“To me, the U.S. and Japan are fascinating, as they stand at polar extremes in the way their societies are organized. Philosophy, culture, history set Japan apart from other industrialized countries, especially the U.S. Having spent many years in both the U.S. and Japan, I enjoy assisting the two peoples understand each other.”

Glen S. Fukushima

Not only the expenditure of time qualifies Glen S. Fukushima for his significant role. In his studies and work, he has gained wide experiences in many different spheres in Japan and America — academia, journalism, law, government and business. He is an energetic contributor to several important and official bodies in both countries. As president he served the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan for two successive terms. His articles appear in many publications, and his books have won prizes. He is described as one of the “25 most influential U.S. global visionaries.” He is recipient of the Excellence 2000 Award from the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce.

He said: “I never planned my career systematically, but I have been very fortunate in having exciting opportunities, excellent teachers, superb colleagues. And I am especially blessed in having a wonderful wife.” He has always had the courage to seize opportunities as they came along. Now he is recognized for his authority and objective, sweeping overview of global events.

Fukushima was born in Tokyo in 1949. His American Nisei father, then assigned here in the U.S. Army, and his Japanese mother gave every attention to nurturing their only child’s aptitudes and confidence. His first schools were those for U.S. military dependents in Japan. “I had attended 12 different schools by the time I went to college,” Fukushima said. For him, a roving childhood meant advantage.

Speaking both languages during his growing-up years, he said: “Japan was more like a hobby, a side interest. I didn’t think of Japan as a profession. After I went to Stanford, I began formal study of Japanese, but I had other interests too. I had studied Spanish, French and German, and in college I planned to become a medical doctor.”

As an exchange student Fukushima came to Keio University. A seminar he took there, he said, “got me to thinking that U.S.-Japan relations was something I could engage in professionally.” Fukushima was a member of the American delegation of the 1970 Japan-America Student Conference. That was when he met his wife, Sakie, who was on the Japanese delegation. After their marriage, she taught Japanese at Harvard, obtained her MBA at Stanford, and now heads the Japan operations of Korn/Ferry International, the world’s largest executive search firm.

After college, Fukushima spent two years in Japan, where he worked for a newspaper and studied in the graduate school of Tokyo University, returning a decade later as a Fulbright fellow in the faculty of law. By then he had been through graduate school at Harvard and was practicing corporate law in Los Angeles. He had also worked in an international law firm in Tokyo. At Harvard, Fukushima had completed all work for a Ph.D. other than his dissertation on comparative U.S.-Japan antitrust policy. He then studied at Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School. He had the distinction of being a teaching fellow for professors David Riesman, Ezra Vogel and former Ambassador Edwin Reischauer.

In 1985 he received a telephone call. “I was asked if I would be interested in working in Washington, D.C., at the Office of the United States Trade Representative,” he said. He applied, and was appointed director for Japanese affairs. Three years later he was promoted to the position of deputy assistant USTR for Japan and China.

After nearly five years of government service, Fukushima decided to put his skills and abilities to use in business, first as vice president of the Japan operations of AT&T Corp., the $62 billion telecommunications company. In 1998, he moved to be president and representative director of the Japan operation of Arthur D. Little Inc., a premier management consulting firm.

Since October 2000, he has headed the Japan operations of Cadence Design Systems, the $1.3 billion software company that, headquartered in Silicon Valley, is the world leader in electronic design automation. He said: “Professionally it is an exciting time to provide the leadership and strategic vision to build and expand Cadence in Japan. On the personal side, I have enjoyed many fascinating experiences, and look forward to having more. I’ve always liked to do things that are a bit unconventional.”