Sailors for the Sea Opens Affiliate Office in Japan - Sailors for the Sea

Sailors for the Sea Opens Affiliate Office in Japan

Press Release


Newport, Rhode Island – January 30, 2012 – Sailors for the Sea, the only ocean conservation nonprofit focused on the sailing and boating community, is proud to announce its first overseas affiliate office in Yokohama, Japan. On November 8, 2011, Sailors for the Sea Chairman David Rockefeller, Jr. signed the agreement allowing its affiliate – official name is “Sailors for the Sea/Japan” – to extend the mission, vision and programs of Sailors for the Sea/US to Japan. Also present at the signing at a Tokyo meeting for Sailors for the Sea/Japan was its new Chairman, Ryu Matsumoto, a member of the Japanese Diet and a former Minister of the Environment.

Minako Iue of Kyoto, Japan will serve as the Vice Chair of Sailors for the Sea/Japan and will perform the role of Senior Operating Officer. Ms. Iue organized a gala celebration ceremony following the signing at the Hotel Seiyo Ginza in the heart of Tokyo’s commercial district. Others in attendance included: Takeshi Maeda, Transportation Minister who is also responsible for ocean health; Seiji Tsutsumi, founder of Seibu Saison Group; his brother and Chairman of Yokohama Grand InterContinental Hotel,Yuji Tsutsumi ; and Hirobumi Kawano, Chairman of Japan Sailing Federation.

Sailors for the Sea/Japan – Origin and Mission
Following a meeting between Minister Matsumoto and Mr. Rockefeller in New York City in the fall of 2010, the idea of a Japanese affiliate for Sailors for the Sea was first raised. In spite of the terrible impact of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Northeast Japan, the Advisory Group to Sailors for the Sea/Japan decided to proceed with the plan to form a Yokohama affiliate.

Yokohama was chosen as the home office for Sailors for the Sea/Japan because of the great initial support from the Yokohama Grand InterContinental Hotel and their Chairman Yuji Tsutsumi , as well as the city’s importance as an international seaport.

“Japan is a rising power in the sailing world, having placed several entries in America’s Cup competition, the Olympics, and other notable international sailing championships,” said David Rockefeller, Jr. “In addition, Japan as an island itself has a very large Exclusive Economic Zone (out to 200 miles from shore) in which fishing and mineral rights are carefully controlled. The ocean is extremely important to Japan’s economy, and ocean protection and conservation of great significance to the country’s government. It is only fitting that our first overseas affiliate office would be based in Japan.”

Sailors for the Sea/Japan hopes to form an initial supporting membership of at least 50 prominent sailors and other Japanese dignitaries. In addition to its responsibility for translating into Japanese all Sailors for the Sea materials produced by the home office in Newport, Rhode Island, the affiliate organization has pledged support to the Newport office. Chairman Rockefeller expects to pay visits to the Yokohama office at least once every other year.

The mission of Sailors for the Sea/Japan mirrors that of Sailors for the Sea/US – to educate and engage the boating community in the worldwide protection of the oceans. Both organizations recognize the importance of ocean health to our planet. It is this acknowledgement of the fragility of the ocean that motivates both organizations to:

  • serve as primary resources for helping boaters to protect the ocean environment
  • inspire boaters to become environmental stewards
  • encourage citizens to join in support of programs that help improve the health of the oceans and local waters worldwide

Sailors for the Sea/Japan also plans to focus energy on the youth of Japan, including but not limited to promising young sailors.

Sailors for the Sea/Japan Advisory Board and Committee Members 

Founding members of the Sailors for the Sea/Japan advisory board include: 

  • Honorary Chairman, Mr. David Rockefeller, Jr.
  • Chairman, Mr. Ryu Matsumoto, Member of Diet, former Minister of Environment
  • Vice Chair, Ms. Minako Iue, Founder, Iue International Co., Ltd.
  • Executive Advisor, Mr. Hirobumi Kawano, Chairman of Japan Sailing Federation

Committee Members are as follows:

  • Mr. Kusuo Oshima, Member of Diet
  • Mr. Atsushi Aoyama, Environment Committee Chair, Japan Sailing Federation
  • Mr. Azuma Umemura, President, Yokohama Grand Intercontinental Hotel
  • Mr. Toshio Furuta, Hayama Marina Committee, Lawyer
  • Ms. Maki Saito, Environmentalist, author, lecturer at Tokyo University
  • Mr. Keiichi Isono, Founder of Meidiya
  • Mr. Bunta Inoue, Artist Mr. Masakazu Kusakabe, PR Committee of Japanese Olympic Committee
  • Mr. Katsuya Hashiba, International Judge, International Sailing Federation
  • Mr. Yuzo Matsumoto, Chairman, Matsumotogumi Corporation
  • Mr. Ichiro Yokoyama, Yacht designer President, Marine Design System
  • Mr. Kiichi Sasaki, Chairman, Seiki Group

About Sailors for the Sea
Founded in 2004, Sailors for the Sea is a nonprofit organization that educates and empowers the boating community to protect and restore our oceans and local waters. For more information or to participate in any of the Sailors for the Sea programs, or to become a member and support the organization, visit