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List of 22 Japanese women active on world stage: International Organizations

  • September 2016
  • JMH Translation

The following questions were asked:


  1. What was the most difficult experience in your life?
  2. Please describe a turning point in your life.
  3. Who has been the most influential person in your life?
  4. What words motivate you?



1.     Izumi Nakamitsu


Assistant Secretary-General, the United Nations

Assistant Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Unit Chief, Crisis Response Unit, the UNDP

New York, U.S.A.


Nakamitsu was born in Kyoto in 1963. She holds a BA in Law from Waseda University and an MS from Georgetown University’ School of Foreign Service. She held a number of positions in the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees prior to taking up a teaching position as a professor at Hitotsubashi University. She taught international relations and public policy for three years starting in 2005. Nakamitsu took up her current post in 2014.


2.     Mari Yamashita


Director and Deputy Head of Office, United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office

New York, U.S.A.


A Tokyo native, Yamashita started working for the United Nations Office of Secretary-General Information Centre in 1990, two years after graduating from Sophia University. She worked as a deputy chief electoral officer, among other roles in the UN, before being appointed as the director at the UN Information Centre in 2012. She is the Director of the Asia Pacific Division of Department of Political Affairs in UN headquarters in New York since 2012.


3.     Maki Fukami


President, International Institute of Global Resilience (IIGR)

Washington, D.C.


Fukami was born in Fukuoka Prefecture and earned a PhD in Economics from Kyoto University in 2008. She established IIGR in 2012. When an organization affiliated with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-the International Association for Emergency Managers (IAEM)- launched the Japan Council in 2015, Fukami was chosen as the national representative.




  1. I have been influenced by many people, like a mosaic.
  2. After I received my PhD, I experienced life unemployed and without an imcome because my thesis was seen as too esoteric in the eyes of academia.
  3. When I joined the U.S. emergency management network by becoming a member of IAEM in 2009.
  4. “We love you.” I am energized whenever I hear this from my family, close friends, and the colleagues I depend on.


There are times a passerby gives me great inspiration. I do what I can to make the world closer to what I wish for it to be. Often people think I am following a righteous cause, but in reality, I am only doing what I am able to do. If anything, I try not to avoid doing something that I can do, or pretend that I didn’t see a problem.

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