World Assembly for Women in LA at JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles

On December 8, the Consulate General of Japan in LA and JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles hosted “World Assembly for Women in LA: Women’s Essential Role in an Inclusive Society” in cooperation with the Los Angeles Next Generation Japanese American Leaders Initiative, Women & Diversity Subcommittee, to promote women’s empowerment and support the further advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion in LA.

The evening began with a welcome by members of the Next Generation Leaders Initiative who served as co-emcees for the evening: Ms. Mia Russell (Manager of Special Initiatives, Japanese American National Museum) and Ms. Lianna Kushi (Managing Director for Development, OneGoal). Following their introduction, Consul General Sone and President of JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles Ms. Yuko Kaifu delivered remarks. Mr. Hiroshi Nawata, Chief Officer of the Gender Mainstreaming Division/ Ministry of Foreign Affairs, next via livestream provided an overview of the World Assembly for Women (WAW!), an annual conference hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan to realize gender equality and women’s empowerment in the world. WAW! 2022 was held in Tokyo on December 3, 2022 and included lively discussions on various women’s issues as a platform of discussion about gender-related issues, with many leading figures from all over the world.

Mr. Nawata’s presentation was followed also from Japan via livestream, by Ms. Eiko Nakazawa, Founder & CEO of Dearest, Inc. Ms. Nakazawa shared her personal experiences and career journey from 11 years at Sony Corporation to her current work as an entrepreneur leading Dearest Inc., which makes high-quality learning, childcare, and parenting support accessible by helping employers subsidize those costs for their working families.

Ms. Kaifu then moderated a panel of local women leaders who discussed their professional and life journeys. The panelists also provided words of wisdom and advice for the next generation. Panelists included: Hon. Elen Asatryan, Councilmember/ City of Glendale, Ms. Janet Burt, Director of Diversity & Business Development, International Practice/ Lewis Brisbois, Ms. Maria Salinas, President & CEO/ Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and Ms. Renata Simril, President & CEO/ LA84 Foundation. 

The panelists discussed the impacts of their upbringings on motivating them to expand beyond cultural and societal stereotypes they have faced. They also shared the ways in which they have countered traditional expectations for women in the workplace. As the panel came to a close, the panelists shared messages for the younger generation which included encouragement to not be afraid to be bold and to not limit oneself, to use one’s voice to stand up for things you believe in, to put in the effort to prepare yourself for future success, to seek out mentors and sponsors in pursuing professional growth, and when in a position of leadership, being an ally and advocate for other women.

At the reception following the program, Mr. Shin Koyamada, Co-Founder of the Koyamada International Foundation (KIF) Global, shared the mission of the “Guardian Girls,” a global gender-based violence initiative to empower vulnerable girls and young women to defend themselves through martial arts and self-defense training.

Special food and beverage featured at the reception included the Sushi Chef Institute, Takoyaki Tanota, Shizuoka Crown Melon, Cheese Tart & Press Butter Cookie by Bake USA, sparkling juice and water by Kimino Drinks and sake by Maruto Sea Vegetables.