About Pathways Japan
Pathways Japan aims to create a world where anyone is provided with an opportunity to create their own future.
To admit refugees from all over the world and empower them to be a member of the Japanese society with their own initiative.
To create and offer higher education opportunities in Japan to people with refugee experience, utilizing out our variety of partners.
To create social environment and systems that can admit people with refugee background to entire sectors of society in Japan and Asia.
At the end of 2020, the number of refugees and displaced persons worldwide reached 82.4 million. While some people need assistance during the emergency phase, many are willing to create their future without relying on the so-colled “support.” Pathways Japan started its activities in July 2021 with the aim to open new pathways for refugees through education, taking over the “Programme for admission of Syrian Refugee Students” from Japan Association for Refugees in its sixth year of implementation. We have seen, through the five years of their admission, how tough it can be for each admitted student can be. We want to give an opportunity, to open her/his own future in a new land, here in Japan. As an international student, learning the language, culture, and customs of a new country in a short period of time is anything but easy. However, students have overcome insurmountable challenges step by step with their strength, which enabled them to cross borders and make their own paths. Sympathizing with their struggles, connecting them with people who are eager to welcome and support them. Our community have spread across Japan, from Tohoku to Okinawa. Our name, “Pathways Japan (PJ),” comes from our passion to make it a path to Japan and a path to the future for the younger generation who have gone through refugee experiences. We sincerely hope to realize our passion and involve a much greater circle of people who are willing to offer their support and believe in people reaching out for an opportunity.
Representative Director ORII Norimasa
Naosuke FUJITA, Council Member
Co-founder of the Lawyers Network for LGBT and Ally Network (LLAN), a non-profit organisation. He graduated from Waseda University School of Law and received his LL.M. from the University of Michigan Law School, U.S.A. He was admitted to the BAR in 1987 (39th term) and worked at a domestic law firm, a US law firm and as a legal manager at a foreign financial institution, and is currently the head of the legal office at Pension Fund Management Inc. American Bar Association’s International Law Section’s ‘Outstanding International In-house Lawyer’ award and the Financial Times’ ‘Most Innovative Head of Legal Affairs’ award for corporate legal affairs, respectively, in 2017, in relation to pro bono work on LGBTQ issues.
Yukiko OKUNO Council Member
Professor at the Graduate School of Humanities, Tokyo Metropolitan University. Completed the Graduate School of Education, Hiroshima University. PhD (Education).
After working as an intern at the University of Wellington, New Zealand, and at the International Student Centre, Yokohama National University, Okuno is currently in her current position. Specialises in Japanese language pedagogy and second language acquisition research.
Practices language education for peace. Deals with immigration and refugee issues, poverty issues and international assistance. Continues to work with students from Syria and refugee students from Myanmar and their families through research guidance and Japanese language support. Director of the Society for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language, and a board member of the NPO Arazi. She is the author of many books, including Japanese Language x Global Issues: Learning Japanese in PEACE (2021).
Satoko KONO, councillor.
Representative of ARUN LLC / President of the NPO ARUN Seed After graduating from International Christian University (ICU), she worked in the private sector and at ARI before becoming involved in reconstruction and development assistance in Cambodia through the work of an NGO (SHARE = Association of Citizens for International Health Cooperation), JICA and the World Bank from 1995. An encounter with a Cambodian social entrepreneur opened his eyes to social finance and, convinced of its necessity and potential, he founded ARUN in 2009.
I Board members
Norimasa ORII, Representative Director
Born in 1968. After working for a company, he started working for an NGO in 2002, providing humanitarian assistance during humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, Iran, Palestine, Syria and Myanmar, and natural disasters in Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, Myanmar and Haiti, etc. Since 2016, he has been working for the Association for Refugee Assistance (ARUN) as a refugee reception project manager. In July 2021, she was involved in the establishment of Pathways Japan after the project was transferred from the Refugee Assistance Association, and became its representative director. She holds a Master’s degree in International Politics.
Setsuo IUCHI, Director
Born in 1960, graduated from the University of Tokyo Faculty of Law in 1983 and joined the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (now the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), where he was involved in trade policy, industrial policy and energy policy. After retiring from the Ministry, he became a company director and a board member of the Japan Association for Refugees and Refugee Assistance (JARRA). He holds an MBA from Columbia University.
Hiroaki ISHII, full-time director.
Born in 1960. After graduating from the Faculty of Commerce at Keio University, he worked for a company before studying at a postgraduate school of international relations in the USA, where he received a master’s degree. After returning to Japan, he joined Amnesty International thus entering the non-profit world. In 1999, he helped found the current Association for Refugee Assistance, a certified PO organisation. He is currently a board member of the Association and also serves on the boards of several other organisations.
Mayo Suzuki, Board Member
Born in 1986. After graduating from Tsuda College with a degree in international relations, she worked for an electric power company in charge of international cooperation projects. In July 2020, she founded Social Connection for Human Rights, an organisation specialising in business and human rights, to provide advisory services from the rights-holder perspective. She is responsible for advisory services from the rights-holder perspective.
Maria Anastasia Izumi TSUDA, Board Member.
Born 1975. After graduating from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies with a degree in European and American Studies I, she studied in the UK, and after returning to Japan, entered the Department of Political Science, Graduate School of Law, Keio University. After completing her Master’s degree, she joined the Keizai Doyukai Secretariat (in charge of public relations, policy research and international conferences, and participated in the World Economic Forum in 2007) and started her own business in 2012, providing bi-lingual Japanese-English support for the establishment of non-profit organisations, fundraising and public relations. Has worked with many local authorities, businesses and economic organisations. Board member of the Refugee Entrepreneurship Support Fund (since 2014). Member of the IBM Japan Fuji Council (since 2020). Master of Laws
Mika HASEBE Board member
Associate professor at Meiji Gakuin University’s Centre for Liberal Education. Specialised in sociology. Researched the impact of gender in both international migration and settlement. From there, she researches what host societies can do to help migrants adapt to their host societies, nature of multicultural societies and how citizens can work towards this – multifaceted society theory and volunteer studies. She has participated in support activities for foreign residents in a foreign neighbourhood in Kanagawa Prefecture, where she met ‘Indochinese refugees’ and is continuing her research activities by listening to their ‘oral histories’.
Shigeki EBISUI, supervisor.
Born in 1956. After graduating from the Faculty of Economics, Chuo University, he joined Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, where he was involved in auditing local governments, independent administrative institutions, NPOs and public corporations, in addition to auditing the accounts of joint stock companies. He was appointed as a member of the Non-Profit Corporation Committee of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, as well as a member of the Public Interest Corporation System Consultation Committee and a member of the New Public Support Project Management Committee by the Cabinet Office. Currently, he has established a certified public accountant’s office and is an auditor of public interest corporations.
Takeshi NEMOTO Auditor
Partner at Nishimura & Asahi; graduated from Keio University Faculty of Law in 2003, registered as a lawyer in 2005, joined Nishimura & Asahi (then Nishimura & Tokiwa) in 2005, graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law (LL.M.) in 2014, graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2014-2015. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (New York law firm), 2015; admitted to the New York Bar, 2015; part-time lecturer at Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy, 2016-2017; part-time lecturer at Hitotsubashi University Law School, 2020-. He is involved in supporting NGOs and NPOs by utilising his corporate legal skills.
(As of January 11, 2022）
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