By Raena Murakami, Public Relations and Communications Co-Director
For the second part of our History of FEW series, we’re taking a look back at past speakers at FEW. We’ve highlighted just a handful of the many impressive leaders that have shared their insights and experiences with the FEW community. These speakers are from the years leading up to 1998, and we’ll be featuring more speakers later in the series.
Many of these women overcame overwhelming obstacles and challenges to make their mark and get to where they are today. These inspirational women have made an enormous impact on their respective industries and have paved the way for Japanese and international women today.
We’ve got another great year of inspiring and thought-provoking speakers and events coming up. Learn more out about our upcoming events at http://fewjapan.com/event/.
PAST SPEAKER HIGHLIGHTS
Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo
Speaker Topic: Reading the Political Tea Leaves, A new Diet and a new Prime Minister
About: Yuriko Koike broke ground last August when she was elected as the first female governor of Tokyo. After her win, Ms. Koike vowed to pursue policies that will promote better conditions for women, saying, “I believe that pushing policies for women will be good for Tokyo and bring happiness to the capital.” Ms. Koike served as environment minister from 2003 to 2006 under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and initiated the Cool Biz campaign, encouraging office workers to dress casually during the summer to reduce electricity use. She was also Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for National Security from 2006 and became Japan’s first female Defense Minister in July 2007. Ms. Koike began her career as a TV presenter and graduated from Cairo University, Egypt. She has written books and articles on Japanese politics, international affairs and career women’s networking.
Kumi Sato, President and CEO, Cosmo Public Relations
Speaker Topic: How Foreign Women Can Use Their Uniqueness to Work More Effectively in Japan
About: Kumi Sato has been President of COSMO since 1987 and helped the company develop its international focus. Ms. Sato has been an advocate for workplace equality, launching one of the first websites in Japan dedicated to the empowerment of women, womenjapan.com. “I just want to tell women here that there is a price to pay, of course, but staying in the game is actually in the long run incredibly rewarding, and also really good for the family,” Ms. Sato said in a 2011 Japan Times article. Ms. Sato has been recognized numerous times for her leadership in business and has been an active participant in several committees and boards, including the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, the Asia Society Global Council, the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai), and the nonprofit organization Genron.
Mitsu Kimata, Director-CEO of Empowering Women Empowering Society (JKSK) and former CEO of the Body Shop Japan
Speaker Topic: Importing Foreign Business Methods and Concepts and Making Them Successful in Japan; Japan and the Environment
About: Mitsu Kimata has spent her life championing women’s empowerment. Her life’s motto, based on advice her father instilled early on, is, “Be positive. Don’t rely on other people. Become a person other people can rely on.” Ms. Kimata graduated from Tokyo University with a medical degree, after which she had a successful 15-year career in charge of international technical cooperation at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. She went on to represent the Japanese Mission to the United Nations in the mid-’80s and, starting in 1990, served as CEO of the Body Shop Japan for a decade. Ms. Kimata established the nonprofit Empowering Women Empowering Society (JKSK), focusing on such issues as ‘Diversity Promotion’ and ‘Work & Life Balance Development.’ Her hope is for educated women to take the lead: “We have a past of leaving things up to men, but we must put a period at the end of this history of underutilizing women’s talents, power, energy, and sensitivity, and work vigorously toward realizing a 50–50 society,” she said in 2015.
Mary Walsh, National Security Producer for CBS News
Speaker Topic: Experiences as a Female Journalist in Asia; Running CBS’s News Operation during the Gulf War in Jordan
About: From 1989 to 1993, as CBS News producer in Tokyo, Mary Walsh was responsible for news coverage in all parts of Asia – with focus on China, Korea, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Japan. Now national security producer for CBS News, the Emmy winner produces stories for “The CBS Evening News” and “60 Minutes.” Ms. Walsh has also been assigned to the Pentagon since 1993 covering the American military throughout Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East. When asked in 2006 if she could change anything about the journalism profession, Ms. Walsh said, “I would go back to the days when television news was considered a public service and not a profit center for the networks. Sometimes we worry too much about how much a story will cost rather than the best way to cover it.”
Junko Tabei (1939 – 2016), Mountain Climber
Speaker Topic: Experiences in being the first woman to scale Mt. Everest
About: Junko Tabei defied expectations and set a groundbreaking feat as the first woman to climb Mt. Everest in 1975. “There was never a question in my mind that I wanted to climb that mountain, no matter what other people said,” she told the Japan Times in 2012. In 1992, Ms. Tabei also became the first woman to mount the Seven Summits by climbing the highest peak on every continent. Her interest in mountaineering was piqued, she said, at age 10 on a school field trip to climb Mount Asahi and Mount Chausu. After graduating with a degree in English literature from Showa Women’s University in Tokyo, she devoted herself full time to mountaineering. She later focused on environmentalism, doing postgraduate work on the degradation of mountain terrain caused by garbage and human waste left behind by climbers, and she directed the Himalayan Adventure Trust of Japan. Since 2012, Tabei had climbed Mount Fuji each summer with high schoolers from northeastern Japan, including students from her birthplace in the Fukushima region, an area severely affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Elisabeth Bumiller, New York Times Washington Bureau Chief
Speaker Topic: The World of Indian Women of All Castes and Experiences Living in a Small Indian Village
About: Elisabeth Bumiller is the Washington Editor of The New York Times, where she oversees White House and domestic policy reporting. Ms. Bumiller has been with The New York Times since 1995, having covered the Pentagon, Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, and had a weekly column from 2001 to 2006 about the behind-the-scenes events of the presidency. Previously, she was with the Washington Post for 13 years, including as Tokyo Bureau Chief, New Delhi correspondent and Washington social and political writer for the Style section. Ms. Bumiller is the author of three books: Condoleezza Rice: An American Life; May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons: A Journey Among the Women of India and The Secrets of Mariko: A Year in the Life of a Japanese Woman and Her Family. In response to not bowing to pressure, Ms. Bumiller, said in 2005 that the key is perseverance and a refusal to give in: “At every press conference I stand up every time and ask a question,” Bumiller says. “No matter what.”
Recap: Mentoring Moments – Finding Love in Japan
The third and final Mentoring Moments event for the year was held, Sunday, July 8th at the Kiwi Kitchen in Hiroo. Despite the sweltering heat, eight ladies came to ask questions to three FEW members about finding love in Japan and the subsequent situations that stem from cross-cultural dating and married life. Married ladies […]Published on 21st August 2018
Strategic Partner Spotlight: Warm Hearts Coffee Club
The Warm Hearts Coffee Club is a community of coffee lovers based in Japan. Since April of this year we deliver freshly-roasted coffee to households & offices all over Japan & provide a connection between the coffee growers, the coffee’s country of origin and our community members. We do this by supporting organic & fair […]Published on 8th August 2018
Appointment of 2018-2019 FEW Japan Board of Directors
Following approval by the current Board of Directors and majority vote of the regular membership, FEW Japan is delighted to announce the appointment of 15 new and returning members to the FEW Board of Directors for the 2018-2019 FEW year, effective September 1, 2018. These outstanding individuals bring to FEW unique experience, expertise and capabilities as […]Published on 1st August 2018
Recap: June FEW Women’s Start-Up Club – Branding with Archetypes
During the last WSC of this season Marci Kobayashi took us on a journey to “Find your Archetype for your branding”. The overall goal is to “Transform your brand and your overall online presence into a genuine reflection of who you are personally, and professionally, from the inside out, not outside in.” Branding by Archetypes […]Published on 28th July 2018
July Community Service Feature: Japan Association for Refugees (JAR)
Numerous crises around the globe have forced men, women, and children to seek safety and asylum as refugees in foreign lands. Refugees are individuals who have been forced to leave their home country due to political or religious persecution, violence, war, or natural disaster. According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), the United States, Saudi […]Published on 26th July 2018
Rina Bovrisse - The Accidental Activist : From Chanel to Governor of Tokyo?
Join us for the first meeting of the new FEW year to hear from Rina Bovrisse about how she became an accidental activist working in the fashion industry and ending up with a burning desire to get into politics.
Midweek Lunch Mixer
Take a break from work and join us for delicious food and great networking at our monthly midweek lunch gathering, this time at Blu Jam Cafe in Daikanyama!
Note: The Lunch Mixer will take place on a Wednesday!