In Memoriam: Minoru (Ben) Makihara


Minoru Makihara Japan Society mourns the passing of Minoru (Ben) Makihara, former member of Japan Society’s Board of Directors, a pioneering figure in U.S.-Japan business relations and former President of Mitsubishi Corp. Winner of the 2013 Japan Society Award for his outstanding contributions in both business and policy, we look towards his legacy in gratitude. His son Jun Makihara, a prominent member of Japan Society, currently serves as a board member.

Minoru (Ben) Makihara joined Mitsubishi Corporation in 1956, just two years after graduating from Harvard University. Over the years he served as General Manager of the Washington Office of Mitsubishi International Corporation, U.S.A. (1971), President of Mitsubishi International Corporation (1987) and President of Mitsubishi Corporation (1992). He was appointed Chairman of Mitsubishi Corporation in 1998.

Mr. Makihara was Chairman of the U.S.-Japan Business Council from 1997 to 2002, during which time he proposed exploring the possibilities of a U.S.-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement. For many years, he also served as Japan Chair of CULCON—the United States-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange—established by John F. Kennedy and then-Prime Minister Ikeda to strengthen the bilateral relationship through enhanced cultural and educational exchanges. Mr. Makihara served on the boards of Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Logistics Corporation. He was also on the International Advisory Council of Allianz SE; the Executive Committee of the Trilateral Commission; the Harvard Asia Center Advisory Committee; the International Panel of Temasek Holdings; the International Advisory Board of Hakluyt & Company Limited; and McLarty Associates. He was also Director General of the Toyo Bunko (The Oriental Library), one of the five largest Asian Studies centers in the world, with ties to such institutions as the Harvard Yenching Institute and the Harvard Yenching Library.

We express our deep gratitude for his service and commitment to the betterment of U.S.-Japan relations as we offer our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

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