Fall 2019 Decoration Conferred on Ms. Debra Nakatomi

On November 3, 2019, the Government of Japan announced the recipients of its Fall 2019 Decorations and within this Consulate General’s jurisdiction, Ms. Debra Nakatomi received the Order of the Rising Sun,Gold and Silver Rays. 

Ms. Debra Nakatomi was a member of the Board of Directors of the Little Tokyo Service Center for 36 years until 2018, serving as President for four years, supporting initiatives including affordable housing and social services. Ms. Nakatomi played a significant role in the public relations of the Little Tokyo Service Center and as board member contributed to the execution of plans for the Terasaki Budokan, due for completion in 2020.  Through leveraging networks, the Little Tokyo Service Center was able to gather funding for the Budokan from numerous organizations beyond the Japanese American community.
Ms. Nakatomi has also exhibited outstanding leadership in U.S. society beyond the Japanese American community. She has been awarded by several organizations as a prominent opinion leader on topics such as women’s empowerment and leadership and the fight against domestic violence. She also served for nine years as a board member of the Girl Scouts of the USA, six years as International Commissioner, serving as a public face of the organization.   
In 2009, Ms. Nakatomi participated in the Japanese American Leadership Delegation sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  During the program she not only met with representatives of the government and private sectors in Japan, but was also greatly impacted by fellow Japanese American delegation members.  Her participation in the delegation proved to be a turning point, as after her return she became actively involved in promoting U.S.-Japan relations. 
The year following her participation in the delegation, she visited Japan with fellow past participants and held meetings with Japanese government officials to discuss strategies to advance U.S.-Japan relations. She has also presented at numerous orientations for the delegation held annually, and has also participated in the meeting of heads of Japanese missions in the U.S. and Japanese American leaders, contributing greatly to the advancement of U.S.-Japan relations. 
In relation to the Great East Japan Earthquake, she co-produced the documentary “Stories from Tohoku.” Through depicting the Japanese Americans who led fundraising efforts in the U.S. for Tohoku and their personal exchanges with those in the affected areas, the film captured the rediscovery of their connection with Japan and their Japanese identity within themselves, along with the courage of the earthquake survivors living with hope and resilience.
Additionally, in 2018 she co-produced the documentary “Norman Mineta and his Legacy: An American Story.” This documentary memorializes for future generations the immigrant story of Japanese Americans, contributions of Secretary Mineta’s work to fight for redress and reparations from the U.S. government to recover the honor of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II and the his continuing involvement to foster U.S.-Japan relations.  In November 2018, after having screened the documentary in various U.S. locations, Ms. Nakatomi traveled to Japan with Secretary Mineta for a screening at the U.S.-Japan Council’s Annual Conference in Tokyo.
Ms. Nakatomi is President of Nakatomi & Associates, a strategic communications firm. She is advisor to CEOs and management teams and leads the firm’s issues management and organizational change practice.

The Conferment Ceremony for Ms. Nakatomi was held on February 7, 2020 at 2pm at the Official Residence of the Consul General of Japan and was attended by approximately 45 guests, including Ms. Nakatomi’s family and friends. After the Ceremony a reception was held, which was enjoyed by all the guests.