burundi, Joint Secretary at the North-South Ministerial Council in Armagh, Northern Ireland and Director General Europe Division. She arrived in Japan in September 2014 to take up her position as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.


Ambassador of the European Union to Japan

H.E. Viorel Isticioaia-Budura is Ambassador of the European Union to Japan since December 2014. From 2011 to October 2014, he served as Managing Director of the Asia and Pacific Department of the European External Action Service.

Previously, he served as Ambassador of Romania to the People’s Republic of China from October 2002 to January 2011 and Ambassador of Romania to the Republic of Korea from June 2000 to October 2002. Having joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1978, he has had a range of other postings including Beijing (1985-1990), Tokyo (1992-1996), and London (1998-2000). Other assignments at headquarter have included periods in multilateral affairs.

H.E. Viorel Isticioaia-Budura was born in 1952 and speaks English, French and Chinese as foreign languages. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chinese language and Literature from Nankai University (Tianjin) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and History from the University of Bucharest.


Correspondent, NHK WORLD

Keiko Yamamoto is a journalist at NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation). She currently is in charge of news at the broadcaster’s 24-hour English channel, NHK World, now reaching over 150 countries around the globe. Keiko has covered social issues with a focus on empowerment of women, children’s rights and Japan’s declining birth rate. In 2001, she founded a network for women journalists, connecting people in order to promote new social values and concepts to Japanese society. The association has grown and now has more than 550 members that include women from other professional fields.

Keiko received her MA in International Development from Nagoya University.


Editor-in-chief, Nikkei Asian Review

Sonoko Watanabe is the Editor-in-Chief of Nikkei Asian Review and a Deputy Managing Editor of Nikkei Editorial Bureau. As the Editor-in-Chief of Nikkei Asian Review, Watanabe oversees Nikkei’s English news service which is available both by online and weekly print magazine.

Watanabe joined Nikkei in 1987 as a reporter at the Business News Department. As a business news reporter, she covered various industries including automobile, electronics and telecom. Between 1994 and 1997 she worked as a Singapore correspondent covering business in ASEAN, and between 2006 and 2009 she was Nikkei’s Shanghai Bureau Chief. As an editor, she worked at the business news department and international news department. Before assuming her current positon in April this year, she was the editor of economic commentary.

Ms. Watanabe graduated from Waseda University with BA in Economics in 1987.