FUTI Annual Board and Advisory Committee Joint Meeting, September 28, 2019 (Saturday), New York

FUTI Annual Board and Advisory Committee Joint Meeting, September 28, 2019 (Saturday), New York

  • Board members present: Masaaki Yamada (chair), Teruo Fujii, Sumiko Ito, Takatoshi Ito, Yuichiro Kuwama, Shigenori Matsushita, Iwao Ojima, Nobuko Sakurai
  • Advisory Committee (AC) members present: Hisashi Kobayashi, Akiko Koide, Geeta Mehta, Yasuo Okamoto, Yuriko Suzuki, K.Y. Tung, Masako Osako (also as acting Secretary).
  • Others present: Shohei Koide (Scholarship Committee), Tetsu Fujisaki (Observer), Yoshinari Ikiri (Observer), Yuki Haba (Observer)

FUTI’s Annual Board and Advisory Committee joint meeting was held at the UTokyo New York office in New York, commencing at 1:30pm on September 28, 2019.

After welcome greetings by Mr. Y. Yamada (chair), Ms. Osako, acting Secretary, presented the minutes of the Annual Board meetings held on September 29, 2018 and April 15, 2019. The minutes were unanimously approved by the Board.

1. Status Report of FUTI: M. Yamada

  • The FUTI Board approved the resignation of Dr. Yamada as Chair and approved the election of Dr. Ojima as Chair effective October 1, 2019.
  • Dr. Yamada also announced that a new collaboration was going to start between FUTI and the UTokyo NY Office. The Board discussed the nature of this partnership between the two organizations which is likely to result in mutual benefits.            
  • New members for the FUTI Board are proposed and approved unanimously by the Board:
    • Takatoshi Ito, Professor, Columbia University
    • Junji Takegami, Co-founder and advisor, Tiger Pacific Capital, LP

2.Recent Developments at UTokyo

Using the slides, Dr. T. Fujii, Executive Vice President of UTokyo, introduced the university’s new vision, “Choosing our Future” and various programs and activities being undertaken by the university. Highlights include:

  • UTokyo aims at developing an inclusive society utilizing “science, technology and innovations,” “social systems,” and “economic mechanisms.” The university encourages young people “wanting to solve social issues.”
  • UTokyo’s goal is to develop a “new system” to achieve “sustainable development of human society.”
  • In order to implement its vision, the university has initiated a variety of programs including, GLP-GEfIL, Go Global Gateway, and Taiken program, which are generating encouraging results.

3.Scholarship Programs

Dr. S. Matsushita, Chair of the Scholarship Committee, provided updates on scholarship related matters.

  • FUTI provided 17 Global Leadership Awards and 9 Ito Foundation USA-FUTI scholarship awards in 2019 (which included one Ikuei scholarship).
  • With respect to English Proficiency Test scores (EPT), Dr. Matsushita recommended that the current EPT exemption for the “2nd year application” be removed and replaced by the notice that EPT scores of earlier years might be used. The Board concurred on the recommendation.

Dr. Ojima suggested to promote scholarships to support graduate students, mainly Ph.D. course students, at UTokyo to carry out a 6- to 12-month period of research as visiting graduate students (i.e., no requirement to take courses or degrees) at a relevant US university’s research laboratory.

Prof. Kobayashi will step down from the Scholarship Committee to be replaced by Dr. Koide effective AY2019-20.

4. Grant Programs

Dr. M. Yamada provided updates on FUTI’s grant programs including an overview of the 2018-2019 recipients, the Columbia-UTokyo program and the Yale-UTokyo exchange of scholars under the Yamakawa Kenjiro Memorial Lecture series.

5. Financial Statements for FY 18/19 and Related Items

Dr. Kuwama, Treasurer and Director of Financial Affairs, reported financial highlights for FY2018-19.

  • Donation from individual donors totaled $59,876 only slightly below $61,021 a year earlier.
  • Support received from Shintech and Ito Foundation USA was $35,997 and $200,000, respectively.
  • FUTI gave $61,900 in FUTI Global Leadership scholarships, $179,500 in Ito USA-FUTI scholarships, and $19,500 as grants to universities.
  • In respect to the IRS’s public support test (so-called “one-third rule”), Dr. Kuwama stated that the public support ratio for the FY2018 (ending in June 2019) was 31.8%. Dr. Kuwama stressed the importance of an active fundraising campaign with alumni in order to raise the ratio to the 33.3% level.

6. Report by the AC Committee

Dr. H. Kobayashi, chair of the AC Committee, introduced three new ex-officio members who joined the FUTI AC. They are Yumi Nakayama (Satsukikai America), Katsuyuki Yamaguchi (NY Icho-kai) and Masako Osako (Chicago Akamon-kai).

Dr. Kobayashi discussed various contributions AC members have made during the 2018-19 fiscal year, including supporting UTokyo’s Taiken programs (in DC and New York) and advising UTokyo students who visited New York, Berkeley, etc.

Kobayashi said that he served on the Board and AC since 2007, and expressed his firm belief that any organization needs to have new blood coming in to replace old ones so as to remain vital. He requested to step down from the AC Chair as soon as President Ojima finds his replacement.

7. Report from FUTI Alumni Association

Mr. Haba and Ms. Miyano, co-founders of the FUTI Alumni Association, reported on the establishment of the FUTI Alumni Association which is designed to form a network among 150+ FUTI scholarship recipients in the US, Japan and elsewhere. As of September 28, approximately 40 members have registered for membership.

Mr. Yamada proposed budget of $5,000 to support the Association for 2019-2020, which was approved by the Board.

8. Outstanding Operational Issues for FUTI

  • Prof. Ojima, next President of FUTI starting October 1, 2019, proposed the creation of a working group to re-examine the financial situation, organizational structure, and by-laws of FUTI as well as its relationship with the UTokyo NY Office. The group, to be headed by Dr. Kuwama, is expected to make recommendations to the Board at the 2020 Board meeting.
  •  Dr. Ojima also recommended assigning specific areas of responsibility to Board members in addition to the currently available “University Relations” designation. He recommended, for example, Dr. Matsushita to be the “Director of Scholarship Programs”.
  • Dr. Ojima commented on the expected responsibility of Board members in terms of both financial and volunteering work.

9. Service Award Plaque presented to M. Yamada

Dr. Ojima thanked Dr. Yamada for his outstanding service to FUTI since 2015 and presented him a “Distinguished Service Award” plaque.

Dr. Kobayashi suggested that Mr. Yamada become honorary president of FUTI after the next year.


1. Appointment of Directors and Officers, Advisory Committee Members and Award Committee Members, etc.

  • The Board unanimously approved the following appointments:

Iwao Ojima

Yuichiro Kuwama

Secretary (Acting)
Masako Osako

Teruo Fujii, Koichi Hamada, Sumiko Ito, Takatoshi Ito, Shigenori Matsushita, Nobuko Sakurai, Junji Takegami, Masaaki Yamada

President Emeriti
Hisashi Kobayashi, Junji Masuda

Honorary Director
Komiyama Hiroshi

Advisory Committee Chair
Hisashi Kobayashi

Advisory Committee Members
Tai Hasegawa, Takeshi Komoto, Geeta Mehta, Yumi Nakayama, Yasuo Okamoto, Masako Osako, Ko-Yung Tung, Kenzi Karasaki, Yuriko Suzuki,

Scholarship Committee Chair
Shigenori Matsushita

Scholarship Committee Members
Sumiko Ito, Shohei Koide, Iwao Ojima, Masako Osako, Nobuko Sakurai, Masaaki Yamada

Jimukyoku cho (Managing Director of Operations)
Masako Osako

Note: Additional responsibilities for Board Members are as follows:

Prof. Iwao Ojima and Prof. Masaaki Yamada will serve as the Directors of University Relations.

Dr. Shigenori Matsushita will serve as the Director of Scholarship Programs.

Ms. Nobuko Sakurai will serve as the Director of FUTI Alumni Association Relations.

Dr. Yuichiro Kuwama will continue as the Director of Financial Affairs.

Articles in this newsletter: