The Japan Society
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Monday 27 March 2023

Announcing the appointment of our new Chief Executive!

The Japan Society is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Rivera King as its new Chief Executive. Michael joins the Japan Society from Ashinaga - a Japanese charity providing educational support to under-privileged young people – where he has served as CEO of its UK operations since January 2017.

Michael’s relationship with Japan began when he was 18, with his first ever flight taking him to Tokyo. He later worked on the JET programme in Fukui for five years from 2006 where he also founded a volunteer organisation, Smile Kids Japan, and has since continued his work to improve the lives of children in Japan. He holds an MSc in Japanese Studies and Master’s Degree and DPhil in Social Policy, all from Oxford University, and has advised the Japanese government on its 2016 revision of the Child Welfare Act. 

Michael takes over from Heidi Potter who has led the Japan Society for 15 years. Heidi will remain on the staff in a part time capacity overseeing our financial reporting as well as supporting the UK-Japan 21st Century Group, and will ensure a smooth transition to Mike.

Bill Emmott, Chair of the Japan Society, said ‘The Board of Trustees are extremely happy to appoint Michael as our new Chief Executive. He brings passion, enthusiasm and lots of new ideas as well as a depth of experience, and I am confident he will ensure the Japan Society continues to serve its members and strengthen the UK-Japan relationship in ways fitting for our current era. I would like to thank Heidi for her hard work and dedication to the Japan Society over the last fifteen years and I am delighted that she will be staying with us once Michael joins. I hope members, sponsors, donors and friends of the Japan Society will join me in wishing Michael a very warm welcome’.

Michael will start as Chief Executive from 19 June but will be attending Japan Society events in the meantime.