Walk in U.S. and Canada, Talk on Japan

The "Walk in U.S. and Canada, Talk on Japan" program was launched in June 2014 and, so far, 27 teams led by 10 leaders have visited North America. From an 18-year-old student to an 82-year-old woman, from academics to businesspeople, there is a wide variety of volunteers. While sharing views with people from the U.S. and Canada, they have also presented explanations and opinions on Japan's foreign policy, economic policy, culture and other issues.

This year, online seminars promoting the charms of Japan were held.

Webinar – Combating COVID-19: Japan’s response and efforts

In Japan, the Japanese government continues to take measures to suppress the spread of the coronavirus. Leading Japanese experts shared their insights into the latest situation in Japan, the government’s response to the coronavirus and the nation’s plan for the COVID-19 vaccination.

Tomoya Saito
MD, MPH, PhD is the director of the Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response, National Institute of Infectious Diseases of Japan. As a distinguished expert in public health emergency preparedness and response, he serves as members of the cluster response task force in MHLW COVID-19 response headquarters and WHO Review Committee on the functioning of the International Health Regulations (2005) during the COVID-19 Response,. Previously, Dr. Saito was the director of the Department of Health Crisis Management, National Institute of Public Health. From 2011 to 2014, Dr. Saito was a medical officer at the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) of Japan and responded to several public health events such as Fukushima nuclear power plant incident and emerging diseases such as influenza A/H7N9, MERS, SFTS and Ebola virus diseases. Before joining MHLW, Dr. Saito was the instructor in the Department of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology. He received his M.D. from the School of Medicine, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan, his M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and his Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Medicine, Keio University.

Haruka Sakamota
MD MPH, is a primary care physician and assistant professor at the Department of Health Policy and Management, Keio University. She got her M.D from Sapporo Medical University and worked as a physician at St Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo for several years. She then got a scholarship from the World Bank and got her MPH at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health. From 2011-2013 and 2016, she worked at the international cooperation department, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan, where she was deeply involved in health policy activities in Japan. She’s also currently working at Gates Foundation Tokyo Office, World Health Organization and World Bank as a consultant, and Department of Global Health Policy, Graduate School of Medicine, the University of Tokyo as a project researcher.

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Webinar – Japanese Pop Culture's Response to COVID-19

Despite calls to stay at home and lifestyle changes made necessary amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Japanese pop culture demonstrated its strengths, with anime movie Demon Slayer becoming a box office success in the short span of just three months. This seminar saw a moderator ask three panelists just why Demon Slayer was so successful, if COVID-19 had an impact, how the entertainment industry has changed due to the pandemic, and how they see future developments.

Roland Kelts
Writer, journalist, and scholar, author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S.
Author Roland Kelts is a half-Japanese Tokyo-based writer, journalist, scholar and authority on Japanese and Western cultures. Kelts has taught at The University of Tokyo, New York University, Columbia University, Sophia University, and Harvard University. 

Seio Nakajima
Professor of Sociology and Asian Studies at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University. His research focus is creative industries in Asia, in particular those in Japan and China, as well as comparisons between the two societies. He is embarking on a new project on the sociological analysis of the next generation automobile industry in Japan—examining its transformation from manufacturing, to service, and even into creative industries. 

Aki Nakanishi
Arlene Schnitzer Curator of Culture, Art, and Education
Director of Programming, Portland Japanese Garden
Public diplomacy expert with two decades of experience in government relations, public communication, artistic exchange, and cultural programming in organizations such as the United.

Bill Tsutsui (Moderator)
Bill Tsutsui is the Edwin O. Reischauer Distinguished Professor of Japanese Studies at Harvard University.  A fan of Godzilla since growing up watching monster movies in Central Texas, Bill is the author of Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters (2004) and co-editor of In Godzilla’s Footsteps: Japanese Pop Culture Icons on the Global Stage (2006).

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