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A Seminar on

Disaster Preparedness & Quick Recovery in Hawaii

December 13, 2022
Registration – 4:00PM
Panel Discussion – 4:30-6:30PM
Networking Reception – 6:30-7:30PM

Hawaii Imin International Conference Center

Jefferson Hall, Koi Room
1777 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96848

Thanks to the generous support of Keidanren USA and the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu, there is no cost to attend.

JOIN US on Tuesday, December 13 for "A Seminar on Disaster Preparedness & Quick Recovery in Hawaii," hosted by the Japan-America Society of Hawaii, Keidanren USA, Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu, and the East-West Center.

Panelists from Hawaii are:

  • Mr. David Lopez, Executive Officer, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA)

  • Mr. Makoto (Mark) Yoda, CEO & President of First Insurance Company of Hawaii (Tokio Marine)

  • Dr. Karl Kim, Executive Director of the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center and Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

  • Dr. Yoh Kawanami, Director, Customer Energy Resources – Operations, Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO)


Panelists from Japan:

  • Mr. Naohisa Kitada, General Manager, Central Japan Railway Company, Washington, D.C.

  • Mr. Taichi Imamura, T&D Research Manager, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TEPCO), Washington, D.C.

  • Mr. Bart Beavers, Business Development Manager, NEC Corporation of America

The Moderator will be Ms. Suzanne Vares-Lum, President, East-West Center.

Parking: After 4:00 pm and until 8:00pm, parking is permissible in any non-reserved stall and is free.  Parking before 4:00pm is $3/half hour and may be paid at the Pay Stations located near the stalls in each lot by credit card only.  No cash. Parking lots behind the Kennedy Theatre and next to the Center for Korean Studies are recommended for this event. Click here to review UH’s parking policies. We will not be responsible for any parking tickets or towing.

Questions? Contact JASH Director of Membership & Programs, Lila Frisbie at or 808-524-4450.


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SUZANNE (SUZY) PUANANI VARES-LUM serves as the President of the East-West Center since January 2022. Born and raised in Hawaii, with a mother from Japan and father from Maui, she is the first woman and Native Hawaiian President since the Center’s opening in 1960. Vares-Lum’s executive leadership experience spans several decades, culminating in five years advising the most senior officials at US Indo-Pacific Command, where she cultivated vital relationships with nations throughout the Indo-Pacific region. As a retired Major General with 34 years of service, Vares-Lum held roles addressing national security challenges in the region.

Hawaii Panelists


DAVID LOPEZ is the Executive Officer of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA). He joined HI-EMA in 2015 as the Hurricane Program Manager which evolved into Critical Systems and Logistics Planner, and he also served as an interim Branch Chief. With over 20 years of experience in international crisis management, David has developed threat mitigation plans, response plans and has responded to events ranging from hurricanes, to aircraft disasters, and terrorist incidents.


Prior to joining HI-EMA, David was the CEO of Office of Special Services, where he led company teams in support of US Government, host nation government, and private industry interests in emerging nations, primarily in the Middle East and North Africa, for over 10 years.

From 1990 through 2004, David served in the US Army as a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment and the Counternarcotic Task Force, deploying worldwide and conducting numerous missions throughout his time in service. David holds a bachelor's in criminal justice and political science, attended the Naval Postgraduate School's Pacific Executive Leadership Program, and is a licensed private pilot.

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MAKOTO (MARK) YODA has been President and CEO of First Insurance Company of Hawaii, Ltd. (FICOH) since September 1, 2021 and became Chairman and CEO on October 1, 2022.


Mark is also deputy CEO of Tokio Marine North America (TMNA), FICOH’s parent company, and managing executive officer of Tokio Marine Holdings, overseeing Tokio Marine entities in the Americas region.  Additionally, he is a board member of the Hawaii Business Roundtable and of the Japan-America Society of Hawaii, and serves on the UH Shidler College of Business Advisory Council.


Mark received his bachelor's in commerce from Hitotsubashi University of Tokyo and his master's in business administration from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

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KARL KIM is Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Director of the graduate program in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance. He studies transportation, cities, and resilience. He also serves as Executive Director of the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center, authorized by US Congress to develop and deliver FEMA-certified training courses for underserved, at-risk communities on natural hazards, mitigation, and urban planning. The Center has trained more than 70,000 first responders, emergency managers, and leaders in over 400 communities across the world.

Previously, he has served as the Chief Academic Officer (Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs) overseeing tenure and promotion, strategic planning, and program review for the Manoa campus, and served as Chairman of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium. He has also developed and led research and training programs in Vietnam, Philippines, and Indonesia.

Karl was educated at Brown University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has been a Fulbright scholar to Korea and the Russian Far East. 


YOH KAWANAMI is the Director of Customer Energy Resources Operations at Hawaiian Electric. With 10 years of service, Yoh is responsible for the operationalization of customer-sited energy resource programs to enhance grid reliability and supports the integration of additional renewable energy through adoption of distributed energy resources. Yoh is the recipient of the 2019 EPRI Technology Transfer Award for his research in utilizing water heaters as a grid resource. Fluent in Japanese, Yoh serves as the company’s liaison to Japanese government, utilities, and national labs. 


Additionally, Yoh serves on multiple boards and volunteers for various non-profit organizations focused on topics ranging from education, U.S.-Japan relations, and local community development. He is also a fellow of two leadership programs: Pacific Century Fellows and TOMODACHI Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program. Recently, Yoh was recently selected as the “20 for the Next 20” by Hawaii Business Magazine. 

Yoh holds a doctorate in engineering management from George Washington University; master’s in engineering management from Duke University; and a bachelor's in aeronautics and astronautics engineering from the University of Washington. 

Japan Panelists


NAOHISA KITADA is General Manager of the Washington, D.C. Office of Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central), which operates the high-speed rail with the world's largest transportation volume—Tokaido Shinkansen—linking Tokyo, Osaka, and 12 regional lines. During his 24 years with JR Central, he has been involved in a variety of works related to railway business management, including the personnel division and the corporate planning division. Over the past 10 years, he has been in charge of overseas high-speed rail projects as JR Central has been promoting the deployment of its Shinkansen System and Superconducting Maglev System, mainly targeting the US transportation market. He has been engaged in these projects in the fields of strategy management, intelligence activities, and public & government relationships. He was transferred to his current position in July 2021 and is still involved in the US high-speed rail projects.


Naohisa received his bachelor’s in economics from Keio University in Tokyo, Japan, and master’s in business from the Krannert School of Management, Purdue University in Indiana. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland with his wife and two children.


TAICHI IMAMURA has been a manager of the Washington, D.C. Office of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TEPCO) since September 2021. He is responsible for researching T&D sector regulatory trends, market trends, and utilities’ strategies in the United States.


Since joining TEPCO in 2011, he has been involved in the design of underground transmission projects, overseas business strategies, and consulting for overseas electricity companies.


BART BEAVERS is the Business Development Manager for NEC in Hawaii, an industry-leading provider of Communications Technology, AI Analytics, Digital ID, and integrator of IT solutions. In this role, he is responsible for development of NEC solutions in Hawaii that encompass NEC’s portfolio of companies including NEC of America, NEC Labs of America, NEC-X, and NEC Global. 


Bart has more than 25 years of technology experience in sales, marketing, management, product development, and program capture. Prior to NEC, he was with World Wide Technology leading a $200M IT deployment in the State of Hawaii before moving to a Business Development/Program Capture role targeting large IT programs across the United States. With Ion Systems (Berkeley, CA), he led the new electrostatics solution development for technology manufacturing markets including semiconductor foundry and TAP, flat panel displays, storage devices, and contract manufacturing globally.

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