Japan America Society of Southern California

   Building Japan-America Relationships Since 1909

JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles,

and the Japan America Society of Southern California


U.S.-Japan Webinar Series

A Free Webinar

March 9, 2021at 4-5:00PM (PST)

Download the Event Flyer Here

The potential role of hydrogen energy in decarbonizing society is increasingly recognized by governments throughout the world, industry, and the global investment community. Please join us for these important discussions on the prospects and opportunities related to Japan's efforts to create a robust and global hydrogen energy sector, to fuel the vision of a clean "Hydrogen Society."

Register Today: https://japanhousela.swoogo.com/hydrogen-society-and-japan

Speaker Profiles

Lauren Faber O'Connor
Chief Sustainability Officer,

City of Los Angeles

Lauren Faber O'Connor is the Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Los Angeles. In her role as Deputy CSO she drove the implementation of the Sustainable City pLAn, released in April 2015, which puts forth an actionable vision for transforming LA's environment, economy and equity. Working across every city department, Lauren focuses on strategic integration of the pLAn's pillars in order to reach the City's ambitious climate and clean energy goals, ensure benefits accrue to all communities in LA, and pursue regional and international collaborations. Prior to joining the Garcetti Administration, Lauren served for four years as the West Coast Political Director for the Environmental Defense Fund in San Francisco. At EDF she worked on building successful strategies and constructive partnerships to win support on innovative approaches to protecting and promoting climate, clean energy, land, water and wildlife. In 2010 Lauren was appointed to Assistant Secretary for Climate Change Programs at the California Environmental Protection Agency, where she was dedicated to the design and implementation of California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act. Prior to her work at CalEPA, Lauren served as senior director for Lighthouse Consulting Group in Washington, D.C., where she advised on comprehensive national climate change and energy strategies for domestic and international companies, and non-government organizations, and in particular, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. From 2005-2009 Lauren served at the British Embassy as the Senior Policy Advisor for climate change and energy.

Lauren sits on the Board of the California League of Conservation Voters, is a member of the Catto Fellowship for environmental leadership at the Aspen Institute, and a member of the Truman National Security Project Political Partnership. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Earth Systems and Economics from Stanford University, and Master’s degree in Climate and Society from Columbia University.

Peter J. Sawicki
Regional Director, Sales and Marketing
Mitsubishi Power Americas, Inc.

Peter Sawicki is the Regional Director for Sales and Marketing – Pacific West at Mitsubishi Power Americas, a major equipment supplier and energy solutions provider for the power industry. Peter is based in San Diego, CA and is responsible for Mitsubishi Power’s sales and marketing activities on the West Coast. Peter has over 25 years of experience in the power industry with roles in design engineering, project management, project development and sales. Peter earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Manhattan College and his MBA Finance from Fordham University.

Craig Scott
GM/Director of Electrified Vehicles & Technology Office,
Corporate Strategy & Planning
Toyota Motor North America

Mr. Scott is GM/Director of Electrified Vehicles & Technology Office, Corporate Strategy & Planning at Toyota Motor North America. Within his role, Craig is responsible for managing the planning and development of alternative fuel vehicle programs including the Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle and heavy duty commercial programs such as the Hino and Kenworth Class 8 trucks - the world’s first OEM-produced Class 8 vehicle. Previously he managed vehicle programs including Prius, Scion iQ EV and the Toyota i-Road urban mobility vehicle. In addition to vehicle development, Craig also oversees all US hydrogen infrastructure planning and implementation activities.  He is responsible forthe development of proprietary research work related to global energy issues and sustainable transportation systems. Prior to Toyota, Craig was an assistant portfolio manager with Pacific Investment Management Company in Newport Beach, CA.

 Mr. Scott has a BS in Finance and Japanese Studies and a MBA in Strategy and Finance from the University of Southern California.

A Free Webinar

February 17, 2021 at 5-6:15PM (PST)

Download the event flyer HERE

An increase in life expectancy and a decrease in birth rates are leading populations around the world towards an aging society. According to the Urban Institute, there are over 54 million Americans today that are age 65 and older. By 2040, this number will increase to 80 million. In this webinar, we explore how to live a long and healthy life by focusing on the latest AI technology and psychosocial care methods that can physically and mentally empower the older adult population. On the technology side, we hear from two experts from Japan, a nation with the highest proportion of aging citizens of any country in the world: Dr. Yoshiyuki Sankai the developer of the world’s first wearable cyborg HAL and Dr. Takanori Shibata, the inventor of PARO, the therapeutic seal robot. On the mental health side, psychotherapist and Geriatric Medical Social Worker Mrs. Shiori Lange, LCSW will discuss how psychosocial approaches can help older adults and their loved ones. UCLA Associate Professor Lené Levy-Storms Ph.D. will be moderating the panel of three speakers.

Register Today at: https://japanhousela.swoogo.com/The-New-Age-of-Elder-Care

Speaker Profiles

Shiori Lange, LCSW
Psychotherapist and Geriatric Medical Social Worker

Shiori Lange was born and raised in Saga, Japan. She came to the U.S in 1999. Shiori obtained her Bachelor's degree in Family Studies and Human Development from University of Arizona and obtained her Master's degree in Social Work from California State University, Long Beach. In the past, Shiori provided geriatric case management/consultation, mental health counseling, community support groups and served as a Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium field education supervisor for MSW/BSW students through NPO and public agency. During the day, Shiori currently works as a full-time Geriatric Medical Social Worker at a Health Care Center in Seal Beach providing psychosocial assistance (Post Acute Care, Behavioral Health, Palliative Care, Support groups) for individuals over 55+ and their families. During the evening and weekend, she works as an Employee Assistance Program counselor and also sees her private practice clients for psychotherapy and geriatric care consultation. Shiori specializes in Older adults, Caregiving, Dementia Care, Mental Health, Grief and Mindfulness. 

Yoshiyuki Sankai, Ph.D.

Yoshiyuki Sankai earned a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Tsukuba in Japan in 1987. He has progressed from being a research fellow at the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (“JSPS”) to assistant professor, associate professor, and then professor at the Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering, University of Tsukuba. Dr. Sankai is also a visiting professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas in the United States. Currently, he is a professor, Executive Research Director at the Center for Cybernics Research and Director at the R&D Center for Frontiers of MIRAI in Policy and Technology and University of Tsukuba; and the President and CEO of CYBERDYNE, INC.

His achievements include the development of HAL, the world’s first “Wearable Cyborg” that promotes functional improvement/regeneration of the brain, nerve, and physical systems, from basic research on its motion principle through prototype testing, evaluation, and real-world implementation. In addition to Medical HAL, he continues to advance the development and application of various Cybernic systems (Vital Sensor, Precision Medicine, Human Big Data aggregation, AI analytics and statistical computing with super computers, other Cybernic robots) and is working toward the realization of a social and industrial visions known as “ZERO Burdening-Care Society” and “Society 5.0/5.1” 

 In an effort to use his research results for the benefit of society, in June 2004, Dr. Sankai founded CYBERDYNE, INC.; a company designed to pioneer the future by developing, manufacturing, and commercializing innovative Cybernic systems and services in the fields of medicine, welfare, labor, production, and life. In March 2014, the company was listed in the “Mothers” section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, as the first company to issue class shares in Japan. In addition, due to its distinctive advanced technology and growth probability, the company was awarded FY2013’s ”IPO of the Year” and FY2014’s “Innovative Equity Deal of the Year” by Thomson Reuters Market, becoming the first company ever to receive an award two years in a row. Now, Dr. Sankai is acting as a core member of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s Smart City Project/Tsukuba Promotion Council, as well as a founding core member of the Tsukuba Conference.  

Takanori Shibata, Ph.D.
Chief Senior Research Scientist
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology

Prof. Takanori Shibata was born in 1967 and received B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Electronic and Mechanical Engineering from Nagoya University in 89, 91 and 92, respectively. He was a research scientist at AIST from 93 to 98. Concurrently, he was a visiting research scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Lab., Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 95 to 98, and a visiting research scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Lab., Univ. of Zurich in 96. At the AIST, Dr. Shibata was a senior research scientist from 98 to 13. Concurrently, he was the Deputy Director for Information and Communication Technology Policy, Bureau of Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan in 2009 and 2010. Since 2013, he has been the current positions. His research interests include human-robot interaction, robot therapy, mental health for astronauts in long-term missions (e.g. to Mars), and humanitarian de-mining. He was certified as the inventor of a seal robot named PARO, the World’s Most Therapeutic Robot, by Guinness World Records in 2002. He has received many awards including the Japanese Prime Minister’s Award in 2003, The Outstanding Young Person (TOYP) of the world by Junior Chamber International (JCI) in 2004, and the Robot of the Year by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan in 2006. In 2015, PARO was awarded the “Patient Trophy” as innovation of non-pharmacological therapy for dementia by the AP-HP (Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris), France, that is one of the largest medical groups in the World. In 2017, PARO was awarded the “Best of the Best” by the Argentum (organization of senior living communities) in the US. In 2018, Dr. Shibata was awarded the “Ryman Prize” that is the most prestigious award in the fields of geriatric medicine, welfare and health. In 2019, he had an invited talk at a symposium on “AI for Older Persons” at the headquarters of United Nation in NY.

Lené Levy-Storms, Ph.D. (Moderator)
Associate Professor, Department of Social Welfare and Medicine/Geriatrics
UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

Lené Levy-Storms is an Associate Professor in the Luskin School of Public Affairs, Department of Social Welfare and the Geffen School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics at UCLA. Dr. Levy-Storms’ primary research has focused on communication as a mechanism for social support and caregiving for older adults, especially those living with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Since 2016, she has served as the academic representative on the California State Alzheimer’s Advisory Committee. Since 2004, she has partnered with Susan Kohler, a speech and language therapist and author of a book titled: “How to Communicate with Alzheimer’s”, to develop a behavioral training program for both family and non-family caregivers based on her book. They have produced a DVD series of peer-based, unscripted training modules on communication and an accompanying curriculum titled, “Get Connected”. With their innovation and UCLA’s Office of Intellectual Property’s agreement, Dr. Levy-Storms and Ms. Kohler started Connected Hearts, LLC in 2014 to promote their training programs outside of research. With funding from the National Institute on Aging, the Hartford Foundation, the American Medical Director’s Association, and the National Alzheimer’s Association, Dr. Levy-Storms developed methods of evaluating caregivers’ communication behaviors and has been using these methods to test “Get Connected” among a variety of caregivers and long-term care settings. She completed a pilot study, funded by the Archstone Foundation, in which both family and non-family caregivers participated in communication training simultaneously. In December, 2020, the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute funded Dr. Levy-Storms to implement a translational version of Connected Hearts’ training modules. Dr. Levy-Storms also does research on policies related to caregiver training and was a Health and Aging Policy Fellow from 2010-2014 in a program funded by the The John A. Hartford Foundation, West Health, and The Atlantic Philanthropies (https://www.healthandagingpolicy.org/). Also, 2020, she received additional internal funding from UCLA to continue her policy work in association with the UCLA Health Policy Research Center.

A Two-Part Webinar

Why Resilience Matters

How Adversity Molds Us

Join us for a double-feature webinar event with the latest updates on the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games featuring gold-medal caliber guests and moderators. For insight into how the Olympians have been affected by Pandemic-related delays, Apolo Ohno, the most decorated US Winter Olympian in history, takes the stage with surfing prodigy Kanoa Igarashi and World Champion Judoka Aaron Wolf moderated by David Ono. The second webinar offers updates on event planning and excitement leading up to the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo next summer and Los Angeles in 2028. John Harper, COO of LA28, and Hidemasa Nakamura, GDO of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games will engage in a dialogue moderated by President and CEO of the LA84 Foundation Renata Simril

Register for both Webinars at:

Part 1: Facing Setbacks Like a Champion

December 2nd at 5PM (PST) / December 3rd at 10AM (JST)

The first webinar focuses on the athletes and the competitor's mindset. Apolo Ohno, the most decorated US Winter Olympian in history, will take the stage with surfing prodigy Kanoa Igarashi and World Champion Judoka Aaron Phillip Wolf and will be moderated by the award-winning anchor of ABC 7 News David Ono.

Part 2: The Power of the Games for Communities

December 10th at 5PM (PST) / December 11th at 10AM (JST)

The second webinar will explore how planners work together across geographies to create an amazing Games experience for both athletes and fans – uniting the world and bringing together communities. With the Tokyo Games’ unexpected delay to 2021, organizers have had more time to focus on planning for a variety of scenarios, with an ever-present focus on the power and unity of the Games for their community and the world. And with a special legacy of Games in LA in both ’32 and ‘84, LA28 is working towards advancing that storied legacy even further in their ongoing planning efforts.

Part 1 | Speaker Profiles

Kanoa Igarashi

Professional Surfer,

2020 Tokyo Olympics Representative

Kanoa Igarashi has been surfing for as long as he can remember. His dad first put him on a surfboard in Huntington Beach, USA at the age of just three. He took to the sport with natural talent, competing in his first surf contest (which he won) at the age of six. Since then, Igarashi, whose parents immigrated to the US from Tokyo, Japan, has taken the surf world by storm. At age 14, he became the youngest surfer ever to win the US National Championships for under-18s and that same year won the Governor’s Cup at the Surfing America Championships and took second in the King of Groms Championships. He was the youngest rookie to enter the World Surf League Championship Tour in 2016 and has won the U.S. Open WSL two years in a row in 2017 and 2018. In 2019, he won 1st place in the WSL CT at the Corona Bali Protected event. He currently belongs to the Kinoshita Group.  

Apolo Ohno

8-Time Olympic Medalist,

Short Track Speed Skater

Reinvention is at the core of Apolo Anton Ohno. He acquired and honed this skill over a decade of Olympic speed skating competition during which he became the most decorated US Winter Olympian of all time. Apolo continually adapts that performance mindset to support ongoing personal and professional growth. He has drawn on this acumen to become a global cross-industry entrepreneur, a successful sports broadcaster and television personality, a New York Times best-selling author, and a lifelong scholar inside and outside the university setting. Apolo harnesses these experiences to educate and inspire organizations on how to foster a sustained leadership mindset needed to overcome current business challenges.

Aaron Phillip Wolf


2017 World Judo Championship Gold Medalist

Aaron started Judo at the age of 6 at his grandfather’s suggestion. He won 3 titles the All National High School Tournament, Kinshu-Kikou High School Tournament, and the Inter-high Tournament when he was in his 2nd year at Tokaidai Urayasu High School. While pursuing his education at Tokai University in his first year, he won 7 consecutive Championships titles at the All National Judo Tournament, and won the championship at All Japan Junior Tournament, as well as taking the 3rd position at World Junior Tournament. Aaron has excellent power and stamina, and an excellent sense of choosing the right technique for the right situation. He is nearing to win in three different weight classes which historically only 8 people achieved. Aaron is a top candidate for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 

David Ono (Moderator)

David Ono is the anchor for ABC7 Eyewitness News at 4pm and 6pm, the top rated newscasts in all of Los Angeles. He also anchors Eyewitness News on KDOC-TV at 7pm.David joined ABC7 in 1996 and during that time has witnessed history worldwide, covering Hurricane Katrina, Haiti's earthquake and Japan's tsunami.  David has produced multiple award winning documentaries, two of which have made their way to the Smithsonian Institution.

Part 2 | Speaker Profiles

John Harper

Chief Operating Officer,


John Harper is a business executive with a proven record of launching new ventures and managing complex projects from start to finish. In his current role, John oversees the Games delivery plan, and the organizing committee’s internal operations, including the development and execution of the committee’s short-term and long-term strategic planning. John joined the team in June 2014 as a founding member of the bid committee.

Hidemasa Nakamura

GDO (Games Delivery Officer) / Executive Director of Sports,

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games

Hidemasa Nakamura was born in Switzerland and spent his childhood in Thailand and the United States. After graduating from the Faculty of Law at the University of Tokyo in 1991, he joined the Ministry of Finance.After studying at Harvard University Kennedy School, he worked at the Japanese Embassy in the United States and OECD in France. From May 2014, he moved to the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, where he was responsible for planning and finance, and was involved in the formulation of the convention vision, selection of new emblems, and financial agreements. In June 2018, he assumed the position of Games Delivery Officer (GDO) and Sports Director, who oversees the organization of the Organising Committee. Responsible for preparing the tournament.

Renata Simril

President and CEO,

LA84 Foundation,

Formed in 1985, originally as the Amateur Athletic Foundation, the LA84 Foundation (“LA84” or the “Foundation”) is a legacy of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Summer Games. The LA84 Foundation transforms lives through its investment in youth sport programs, infrastructure, research, and education across eight Counties of Southern California, and is a national leader in elevating the role that sports play in positive youth development.

Our Partners

The Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles

350 South Grand Avenue, Suite 1700 Los Angeles, CA 90028

Website:  https://www.la.us.emb-japan.go.jp/itprtop_en/index.html

About JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles

JAPAN HOUSE isa an innovative, worldwide project with three hubs, London, Los Angeles and Sao Paulo, conceived by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. It seeks to nurture a deeper understanding of Japan in the international community. JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles occupies two floors at Hollywood & Highland and offers a place of new discovery that transcends the physical and conceptual boundaries creating experiences that reflect the best of Japan through its spaces and diverse programs.

Location: 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028

Website:  japanhousela.com

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1411 W. 190th Street, Suite 360, Gardena, CA 90248

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