Atsuko Hosted a Luncheon Featuring the Trainees of the TOMODACHI Disability Leadership Program

Atsuko Fish, the JWLI Founder and a U.S.-Japan Council board member, hosted a luncheon featuring the trainees of the TOMODACHI Disability Leadership Program in Boston on Tuesday, December 6th. It was an inspiring, informative and interactive discussion and held as a part of “Regional Women in Leadership Networking.” 19 people gathered and explored the theme of “Leadership through the Lenses of Gender and Disability.” The three 2016 TOMODACHI trainees were Yui Awai, Toshiko Kudo and Tomomi Takata. The trainees and the attendees discussed differences and similarities surrounding people living with disabilities in Japan and the U.S. The trainees also shared their experiences as young leaders with disabilities, and how they were planning to apply their learning to make positive impact in Japan. The group had a lively discussion and identified actions to take and what Japan could learn from the U.S. Mari Fujii from the Consulate General of Japan in Boston gave a presentation on Japan’s womenomics policy and how Japan’s business sector has been promoting women’s participation. The luncheon concluded with a strong belief that these trainees would make a difference for others with disabilities in Japan.

JWLI 10th Reunion in Tokyo

JWLI just had its 10th reunion in Tokyo. It was great to see our Fellows (at least one from each cohort from Year 1 to Year 10!) at a reunion on October 19 at a café overlooking a beautiful view of Tokyo at the Palace Hotel Tokyo.

10 years ago, it was just an idea popped in Atsuko Fish’s mind.Now, she made it a hugely impactful program with over 40 graduates.Congratulations to Atsuko Fish for this incredible success. YOU made it happen. YOU did this for these women, other women leaders around them, and ultimately for Japan! JWLI would not be here without your dedication and commitment.

AND, congratulations to Patricia Deyton! You have been there from Day 1 as a partner, an academic institute of the program, and a mentor. If you didn’t believe in Atsuko and her idea, JWLI would not be here today. You made differences in so many lives that went on to change others in Japan. YOU are changing these women and ultimately Japan through them. Thank you Patricia. Simmons College The Center for Gender in Organizations, Simmons School of Management Simmons School of Management.

Yoko Okura Wrote an Article of JWLI on Nikkei Women Online

It was our pleasure to meet Yoko Okura. She is an incredible woman who is a journalist and used to be at a TV station in Japan. She currently studies at Harvard Kennedy School and has her own online column on Nikkei Women Online where she shares her perspective on women’s empowerment and leadership, and gender issues in the U.S. Recently, she published an article after meeting our 2016 Fellows and also sitting in for Simmons College’s Strategic Leadership for Women. Thank you Yoko for the great article!

Check out Yoko’s article “似た価値観の人に相談しても突破口は見つからない” on Nikkei Women Online.

JWLI Hosts Tokyo Summit

Celebrating the 10th anniversary, JWLI hosted the Tokyo Summit at Tokyo American Club on October 18, and it was a huge success. Nearly 40 women leaders and JWLI Fellows candidly explored the theme of Women Leading Social Change in Japan with the audience of over 300 people. Mari Kuraishi, a founder of Global Giving, gave us a powerful keynote speech sharing her journey to start the organization. The Summit showcased JWLI’s 10-year impact by highlighting 10 alumnae and their achievements. Under the theme of “Women Leading Social Change in Japan”, the Summit’s most important message to the participants was to take action and be a leader to make positive social change in Japan. In addition to featuring the impact of JWLI, the Summit showcased social change achieved by Japanese and American women leaders; brought U.S. and Japanese social sectors together; and most importantly for further advancement of Japanese society, demonstrated the importance of women’s leadership for social change. Through the Summit, JWLI left a strong impression that women’s leadership in the social sector needed to be increasingly valued.

To view more photos from the event, click here.

JWLI Celebrates 10th Anniversary in Boston

On October 6th, JWLI hosted its 10th Anniversary Reception at Simon College in Boston to celebrate its ten-year efforts in empowering Japanese women and making difference in Japan. Two JWLI alumnae, Tomoe Yamada and Kiyono Yagami, shared the impacts they made in Japan through achieving their Action Plans. They spoke candidly about their experience in Boston and achievements in Japan since then. Listening to the powerful and emotional speeches by Kiyono and Tomoe, the audience of over 100 people learned the continued needs of more participation by women leaders in the Japanese social sector. JWLI Founder, Atsuko Fish, and JWLI’s academic partner, Patricia Deyton of Simmons College, both thanked a number of community partners and host organizations that contributed to JWLI’s success. They also highlighted some of the Fellows’ successes. The event also included a graduation ceremony of the 2016 Fellows. Over the past 10 years, so many individuals and organizations supported JWLI. Without them, JWLI would not have made it to the 10th year. Thank you so much!

To view more photos from the event, click here.

Save the Date for JWLI 2016 Tokyo Summit!

In celebration of JWLI’s 10th anniversary this year, we are hosting the Tokyo Summit titled “Women Leading Social Changes in Japan”. It will be on October 18th, 2016 (Tuesday) at the Tokyo American Club in Tokyo.

Save the date on your calendar and check out our brand new summit website (

JWLI is thankful for the generous funding from the U.S.-Japan Foundation and the implementation partnership with the Japan Association of Charitable organizations.

click here to learn more about the summit!

2015 Fellow Awarded by Ambassador Kennedy for SelectUSA Investment Summit

Our 2015 Fellow, Yuko Nakaoka and her colleague from the U.S. Consulate General’s office in Kansai have successfully participated in the SelectUSA 2016 Investment Summit, one of the highest-profiled events that promote foreign direct investment in the United States. Over 2,500 people from over 65 countries gathered in Washington, D.C. to attend this event, and Yuko and her colleague led the Japanese delegation which was the third largest among the 65 countries. Yuko and her colleague have been awarded by Ambassador Kennedy for their huge successes in strengthening economic ties between Japan and the U.S. Congratulations Yuko and best wishes for your continual success!

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Atsuko Fish and Kozue Sawame Meet Ambassador Kennedy

On June 15 in Tokyo, JWLI Founder Atsuko Fish and Program Manager Kozue Sawame were honored to meet Ambassador Caroline Kennedy at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. Atsuko and Kozue sat down with the Ambassador who listened to them enthusiastically, while they shared the updates on the upcoming JWLI Summit. The Ambassador has been particularly interested in JWLI as one of her focuses has been empowerment of women and girls in Japan. JWLI thanks the embassy staffers to make this memorable and important meeting happen.

2015 Fellow receive Toastmasters awards

Our 2015 fellow, Akiko Ishiyama, has received two Best Speaker Awards at recent gatherings of the Yokohama Ocean Toastmasters Club for her speeches in Japanese and English. Akiko recently joined the Club and gave her very first speech in Japanese at the meeting on May 8th, titled “My Mission”. Her second award was for her speech in English at the May 22th gathering. She gave a short version of her speech prepared for Simmons College’s Strategic Leadership for Women during her stay in Boston. Many questions were raised by the audience who was new to JWLI. Congratulations Akiko!

Click here to check more detail in Japanese.

JWLI Fellows Gathering in Tokyo

JWLI Founder Atsuko Fish and Program Manager Kozue Sawame were thrilled to see 20 of the JWLI Fellows in Tokyo in the evening of Friday, June 10. Thanks to great logistical help by Keiko Sakurai, 2010 Fellow and Hisae Segawa, 2009 Fellow, the gathering went well and smoothly. Atsuko and Kozue shared exciting news of the JWLI 10th anniversary Summit to be held on October 18 at the Tokyo American Club. Many of the Fellows will be participating the Summit as speakers. The Fellows also shared many updates and news about their work and activities. It was overall a great, meaningful gathering for all!