About CIE

About CIE-US

CIE-US is CIE’s partner in the United States. CIE-US helps find and support host cities for Summits in the United States and encourages Americans to participate in Summits in Japan. Japan-America Societies across the country have hosted Summits in the United States, most recently in the state of Washington in 2018. The Japan-America Society of Central Ohio will host the Grassroots Summit 2023 in Columbus and neighboring cities.

Message from CIE-US President James Kelly

Dear Friends and Family of CIE-US and CIE!!! I hope everyone healthy and enjoying Spring wherever you are. I'm back in our US PacNW and had a great 2-week visit in Japan including with my counterpart Ambassador Kazu Ishikawa of CIE, and many friends for life made over years of working together within the U.S. and Japanese Navies - great to be "home" in Japan, and able to catch up with so many who could not travel during the pandemic!

Please welcome and recognize up front that Mr. Andy Wylegala is the new President of the National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS) in the US. Andy just moved to Washington, DC from Taiwan, and took over from Peter Kelley at NAJAS in March - and I think he's now visited six Japan-America Societies...and has also been brought onto the CIE-US Board as our Secretary. CONGRATS Andy!! Please enjoy his note that follows my opener - Welcome Aboard Andy!

So here we go at "full throttle" with an update on all regarding our Grassroots Summit in Central Ohio 2023, hosted by the JAS of Central Ohio (JASCO) in Columbus this September. We hope to welcome about 100 great citizens from Japan to the area, and have more than 40 committed so far including 10 high-schoolers from Iwate Prefecture. Although we had a terrific "rebirth of the Grassroot Summit" in Obuse, Nagano Prefecture in November 2022, it was with limited attendees in just focusing on "restart" - So besides this full-on Summit 19-26 Sept, there's also a 2-day reunion planned (info follows) - so if you are here in the USA and participated in a past Summit, why not contact those Alumni you stayed with, and rendezvous for the start of this Summit - it'll be a GREAT reunion, but only if you are there!! Friendships to be renewed and relationships built upon for our shared futures!

Alumni, we need your help in promoting this as well as "why come to a Grassroots Summit"? Also note that NAJAS will hold their own Annual Meeting at the start of the Summit in Ohio - and I'll see you all there!

Lastly - we have settled into locking in Wakayama Prefecture for our July 2024 Summit in Japan - start planning for it NOW! Once more I ask for everyone's help in ensuring every possible seat/homestay/tour program for our Ohio Summit is filled with a past or future Best Friend!

Ganbarimasho and stay safe!

Support CIE-US

You can donate to support CIE-US by mail or online (via PayPal).

You can also donate by mailing a check made out to “John Manjiro-Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange-U.S.” to the following address:

1819 L Street NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036

CIE-US is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and all donations are tax-deductible in the United States to the extent permitted under US law.



  • Toyota Motor North America

  • American Honda Motor, Co
  • Aratani Foundation
    Aratani Foundation

  • Orix

  • Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership

  • United States-Japan Foundation
  • Itoen
  • Distant Lands Coffee
    Distant Lands Coffee

CIE-US Board of Directors

  • Rear Admiral James D. Kelly, USN Retired
    Former CNFJ and Dean Emeritus, US Naval War College

    The final assignment in James "Jamie" Kelly's 36-year U.S. Navy career, which included commands of squadrons, ships, naval bases and a strike group, was as Commander U.S. Naval Forces Japan. In this capacity he oversaw key U.S.-Japan alliance priorities, among them managing the first forward deployment of a nuclear-powered warship, USS George Washington, outside the U.S. He was the longest-serving CNFJ and was recognized by the Japanese government with the Emperor’s Order of the Rising Sun, gold and platinum stars. He and his wife, Commander Amy Warrick USN (Ret), reside in Port Ludlow on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula with two four-legged “children,” Mr. Knightley and Hayley, and are members of the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington. Jamie assumed leadership of CIE-US in January 2018. He and Amy hosted a “Big Sister” from Japan during Seattle’s Grassroots Summit in 2018 and did a home-stay in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, during the 2019 Grassroots Summit.

  • Frederick Katayama
    [Vice President]
    Thomson Reuters Inc.

    Fred Katayama anchors and produces a stock market show at Reuters TV. Previously, he reported on domestic business news topics on CNN’s “The Moneyline Newshour with Lou Dobbs” while anchoring CNN International’s “Business Asia” and a daily Asian business news segment at CNNfn. In 1995, he covered the Kobe Earthquake as a reporter for Seattle’s CBS affiliate, KIRO-TV. At Time Inc, he served as Tokyo correspondent for Fortune magazine in the mid-80s and later penned its “Products to Watch” column in New York. He also worked briefly as a general assignment reporter at the Associated Press’ Tokyo bureau. Katayama majored in East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia College and earned his M.S. as an East Asia Fellow at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. Outside of the newsroom, he serves on the board of Japan Society and was a founding board member of the U.S.-Japan Council. He’s a Sansei from Los Angeles and loves wagashi and carrot cake.

  • Dimitri Lorenzon
    [President-Designate CIE-US]
    Head of Strategy
    CFO Global Technology & Operations
    MetLife Inc.

    Dimitri Lorenzon assumed the role of Head of Strategy and CFO Global Technology & Operations for MetLife Inc. in July of 2022.
    Prior to this position, he was Chief Customer Value Officer for MetLife Insurance K.K. He assumed the role in March of 2019, which brought together Global Brand and Marketing, Product and Value Management, Business Design and Delivery, and Agile Business Development Group. The Customer Value organization focused on articulating the company’s long term strategy and launching customer focused product and service offerings.
    Prior to this position, he was Chief Investment Officer, leading the team responsible for managing MetLife Insurance K.K.’s general account portfolio since 2014. Lorenzon joined MetLife Insurance K.K. in 2009 as Chief Risk Officer to help establish the company’s risk management framework.
    Lorenzon relocated to Tokyo in 2006 as Regional Vice President of Market Risk Management for AIG Japan and Korea, establishing a team to support product development, hedging, and ALM activities for AIG’s life insurance companies in the region before joining MLJ.
    Lorenzon joined AIG in New York in 1996 and held a number of positions in Market Risk Management, working closely with the company’s derivative trading and life insurance businesses. He began his career at Republic National Bank working in the Market Risk Management function.
    Lorenzon is a graduate of Brandeis University and also earned a MS in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a Financial Risk Manager.

  • Andrew Wylegala
    President, National Association of Japan-America Societies, Inc. (NAJAS)

    Andrew Wylegala began as President of the National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS) in March 2023. He brings a diverse background in Asia and a passion for the U.S.-Japan grassroots relationship. Beginning his Japan immersion as a high school exchange student in Saitama Prefecture and as a member of the Japan-America Student Conference, Andrew went on to a distinguished career as a senior foreign service commercial officer, including serving at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. As a Professor of Practice at the National Defense University, he taught economics and industry analysis to security policy practitioners. Most recently, Andrew served as the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan, growing that organization through the challenges of the pandemic and Cross-Strait tension. An avid bike rider, “Andy” and his wife are excited to be settling back in Washington D.C. He looks forward to traveling from this home base as he gets to know and collaborate creatively with the nation-wide JAS community.

  • Louisa Rubinfien
    Senior Lecturer in Japanese History
    University of Maryland

    Louisa Rubinfien has lived, studied and worked in Japan on and off for many years, first when growing up there in the 1960s and '70s and most recently again from 2010-2015. She has a PhD in Japanese history from Harvard University and is currently teaching the subject at the University of Maryland and chairing the National Japan Bowl (academic content), an annual tournament for US high school students studying Japanese language and culture. Additionally, she does freelance research, writing, and translating for documentary filmmakers, museums, tourist bureaus, and educational groups, and for academics, writers, and art collectors in both the US and Japan. During the 1980s and 90s, she worked for Japanese Minister of Parliament Ichiro Ozawa, the founding president of the Manjiro Society and the Grassroots Summit.

  • James Gannon
    Japan Center for International Exchange (US)

    Jim Gannon heads the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE/USA), a foreign policy institute that builds US-Japan cooperation on regional and global challenges. It sponsors dialogues for legislators, organizes exchanges for policymakers and opinion leaders, and promotes international collaboration on global health, democracy support, and humanitarian assistance and development. Before joining JCIE/USA in 2001, Jim was a researcher with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and taught in rural Japanese schools as part of the JET Program. An expert on US-Japan exchange and the nonprofit sector, he is co-editor of Looking for Leadership: The Dilemma of Political Leadership in Japan (2015) and A Growing Force: Civil Society’s Role in Asian Regional Security (2013) and has authored dozens of articles and reports about US-Japan relations. Jim graduated from the University of Notre Dame, conducted research at Ehime University, and received a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

  • Urban C. Lehner
    Former Tokyo Bureau Chief
    The Wall Street Journal

    Urban Lehner's 50-year career in journalism includes 33 years with The Wall Street Journal, eight as Tokyo Bureau Chief and nine in Hong Kong as Editor and Publisher of The Asian Wall Street Journal. In Tokyo he studied two hours almost every day with his Japanese sensei but wished he'd started learning Nihongo younger. In 2003 he joined DTN, an electronic agricultural media company, as Editor-in-Chief and Vice President Editorial, and during his years in Omaha he served as chair of the Shizuoka Committee of the Omaha Sister Cities Association. Currently retired, he consults and blogs for DTN and serves as chair of the International Crane Foundation, dedicated to saving the world's 15 crane species, and as finance-committee chair of NatureServe, a conservation-science NGO. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Georgetown University's law school.

  • Chika Aoki
    Secretary General
    John Manjiro – Whitfield Commemorative Center for International Exchange (CIE)

    Chika Aoki has spent her life overseas, with more than 20 years in Minnesota, Oregon, Hawaii, Taipei and Beijing. She graduated from high school as an exchange student in Minnesota. At college in Japan she majored in Chinese Studies and at the University of Oregon in International Studies. A career as a graphic and marketing designer followed. She entered CIE in 2017 as a program manager and successfully coordinated the Seattle Grassroots Summit. Her first homestay experiences in high school are the foundation of her activities now. Since high school, those families who hosted her around the world and visited her family in Japan have been connecting and seeing each other occasionally and the relationships are continuing with their children. She has also been volunteering in various international exchange programs, including Lions Club in Japan.

  • Gregory A. Boyko
    Honorary Consul General for Japan, supporting the Boston Consulate
    Retired Chairman & CEO, Hartford Life International

    Starting in the mid-1990s Greg Boyko traveled to Japan more than 125 times and lived there 2006-2007. He drove The Hartford’s successful entry into the Japanese, Brazilian, and EU markets and served as President and CEO of HLIKK, its Japanese subsidiary. While in Japan he authored a monthly article in the Nikkei and was active in ACCJ and the US-Japan Business Council. Greg is past President of CIE-US and a former Director of the Japan Society of New York. Currently he's a Director of Nomura Americas Re and Nomura Americas US Re in Bermuda. Prior to his international roles, he served as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Hartford Life Insurance Company. He's a graduate of the University of Connecticut and its law school and is a Certified Public Accountant, Chartered Life Underwriter, and Chartered Financial Consultant.

  • Kazuyoshi "Yoshi" Domoto
    Executive Director
    Japan-America Society of Georgia

    Yoshi Domoto has served as JASG's executive director since 2008. Under his leadership JASG received a Commendation from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan in 2010. In 2011 Yoshi helped raise nearly $400,000 for Japan’s relief and rebuilding efforts after the March 11 Tohoku Earthquake & Tsunami. Yoshi has helped produce 3 documentary films about JASG, the history of Georgia-Japan relations, and JapanFest, the largest Japanese festival in the Southeastern United States. He is the Festival Secretary of JapanFest Atlanta and serves on the Executive Committee of the National Association of Japan-America Societies. Before JASG, Yoshi was an assistant language teacher in Osaka with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program. He has a BA from Oglethorpe University and did graduate work at Georgia State University in applied linguistics. Yoshi lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, Bonny, 2 sons, Kai and Kamden, and 2 dogs, Moose and Pepper.

  • Douglas Erber
    Past President
    Japan America Society of Southern California

    Douglas Erber was president of the Japan America Society of Southern California for 17 years, and a past member of the NAJAS board. He is also president emeritus and advisor for the Sister City Association of Huntington Beach, which has a strong, 40-year relationship with Anjo-city, Aichi-prefecture. He was a founding member of the Steering Committee for Japan House Los Angeles. Erber’s day job is executive director of the Infant Development Association of California, a 50-year-old membership organization that promotes family-centered, quality early intervention to children with special needs, ages 0-3. In addition to CIE-US, he volunteers as board president of the Autism Partnership Foundation. In 2014, the governor of California appointed him to the state’s Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) on Early Intervention; in 2019, he was elected co-chair of the ICC. Erber worked in Japan for two years after he earned his BA degree at California State University, Long Beach. An avid surfer, he has surfed around the world, including Japan.

  • Donna D. Fraiche
    Founder and President of Fraiche Strategies, LLC.

    Recently retired from forty-five years in the active practice of health law and Chaired the Women’s Initiative at the national law firm, Baker Donelson, honorable Fraiche is the Honorary Consul of Japan at New Orleans for Louisiana over a decade and received the prestigious Order of the Rising Sun, Government of Japan: Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon conferred by the Government of Japan in recognition outstanding contributions to Japan and U.S. relations.
    She is on the Board of the Japan Society New Orleans and the Japan Garden Foundation and a former Chair of the Board of Loyola University .She is on the board of three Nasdaq listed Companies
    Including as lead independent director of two companies. She serves as the President of the Louisiana Chapter of the International Women’s Forum.
    Donna is also co-owner and co-manager of a number of family small and real estate holding businesses.

  • David Janes
    Senior Advisor
    Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University

    David Janes leads OIST's development efforts in the U.S. Previously he was Director of Foundation Grants and Assistant to the President at the United States-Japan Foundation. He served at the Foundation for 18 years and managed more than 100 active grantees annually, with an emphasis on educational exchange. David is active on many Japan-related boards, including ICU (International Christian University) Foundation, American Friends of the International House of Japan and the AmerAsian School in Okinawa. His numerous degrees include an MA from the University of Hawaii, focusing on Japanese religious traditions, and an MA in International Affairs from Tufts University's Fletcher School. David also holds an M.Phil. in Sociology from the New School for Social Research where he is a Ph.D. Candidate. His dissertation focuses on the symbolic and discursive diffusion of Japanese war memory. Married with one son, David often competes in endurance events to raise funds for cancer care and research.

  • Matthew C. Perry
    Emeritus Scientist
    Patuxent Wildlife Research Center

    Dr. Matthew C. Perry's twin passions are wildlife biology and the history of his namesake ancestor, Commodore Matthew C. Perry, who negotiated a treaty of peace and amity between Japan and the United States in 1854. After graduating from college in 1963, he served in the U.S. Navy aboard a ship in the western Pacific Ocean and was involved with the first two amphibious landings in Vietnam. His ship made two memorable rest-and-relaxation trips to Japan. Matt's career in wildlife management and research included 40 years at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland. He retired in 2011 but continues to do research and write and edit scientific publications. Matt has participated in eleven CIE-US cultural exchange programs in Japan and the U.S. He is on the Board of the Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship Society (Fairhaven, MA) and is a member of the Japan Society of Boston.

  • Debra Saito
    Federal Reserve Bank of New York

    Debby began her connection with Japan by studying the language, along with Spanish, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, moving after graduation to Mexico to be an interpreter for a Japanese auto parts maker. She was possibly the worst Japanese/Spanish interpreter ever, but was whisked away, thanks to receiving the Monbusho scholarship, with which she got her Master’s degree in International Development at Nagoya University. After grad school, Debby worked in Washington, D.C. first for JBIC, and then for JICA, for a total of six years, managing development projects in the Caribbean. After witnessing the fallout of an immense banking scandal in the Dominican Republic, she decided to move from the public good of development, to that of financial supervision, and she’s been doing so at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the 13 years since.

  • Dale Watanabe
    Executive Director
    Japan-America Society of the State of Washington

    Seattle native Dale L. Watanabe worked for over 20 years with Microsoft as a senior business development manager before stepping away in 2011. He served as Commander of the Nisei Veterans Committee in 2006 during the initial kickoff of the organization’s $2.5M Capital Campaign to remodel the NVC Memorial Hall and has served on the NVC Board of Directors since 2004. As executive director of the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington he has found it exciting "to be a part of such a well-respected, long standing organization whose mission it is to foster friendship, cultural exchange, and trade with the land of my ancestors.” Dale played a key role in the success of the 2018 CIE Grassroots Summit in Seattle and he and his family took part in the 2019 Grassroots Summit in Hyogo Prefecture. He has a BA in Economics from California State University, Long Beach, and an MBA from Seattle University.

  • John Wheeler
    Former Executive Vice President
    Japan Society, New York

    In recent years John Wheeler has been a senior advisor and consultant on Japan and Asia to corporations and non-profit cultural and educational organizations. He spent more than two decades at Japan Society in New York, serving as Executive Vice President and helping to guide the Society through a significant period of growth. Before joining Japan Society, Mr. Wheeler worked for Time-Life Books on assignments in New York, Tokyo and Singapore. An authority on Japan and U.S.-Japan relations, he is the author of numerous articles and co-author of a book, Takamiyama, The World of Sumo. He has appeared as a commentator on Japanese and U.S. television. Mr. Wheeler is a graduate of Williams College and Harvard University, and has studied and taught in Japan and India. He is a Trustee of the Harvard-Yenching Institute and a member of various international organizations including the Council on Foreign Relations and the International House of Japan.


  • William R. Farrell
    Honorary Consul of Japan, Rhode Island
    National Association of Japan-America Societies

    Dr. William R. Farrell’s connections with Japan began in 1968 as a student at the Department of Defense Foreign Language Institute. During the next 50 years he resided in and traveled regularly to Japan. As a career military officer, professor at the Naval War College, Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Tokyo, Chairman of a consulting company focused on Asia and Chairman of the National Association of Japan American Societies for a decade, Bill has seen Japan from many perspectives. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Michigan and has spoken and written extensively about Japan in two books and numerous articles and opinion pieces. In 2012, he was awarded the Imperial decoration, Order of the Rising Sun with Gold Rays by the Japanese government for his promotion of strong bilateral relations. He was appointed Honorary Consul for Japan, Rhode Island, in 2018.

  • Peter Grilli
    President Emeritus
    Japan Society of Boston

    Peter Grilli is a well-known specialist in Japanese culture and history. Raised in Japan for most of his childhood, he received BA and MA degrees in East Asian Studies from Harvard University and studied at Waseda University and Tokyo University. He devoted his career to U.S.-Japan cultural exchanges as a non-profit executive at the Japan Society of New York, PBS, the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture at Columbia University, and the Japan Society of Boston. He has been active as a writer and filmmaker, contributing many articles on Japan to leading American magazines and newspapers, directing or producing five full-length documentary films on Japan, and consulting on numerous short news pieces for American television. Following the 2011 earthquakes, tsunami, and nuclear disasters in northeastern Japan, he was a co-founder of the Boston Japanese Disaster Relief Fund, and he continues to support several relief initiatives and cultural organizations in the area.

  • Peter Kelley
    Past President,NAJAS

    Peter Kelley has been President of NAJAS since 2009. He came to NAJAS with long experience with Japan in both the private and not-for-profit sectors. From 1985-2003, he worked for Teradyne, Inc., a Boston-based supplier of semiconductor test equipment, spending five years each in Japan and Europe and establishing the company’s Connection Systems Division in Japan. From 2004-2009, he was Executive Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute in Cambridge, Mass., an independent foundation dedicated to the promotion of the humanities in higher education in Asia. He is a graduate of Harvard College, with a major in East Asian Studies, and the University of Maine School of Law. In 2016, he was awarded a Foreign Minister’s Commendation by the government of Japan for his work in support of the commemorations of the 70th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

  • Matthew Krebs, PhD
    Former Executive Director
    Japan Society of Boston

    Matt Krebs has worked to establish friendships between Japanese and Americans throughout his life as an anthropologist and non-profit leader. Matt began supporting CIE-US in 2008 when he organized the Summit in Kentucky. In addition to his three years (2016-2019) as executive director of the Japan Society of Boston he served four years (2007-2011) as executive director of the Japan Society in Kentucky. Under his leadership, these organizations dramatically grew their impact through increased programming and membership support. Matt’s anthropology research in Japan engaged the “maker” community of manufacturing enthusiasts promoting citizen-led, open-source initiatives. He has taught Japanese language, global culture and archeology. Matt earned his Ph.D. (Anthropology, 2019) and M.A. (International Diplomacy, 2005) from the University of Kentucky, and his B.A. (International Studies, 2004) from Brigham Young University.

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Tel: (202) 429-5545