【Dialogue】Ms. Mitsuru Claire Chino, Executive Officer and General Counsel of Itochu Corporation

On Tuesday April 21st, America-Japan Society (AJS) welcomed Executive Officer and General Counsel of Itochu Corporation, Ms. Mitsuru Claire Chino to discuss women in the U.S. and Japanese society. A woman with a diverse background, she was known as a “tough cookie” when she was in private practice. She is now the first and youngest woman to be appointed as an executive officer in a trading company in Japan. She was recognised as a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum for her success.

In opening the dialogue, AJS President Ichiro Fujisaki asked about Ms.Chino’s initial experiences working at Itochu as a “Sho-sha Woman”, transitioning into a traditionally male dominant field, unique to Japan. She responded positively, explaining her prolonged interest in the field, company and the challenges that came with the job. Being in an environment dominated by men, she noticed the change in her identity and the significance of having your own set of values. As advice, she encouraged women to evaluate themselves objectively to build confidence and advance their careers.

Considering the future of U.S. Japan relations, Ms. Chino stressed that the common values the two countries share, such as the importance of “rule of law,” should not be undermined. She added that for nations to cultivate better relationships, compatibility of values become a key factor.

In closing, Ms. Chino answered questions from the attendees about her thoughts on gender issues in the workforce. She emphasised the importance of establishing concrete skills in order to become female leaders, and encouraged them to express and share their wisdom to facilitate the movement.

As women are underrepresented in the working society, she inspired young women in the audience to fulfil their potential.