09 August 2013
Tokyo, Japan

Social Enterprise English Language School (SEELS), to which we provide seed capital and advisory services, was awarded grants from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) under the project to promote creation of social business after the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Eight not-for-profit organizations and social enterprises were selected, and SEELS is the only enterprise founded and operated by foreign migrants.The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) promotes social businesses* because of their potential for creating new industries and jobs at a regional level[1], especially in disaster areas after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. METI recognizes that this situation has led to an increase in interest in social businesses, a type of business seeking to resolve social problems through business-oriented approaches.[2]

*Social business: Activity (or organization) aimed at resolving social issues, such as rural development, the declining birthrate and aging population, environmental conservation, and poverty, through business, while securing commercial viability.

For more information, visit:http://www.meti.go.jp/information/publicoffer/saitaku/s130704003.html (Japanese only)


[1] METI publishes “Social Business Case Book (Post-Disaster Reconstruction Edition)” (13 January 2013) [Online]. Available at: http://www.meti.go.jp/english/press/2012/0113_01.html (Accessed: 30 August 2013)
[2] FY2013 Budget Request (29 January 2013) [Online]. Available at: http://www.meti.go.jp/english/aboutmeti/policy/fy2013/pdf/130129budget.pdf (Accessed: 30 August 2013)
25 June 2013
New York, New York

Akira Foundation has been selected among Japanese institutions as a strategic partner for The World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (theWSIE). This is the second time for two consecutive years.

TheWSIE was launched at United Nations in 2006. Supported by three UN agencies including UNDP along with International Chamber of Commerce, African Union, and multinationals like PepsiCo, Boeing, CNBC, and Microsoft, the first theWSIE took place at the historic city of Muscat, Oman, and has been held every other year with over 70 countries attended.

Held on October 9-11, 2013, in New York City, under the support of OECD, Inter-American Development Bank, New England Board of Higher Education, Harvard Business Review, Wyss Institute at Harvard, IBM, Cisco, German Center for Research & Innovation, Arab Thought Foundation, and many multinationals, theWSIE on “Tomorrow, The Innovation Story” will explore the world’s most meaningful designs, enterprises, and innovations transforming the future of business and society across 7 main themes: communication, technology, health, education, lifestyle, energy, and cities.

The World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (theWSIE)
- TOMORROW: The Innovation Story -


New York City, New York
Wednesday, October 9 – Friday, October 11, 2013

Facts (Delegates through AFJ in 2012)

- African Centre for Cites (ACC, South Africa)
- Annata Foundation (Lebanon)
- Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD, Massachusetts)
- IMPACT Foundation Japan (Japan)
- J-Seed Ventures, Inc. (Japan)
- KarmSolar (Egypt)
- SEELS (Japan)
- TEDxTokyo (Japan)
- Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC, Japan)
- Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. (TMS, California)
- Toyota Technical Center (TTC, Michigan)
- University of Cape Town (UCT, South Africa)


Hirofumi Yokoi
Co-Founder and President, Akira Foundation

+81 (0) 3 5456 5179
+81 (0) 3 5456 5511

20 June 2013
Tokyo, Japan

Don’t miss out on great volunteering opportunities this summer in Japan! We support the campaign activities led by Tokyo Volunteer Action Center, as do other companies including Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation and Glaxo SmithKline. The fields available for volunteers vary from health care, education, disabled and elderly care, and childcare to environmental conservation, international cooperation, and cross-cultural learning. For further information, please visit http://www.tvac.or.jp/summer/ (in Japanese only).

13 June 2013
Tokyo, Japan

We are hiring a Local Coordinator of TOMODACHI U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program. Please click ‘read all’ below for details.

22 April 2013
Tokyo, Japan

A Memorandum of Understanding for the period 2013-2014 was signed April 18 between Akira Foundation (AFJ) and American Councils for International Education (American Councils) at the Celestine Hotel in Tokyo, Japan.

The memorandum was signed shoulder to shoulder by AFJ President Hirofumi Yokoi and American Councils Chief Strategy and Development Officer Miriam Parel. It paves the way for a collaborative partnership between the two nonprofit organizations involved in international education, social innovation, and cultural exchange.

The new agreement will run from April 18, 2013 until April 17, 2014 and includes the following points:

- Promote and organize joint international education, social innovation, social entrepreneurship programs to enhance US-Japan cooperation in these fields
- Work with American Councils to develop the US-Japan Youth Exchange pilot program in Japan by providing guidance in selecting local partners and assistance in recruitment process, as indicated in a Project Agreement between the parties

American Councils for International Education intends to pilot the U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program, a hands-on, service-based exchange program that will send six selected high school students and a teacher from Washington, D.C. to Tokyo in summer 2013, and bring six selected high school students and a teacher from Tokyo to Washington, D.C. in fall 2013.

In the U.S. this project will specifically target high school students from D.C. public schools, which serve a more ethnically and socioeconomically diverse student population, including lower-income families, to educate them about Japan’s rich cultural heritage and encourage further interest in studying Japanese language and history. For Japanese students, the program will provide deep cross-cultural engagement, language learning and a social entrepreneurship experience.

The project invests in the next generation of Japanese and Americans by providing them with tangible skills and new expertise that will help them succeed in their academic and professional life while strengthening the United States – Japan relationship. Overall, one of the key goals of this program is to enrich program participants through real life experiences, developing the leadership qualities necessary for success in the 21st century.

“The agreement marks a significant milestone to take another step closer to our shared goal of international education and social innovation,” said Yokoi. “Undoubtedly, the global presence and network that American Councils has in education and training will enable Japanese youth to build a new level of relationship and friendship with a diversity of people and institutions towards becoming the next generation of leaders who are socially conscious and empathetic.”

American Councils has been awarded a $95,000 grant from TOMODACHI Initiative* to implement the U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program which would allow American high school students to recognize and understand innovative and entrepreneurial activities emerging in Tohoku, the disaster-affected region of Japan.

* The TOMODACHI Initiative is a public-private partnership forged after the Great East Japan Earthquake and led by the U.S. Government, the Japanese Government and the U.S.-Japan Council, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. (http://usjapantomodachi.org/about-us/)