The visit was part of a four-day, three-city study mission that allowed the delegates to meet with U.S. nonprofit leaders and gather information to help Japanese philanthropic organizations improve their accountability, transparency, and self-discipline. The visitors spent most of their day in Williamsburg in meetings at GuideStar. GuideStar's management, led by chairman Buzz Schmidt and president Robert G. Ottenhoff, conducted a spirited exchange covering the Williamsburg organization's unique role in supporting a more effective philanthropic sector through the collection and distribution of extensive information about the activities of hundreds of thousands of American nonprofits. Despite differences in their countries' traditional approaches to philanthropy and provision of social services, GuideStar management and the Japanese delegates agreed that providing good information to the public was critical for the advancement of civil society in both Japan and the United States.
As part of its frenetic, weeklong agenda, the group traveled to Washington, D.C., before coming to Williamsburg and continued from Virginia to New York City, engaging in both cities in several meetings with other leaders in the nonprofit sector. Thanks to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the stop in Williamsburg provided a welcomed change of pace. The visitors began their day with a VIP tour of the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area. That evening, Colonial Williamsburg president and chairman Colin Campbell renewed his longstanding relationship with the visiting group's leaders when he and vice president—Productions, Publications, and Learning Ventures Richard L. McCluney, Jr. hosted a reception and dinner for the delegation. Schmidt and Ottenhoff attended the event. Conversation throughout both the reception and the meal focused on trends in and issues facing the Japanese and U.S. nonprofit sectors. Colonial Williamsburg's own connections to Japan were furthered last November, when the foundation's Electronic Field Trips program, developed and supervised by McCluney, was awarded the coveted Web Prize for educational television, an award sponsored by the Japanese royal family.
Tatsuo Ohta, president and CEO of the Japan Association of Charitable Organizations, headed the delegation. The other members were: Tadashi Yamamoto, president, Japan Center for International Exchange; Yutaka Asamura, executive director, Japan Foundation Center; Shoichiro Amikura, president and managing director, Toshiba International Foundation; Takako Amemiya, professor of Civil Law, Shoin College; Masaru Inoue, managing director, Honda Foundation; Masao Katayama, director, The Saison Foundation; Hideko Katumata, executive secretary, Japan Center for International Exchange; Toshihiro Kanazawa, managing director, The Kirin Foundation; Norio Kanie, secretary general, The Toyota Foundation; Hiroko Shibata, secretary general, Fukuoka International Association; Yukio Shimoyama, general manager, Hokkaido Teachers Health and Welfare Foundation; Daisuke Takayanagi, fellow, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry; Shigeru Yamato, secretary general, Information Center for Performing Arts and Entertainment; and Hisakazu Dohi, secretary general, The Japan Association of Charitable Organizations. James Gannon, executive director of the Japan Center for International Exchange (USA), accompanied the group.
About GuideStarGuideStar is the operating name and registered trademark of Philanthropic Research, Inc., a 501(c)(3) public charity located in Williamsburg, Virginia. GuideStar's mission is to revolutionize philanthropy and nonprofit practice with information. To that end, GuideStar has created and is constantly updating a database of information on all IRS-recognized 501(c) nonprofit organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. The GuideStar database currently comprises information on 1.7 million nonprofit organizations. Basic program and financial data about these organizations are available for free on the GuideStar Web site, www.guidestar.org.
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