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In March, the World Economic Forum announced this year’s Forum of Young Global Leaders (YGLs), the most exceptional leaders 40 years of age and younger, who are believed to be the architects of future society.

The Forum of Young Global Leaders was created in 2004. YGLs are young leaders who are radically changing their industries, politics and society. Entrepreneurial and optimistic, they represent the next generation of global leadership.

This year’s class of 187 YGLs is split evenly between business and nonprofit sectors, the latter including science and technology, arts and culture, civil society, policy and government and media and social entrepreneurs.

Women are strongly represented in this year’s class and with half the intake coming from emerging economies, the world’s future leadership is becoming broader in terms of both gender and geography. Alongside 44 selected from North America and 39 from Europe, the class of 2015 includes 23 YGLs from East Asia, 19 from South Asia, 17 from Greater China, 17 from sub-Saharan Africa, 15 from the Middle East and North Africa and 13 from Latin America.

Current and former YGLs head governments and Fortune 500 companies, win Nobel Prizes and Academy Awards and become U.N. goodwill ambassadors and social entrepreneurs. This year, among the 23 YGLs chosen from East Asia, three are based in Japan:

Steve Kumar Arora

Arora, who has a diverse track record, is currently president of Swiss Reinsurance Company, Japan. He has worked in various areas of finance, including reinsurance, lending, leasing and private equity.

Yoshiki Hiruma

As a director of business continuity management (BCM) rating at the Development Bank of Japan Inc., Hiruma has developed an enterprise-resilience-rated loan program, which was highly regarded at the WEF in 2012. Hiruma is also the director of the homeless soccer team Nobushi Japan.

Naomi Koshi

Upon election in 2012 as mayor of the city of Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, Koshi became the youngest Japanese woman ever to be elected mayor at the age of 36. She has focused on issues related to gender equality and childcare. Prior to entering politics, she practiced law in Tokyo and New York.


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