The U.S.-Japan Alliance Working in Kentucky – Panel and Sake Tasting

Wednesday, March 6th

Speed Art Museum, 2035 South Third Street, Louisville, KY

5:30 pm | Registration

6:00 pm | Panel Discussion

7:00 pm | Q&A with Audience

7:15 pm | Reception (with Sake Tasting)

Reception catered by Wiltshire Pantry with special Sake Tasting presentation by Ayako Nakajima, WAC’s Japan Outreach Coordinator!

Registration required – form can be located toward the bottom of this page or via this link.

This event is free for WAC Members and $20 for non-members.


Japan has become the single-most important ally of the United States. For over 70 years, Japan has worked together with the United States to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, uphold our common values, and foster economic growth. The U.S.-Japan alliance has also served as the foundation to deepen and widen the U.S.-Japan relationship on multiple fronts, ranging from trade and economic relations to cultural exchanges, and the benefits of this relationship are seen across all regions of the United States, including in Kentucky.

This event will aim to improve understanding of Japan as America’s most important ally and as Kentucky’s strong partner. A panel of U.S. and Japanese experts from Washington, D.C. and a representative of a prominent Japanese company in Kentucky will examine important developments in today’s Japan with implications for U.S.-Japan relations, the depth and breadth of Japan-Kentucky ties, and the impact of Japanese business investments in Kentucky.

The event is co-hosted by Sasakawa USA and World Affairs Council of Kentucky & Southern Indiana as part of Sasakawa USA’s The Alliance Working in America Series, and in partnership with the East-West Center in Washington, and the Japan-America Society of Kentucky, and the World Affairs Councils of America.

Contact World Affairs Council will any questions at [email protected] or (502) 561-5422.

Panel Speakers

Ambassador James Zumwalt

Ambassador James Zumwalt became Chief Executive Officer of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA in February 2017. Ambassador Zumwalt was the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal and the Republic of Guinea Bissau from 2015 to January 2017. Previously, he was responsible for policy toward Japan and Korea as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asia Affairs. When the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami struck Japan in 2011, Ambassador Zumwalt was serving as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, where he coordinated the United States’ support for the Japanese Government’s response to that crisis.

During his 36-year Foreign Service career, Ambassador Zumwalt has served in a variety of assignments with a focus on Asia and international economics in Washington, Tokyo, Beijing, Kinshasa, Dakar, and Bissau. In Washington, D.C., he worked in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Japan, Korea, and Philippines desks and also at the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and the United States Trade Representative’s Office. He speaks Japanese, French, and some Chinese.

Ambassador Zumwalt received a master’s degree in International Security Studies from the National War College in 1998 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History and also in the Japanese Language from the University of California at Berkeley in 1979. He is from El Cajon, California and is married to Ann Kambara, a retired Foreign Service Officer who is now pursuing a second career in social work.

Dr. Satu Limaye

Dr. Satu Limaye is Director of the East-West Center in Washington. He is also a Senior Advisor at the CNA Corporation, a non-profit research and analysis organization located in Arlington, VA. He is the creator and director of the Asia Matters for America initiative, an interactive resource for credible, non-partisan
information, graphics, analysis and news on US-Asia Pacific relations and the national, state and local levels; Founding Editor of the Asia-Pacific Bulletin series, an editor of the journal Global Asia and on the international advisory council of the journal Contemporary Southeast Asia.

Dr. Limaye publishes and speaks on U.S.-Asia relations and is a reviewer for numerous publications, foundations and fellowship programs. Previously, he was a Research Staff Member of the Strategy and Resources Division at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) and Director of Research and Publications at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (APCSS), a direct reporting unit of U.S. Pacific Command.

He has been an Abe Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy and a Henry Luce Scholar and Research Fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) in Tokyo. He is a magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Georgetown University and received his doctorate from Oxford University (Magdalen College) where he was a George C. Marshall Scholar.

Dr. Toshihiro Nakayama

Dr. Toshihiro Nakayama is the Japan Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. He is also a Professor of American Politics and Foreign Policy at the Faculty of Policy Management at Keio University. He is also an Adjunct Fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs. He was a Special Correspondent for the Washington Post at the Far Eastern Bureau (1993-94), Special Assistant at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations in New York (1996-98), Senior Research Fellow at The Japan Institute of International Affairs (2004-06), Associate Professor at Tsuda College (2006-10), and Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University (2010-14). He was also a CNAPS Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution (2005-06). He received his M.A.(1993) and Ph.D.(2001) from Aoyama Gakuin University. He has written two books and numerous articles on American politics, foreign policy, and international relations. He appears regularly on Japanese media. Writes a monthly column for Japan News. Recipient of Nakasone Yasuhiro Award (Incentive Award) in 2014.

Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith is a 31-year veteran of Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry and has worked for several of the top distilleries in the state.  A 20-year resident of Nelson County, he is currently employed by Beam Suntory (Jim Beam / Maker’s Mark) in Clermont, KY., where he works with state, local, and civic leaders as well as serving on several non-profit boards throughout the regional area.

Smith is currently serving on the Kentucky Chamber Executive Board and is on the Governors Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board where chairs their Business Engagement Committee.  He is Vice Chairman of the Flaget Memorial Hospital Foundation Board, Kentucky Distillers Association Board of Directors, on the Board of Directors for Greater Louisville Inc., and the Kentucky Tourism Industry Association Board of Directors.  He is also a member of the Bardstown Nelson County Chamber Board chairing the Workforce Development Committee and, on the Bardstown Nelson County Tourism Commission Board.

Previously Smith worked in the manufacturing and supply chain side of the bourbon business as Director of Operations / Plant Manager for Jim Beam and Vice President / Master Distiller for Maker’s Mark where he created Maker’s 46, the company’s first innovation since the original product in1953.  In addition to manufacturing, he has also promoted and represented the bourbon industry around the world conducting seminars, tastings, and media interviews for small and large audiences. In 2010, during his time as the Master Distiller at Maker’s Mark, Smith debuted as a judge on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America where the secret ingredient was…. you guessed it, Bourbon.