Connecting People & Ideas to Advance Mutual Interests in U.S.-Asia Relations

The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and Japan Foundation are honored to announce fifteen experts who will be joining the “U.S.-Japan Network for the Future” program. These specialists on the U.S.-Japan relationship have been identified and selected for demonstrating potential as policy intellectuals and bring diverse expertise and perspectives to the bilateral policy-making process.

As part of the program’s seventh cohort, they will begin a two-year program this June. Over a series of events spanning both countries, the participants will benefit from programming that assists in building professional networks and enhances their opportunities and abilities to engage with policy-relevant research.

Ambassador Mike Mansfield’s belief that the U.S.-Japan relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, “bar none,” is honored through the Network.

Cohort Seven includes:

  • Tyffani Barlow, Major, United States Air Force, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Japan Country Director
  • Justin Chock, Senior Instructor, U.S. Naval Academy
  • Jordan Hamzawi, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
  • Yuko Kakazu, Education, Outreach, and Broader Impacts Manager & Scientist, Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) International Observatory & National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) (Dual Appointment)
  • Hirofumi Kawaguchi, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of the Ryukyus
  • Kyla Kitamura, Analyst in International Trade and Finance, Congressional Research Service
  • Rina Komiya, Ph.D. candidate, Tokyo Metropolitan University and Program Adviser, Cabinet Office of Japan
  • Joe McReynolds, Senior Research Scientist, Peraton Labs
  • David Parker, Senior Japan Specialist, Strider Technologies
  • Tomoko Takahashi, Assistant Professor of International Relations, Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), Kyoto University
  • Ayumi Teraoka, Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Yunchen Tian, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Saint Martin’s University and 2024-2026 JF-Nichibunken Fellow
  • Jacob Vawter, Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State
  • Scott Wilbur, Director for Japan Affairs, Office of the United States Trade Representative
  • Timothy Yang, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Asian Studies, University of Georgia

The Network for the Future program began in 2009, and for 15 years the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and the Japan Foundation have been building and providing opportunities for trained specialists in the academic, government, non-profit, and corporate sectors of the United States and Japan. The 2024-26 cohort brings the size of the network to 97 individuals.

Cohort Seven’s planned program agenda includes an inaugural workshop in Washington, DC this June, followed by a retreat held in the Mansfields’ home state of Montana this October. Next year, the cohort will conduct week-long study trips to Washington and Japan before culminating in a public symposium in June 2026.

The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that promotes understanding and cooperation in U.S.-Asia relations. The Foundation was established in 1983 to honor Mike Mansfield (1903-2001), a revered public servant, statesman, and diplomat who played a pivotal role in many of the key domestic and international issues of the 20th century as U.S. congressman from Montana, Senate majority leader, and U.S. ambassador to Japan. Maureen and Mike Mansfield’s values, ideals, and vision for U.S.-Asia relations continue through the Foundation’s exchanges, dialogues, research, and educational programs, which create networks among U.S. and Asian leaders, explore the underlying issues influencing public policies, and increase awareness about the nations and peoples of Asia. The Foundation has offices in Washington, Tokyo, and Missoula, Montana.

The Japan Foundation is Japan’s only institution dedicated to carrying out comprehensive international cultural exchange programs throughout the world. Established in 1972, the Foundation’s three key pillars of activities are Arts and Cultural Exchange, Japanese-Language Education Overseas, and Japanese Studies and Global Partnerships. The Japan Foundation has a global network consisting of the Tokyo Headquarters, the Kyoto Office, two Japanese-language institutes (the Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa; and the Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai) and 26 overseas offices. We facilitate exchange in a variety of fields with the aim of further deepening mutual understanding and ties between Japanese people and the world.