WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Japan-America Society of Washington DC is pleased to announce the appointment of Ambassador James P. Zumwalt as its next Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Ambassador Zumwalt’s appointment is effective September 1st, 2019. With the appointment, Interim Chairman Go Eguchi, who has served in that capacity since January 2019, will resume duties as JASWDC’s Vice Chairman.

The Society welcomes Ambassador Zumwalt’s deep expertise and insight as one of the United States’ most experienced and well-regarded handlers of the U.S.-Japan bilateral relationship. “JASWDC was created by diplomats from the Department of State, and therefore it is fitting that somebody with Ambassador Zumwalt’s depth of experience in U.S.-Japan diplomacy would serve as our senior officer,” said Emma Chanlett-Avery, who chaired the Society’s search committee.  “Ambassador Zumwalt is uniquely well suited to oversee the Society during an exciting period of growth and transition.”

Ambassador Zumwalt will preside over the Society’s governance and strategy during an important era of growth for JASWDC, as the organization celebrates the 60th anniversary of its Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival in 2020 and plans to inaugurate a new Japanese-American Cultural Exchange facility at its office in downtown Washington, D.C.

The Board of Trustees is grateful to Go Eguchi for his leadership of the Board of Trustees during the Society’s search for its permanent Chairman.

About Ambassador Zumwalt

Ambassador James Zumwalt served as Chief Executive Officer of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA from February 2017 until his retirement from the position in August of 2019.  Prior to that role, Ambassador Zumwalt was the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal and the Republic of Guinea Bissau from 2015 to January 2017.  Previously he was responsible for policy toward Japan and Korea as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asia Affairs.  When the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami struck Japan in 2011, Ambassador Zumwalt was serving as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, where he coordinated the United States’ support for the Japanese Government’s response to that crisis.

During his 36-year Foreign Service career, Ambassador Zumwalt has served in a variety of assignments with a focus on Asia and international economics in Washington, Tokyo, Beijing, Kinshasa, Dakar and Bissau.  In Washington, D.C., Jim worked in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and also at the United States Trade Representative’s Office.  He also worked in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Japan, Korea, and Philippine desks. Jim speaks Japanese and French and some Chinese.

Ambassador Zumwalt received a master’s degree in International Security Studies from the National War College in 1998 and a Bachelor of Arts in American History and also in Japanese Language from the University of California at Berkeley in 1979.  He is from El Cajon, California and is married to Ann Kambara, a retired Foreign Service Officer who is now pursuing a second career in Social Work.

About the Japan-America Society of Washington DC

The Japan-America Society of Washington DC is a 501(c)(3) educational and cultural non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening the relationship between Japan and the U.S. at the grassroots public diplomacy level. JASWDC’s signature programs include Washington, D.C.’s Sakura Matsuri-Japanese Street Festival, the National Japan Bowl, the annual U.S.-Japan Public Affairs Dinner, and the region’s largest Japanese Language School.

Press Contacts

For more information, please contact the Japan-America Society of Washington DC at info@jaswdc.org.