Japan-America Society of Washington DC wishes a happy 90th birthday to its Honorary Chairman Norman Y. Mineta, who was born on November 12, 1931 in San Jose, California.

As Honorary Chairman, Norman Y. Mineta is a dedicated supporter of the Society’s activities, most recently having delivered the closing toast at JASWDC’s 33rd Annual Dinner.

(Left) Norman Y. Mineta delivers the closing toast at JASWDC’s 33rd Annual Dinner. (Right) Secretary Mineta pictured with Aoi and Bob Takai at the 33rd Annual Dinner.

Secretary Mineta was appointed U.S. secretary of transportation by President Bush in 2001 (the first Asian-American member of a president’s Cabinet) and served until July 2006. In 2000, Secretary Mineta was appointed U.S. secretary of commerce by President Clinton. From 1975 to 1995, Secretary Mineta represented the Silicon Valley area of his home state of California in the U.S. House of Representatives, and he also served as vice president of Lockheed Martin and mayor of San Jose, California.

(Left) Norman Y. Mineta is born on November 12, 1931, in San Jose, California. (Right) The Mineta family returns home to San Jose.

Secretary Mineta and his family were among the 120,000 Japanese Americans held in internment camps by the U.S. Government during World War II. Undeterred, Secretary Mineta joined the army in 1953, after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, and served as an intelligence officer in Japan and Korea. Throughout his distinguished career he has received numerous awards for his contributions to the field of civil rights and public service, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Grand Cordon of the Rising Sun. Secretary Mineta has also published a children’s book, which shares his experience as a child in a Japanese American internment camp.

(Left) Norm is the first Japanese American member of Congress elected from the lower 48 states. He would win his election 10 times and serve 21 years in Congress. (Right) President Bill Clinton selects Norm as Secretary of Commerce, becomingthe first Asian American Cabinet Member.

Photos courtesy of the Mineta Legacy Project.
The Mineta Legacy Project captures the life, career and contributions of Secretary Norman Y. Mineta in an hour-long nationally televised documentary and online educational curriculum for high school and college students.
Learn more here