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The U.S.-Japan Alliance:

History, Current Challenges and Opportunities

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

4:00 - 5:00 P.M. (HST)

Zoom Webinar

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This event is open to the public; you do not need to have served in Japan to attend.

Thanks to the generous support of Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA and National Association of Japan-America Societies, there is no cost to attend.

We are excited and honored to announce our two speakers for this year’s program: Admiral Philip Davidson, 25th Commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) and Vice Admiral Yoji Koda, former Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Commander in Chief, Self-Defense Fleet (Ret.). The program will be moderated by Barbara Tanabe, owner and founder of Hoʻakea Communications, LLC and JASH Board Director.


We are also honored to welcome opening remarks by Dr. Satohiro Akimoto, Chairman and President of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, and Peter Kelley, President of the National Association of Japan-America Societies. We also welcome Consul General Yutaka Aoki, Consul General of Japan in Honolulu.

The Japan U.S. Military Program (JUMP) connects past and present service members, families, and government civilians who have served in Japan through social networks and grassroots events. JUMP is the only national program to do so, providing a powerful foundation for sustaining the alliance between the U.S. and Japan. To learn more about JUMP, visit

Keynote Speakers


Admiral Philip Davidson is the 25th Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), America’s oldest and largest military combatant command, based in Hawai’i. Prior to becoming CDRUSINDOPACOM on May 30, 2018, he served as the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command/Naval Forces U.S. Northern Command. He is a surface warfare officer whose earlier sea commands included Carrier Strike Group 8/Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, USS Gettysburg (CG 64), and USS Taylor (FFG 50). Ashore, Davidson was previously the director, Maritime Operations, U. S. Fleet Forces Command, the senior military advisor to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) at the State Department, and the deputy director for Strategy and Policy in the Joint Staff/J-5. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Davidson is a 1982 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and is also a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval War College.


Vice Admiral Yoji Koda is presently an Advisor for the Japan Marine United Corporation (JMU), the leading shipbuilding marine engineering and service company in the shipbuilding industry. Prior to joining JMU, he retired in 2008 from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) as Commander in Chief, Self-Defense Fleet. Following his retirement, Koda researched China’s naval strategy at the Harvard University Asia Center from 2009 to 2011. From 2014 to March 2016, he served as an advisor to the National Security Secretariat of the Government of Japan. As a surface officer, Koda took command of JS Sawayuki (DD-125) and Fleet Surface Force at sea. His shore duty includes Director for Strategy, Plans and Operations, Maritime Staff. Koda is a 1972 graduate of Japan Defense Academy, and is also a distinguished graduate of the JMSDF Staff College and the U.S. Naval War College.

Opening Remarks

Dr. Satohiro Akimoto is Chairman and President of Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA. He is also Contributing Writer for the Japan Times, Associate Fellow for the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, and Contributing Writer for the Okazaki Institute in Tokyo. He received his Ph.D. in sociology and MA in East Asian Studies from Harvard University, a certificate of Russian studies from Leningrad State University, and BA in law from Keio University.


Peter Kelley has been President of NAJAS since 2009. He came to NAJAS with long experience with Japan in both the private and not-for-profit sectors. He is a graduate of Harvard College, with a major in East Asian Studies, and the University of Maine School of Law. In 2016, he was awarded a Foreign Minister’s Commendation by the government of Japan for his work in support of the commemorations of the 70 th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

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Consul General Yutaka Aoki currently serves as the Consul General of Japan in Honolulu. A graduate of the University of Tokyo, he has worked at Japanese embassies in Canada and Cambodia; served as Director of several divisions within MOFA; and in 2013 and 2015 respectively held the position as Minister of the Embassy of Japan in Indonesia and the Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations in Geneva. Before moving to Honolulu, CG Aoki was most recently at The Japan Foundation as the Director General.

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Barbara Tanabe is Owner and Founder of Ho'akea Communications, LLC (a public affairs company). Ms. Tanabe started her career as a News Anchor in Washington at KOMO-TV becoming one of the first Asian-American women News Anchors on the West Coast. Ms. Tanabe won an Emmy Award for her piece, “The Fence at Minidoka,” a documentary focused on Japanese-Americans interned in the United States during World War II. In Honolulu, while at KHON-TV, she became the first female News Co-Anchor of Asian descent on July 29, 1974. She holds an MBA in Communication from the University of Hawai`i. She is a Board Director for both JASH and Bank of Hawaii.

For more information, please email Lila Frisbie at or call 808-524-4450.
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