Japanese Government Honors EWC Obuchi Project Specialist Robert Nakasone

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On April 29, the Government of Japan conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays on EWC Adjunct Project Specialist Robert Toshio Nakasone in recognition of his contributions to the promotion of friendly relations and mutual understanding between Japan and the United States.

EWC Obuchi Project Specialist Robert NakasoneNakasone founded the Hawaii Uchinanchu Business Group in 1993, and later went on to establish the Worldwide Uchinanchu Business Association in 1997, expanding the network to 22 chapters around the world.  In doing so, he successfully brought together global entrepreneurs and small Okinawan-ancestry business owners, promoting not only U.S.-Japan exchanges but exchanges worldwide.

Nakasone joined the East-West Center in 1999 as Director of the Okinawa Special Project and helped create the Obuchi Okinawa Education and Research Program, which was launched the following year by then-President Bill Clinton, during the G8 Summit in Nago City, Okinawa. Clinton dedicated this special Okinawa initiative in memory of the late Prime Minister of Japan Keizo Obuchi. Nakasone has since devoted great effort to this program, which promotes scholarships, faculty/research exchanges, and business seminars and internships between Okinawa and the U.S. The program, supported jointly by the East-West Center and the Japan Foundation, serves as an important link between Okinawa and the United States and as a means to help advance Okinawa’s future.

Over the years, Nakasone has served in a leadership capacity in many Japanese-American organizations in the community, including the United Japanese Society of Hawaii, the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce, and the Hawaii United Okinawa Association. Through these efforts, Nakasone has helped strengthen the bonds of friendship between Japan and Hawaii and on a larger scale, between Japan and the United States.

Click here to view a related article (in pdf format) on the Obuchi Okinawa Education and Research Program.

(Posted May 7, 2012)