After a decade running an executive training program dedicated to Japanese female leadership, philanthropist Atsuko Fish has had many takeaways, but the biggest was that she had not pushed women anywhere hard enough to achieve social change.

The Japanese Women's Leadership Initiative executive four-week training program in Boston, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016, is this year a revamped version of itself with the emphasis on participants delivering through their actions, Fish said.

"If I push too much, Japanese people feel pressure. They feel like we Americans are too pushy, so I had been gentle even though when they come back to Japan they have to present an action plan," Fish, 74, said in an interview in Tokyo, where she came to conduct interviews with potential candidates for the 2017 program.