On October 7, the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles hosted an award ceremony at the official residence of the Consul General for a 2020 laureate, the late Irene Hirano Inouye, former chairperson of the US-Japan Council and former CEO of the Japanese American National Museum.
On behalf of Hirano Inouye, his daughter Jennifer Hirano was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Golden Rays with Neck Ribbon, for meritorious service to Japan.
Hirano Inouye worked tirelessly to strengthen and advance relations between Japanese Americans and Japan, and was instrumental in the founding and development of the US-Japan Council. As chair of the board, she strengthened the bonds of the Japanese-American community and the relations between the Japanese-American and Japanese communities, and actively developed exchanges between Japan and the United States.
Prior to the founding of the USJC, Hirano Inouye played a central role in the Government of Japan-sponsored Japanese-American Leadership Delegation Program, which began in 2000, participating in every delegation (except 2019). as a group leader.
Exceeding her role for nearly 20 years as President and CEO of the Japanese American National Museum with a mission to promote the teaching of Japanese history of the United States as an important part of the history of the United States , she co-founded the USJC in 2008 with US Sen. Daniel Inouye and other community leaders. The council was created with a focused mission to strengthen the relationship between Japan and the United States through Japanese Americans, to strengthen bilateral people-to-people relationships, and to further activate the participation of Native Americans. Japanese to bilateral relations. Hirano Inouye has been appointed founding chairman of the board.
Due to the extensive networks she built over two decades as head of JANM, through the establishment of the USJC, she was able to bring together Japanese-American leaders in various sectors to advance US-American relations. Japanese, and thanks to these efforts, platforms for exchange and collaboration. actors working in various fields in the two countries were formed. Hirano Inouye used these platforms as a base, and through her strong leadership as President, she worked closely with the governments of Japan and the United States to initiate and develop exchange programs.
Through its visionary leadership, USJC responded to the great earthquake of March 2011 in eastern Japan by forming the Tomodachi Initiative, a public-private partnership in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Japan, supported by the government of Japan. Tomodachi invests in the next generation of leaders through educational and cultural exchanges and leadership programs, and nearly 39,000 young leaders from Japan and the United States have participated in the program to date
She has achieved the participation of many prominent figures from Japan and the United States in the annual conferences sponsored by the USJC, including former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, former Foreign Minister Taro Kono and former Ambassador of States -United in Japan Caroline Kennedy, and promoted the foundation of the strengthening of expanded multigenerational exchanges between the two countries.
Hirano Inouye has also played a leading role in advancing the role of women, serving as chair of the California State Commission on the Status of Women and attending conferences of the World Assembly for Women. (WAW!) Of the Government of Japan in 2014-2016. She has also served on many prominent nonprofit boards of directors, most notably as president and trustee of the Ford Foundation.