Jakob Edberg has been deeply immersed in Japan’s politics and policy-making for two decades. As President & CEO of GR Japan, he works and helps clients solve complex political and regulatory challenges in a large variety of sectors and fields - retail, energy, pharmaceuticals, financial services, project financing, foreign policy, and trade just to mention a few.
Before co-founding GR Japan, he was Policy Director at the European Business Council in Japan, where he supervised government outreach and advocacy for over 300 companies in 29 sector committees. He also served as a senior trade officer at the Swedish Embassy in Tokyo. Representing international businesses' interests on ministry and party committees, he has a wealth of experience with the Japanese administration and Diet, on everything from front-page trade issues and technical product standards, to successful campaigns for new legislation and financial regulation. Jakob speaks impeccable Japanese, as well as English and Swedish, and complements degrees in political science and Japanese language with a Masters in International Political Economy from the University of Tsukuba.
Philip Howard, a former British diplomat, has been dealing with the Japanese government and business for 15 years. Responsible for developing the Japan practice of the premier global strategy intelligence firm, he spent five years working alongside senior executives at many of Japan’s largest corporations and financial institutions.
He served previously on the International and Communications Committees of the DPJ, working closely with Japan’s former Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy, Motohisa Furukawa, and was a visiting fellow at DPJ-affiliated think tank Think Net 21. He served with the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office for nine years, specializing in Asian affairs, including at the Political Section of the British Embassy in Tokyo. He has a degree in economics, an MBA from Insead, and speaks fluent Japanese and English.
Toshikazu Masuyama is a senior adviser to GR Japan and a former senior official at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), where he served in positions including Director of the Europe, Middle East and Africa Division of the Trade Policy Bureau, Director for Policy Planning in the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, and Director-General of METI’s Hokkaido Bureau. His other contributions as a government official include the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Agreement negotiations and promotions of a feed-in tariff system, a renewable energy policy in Japan.
Tomohiro Gogo worked as an official of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) for more than 10 years, in policy areas ranging from the promotion of SMEs to trade and consumer protection, as well as completing a secondment to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW). He is now responsible for human resources at information services company Recruit. While at METI’s Trade Policy Unit, he played a vital role in formulating policies that resulted in a doubling of foreign direct investment to Japan under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. He has extensive experience of drafting legislation and working with the Diet to pass new laws, including in technical areas such as company law and taxation. He graduated from the Law Department of Kyoto University and holds an MBA from the Peter F. Drucker School of Management.
Before joining the firm, Yutaka Iwahori worked as Policy Secretary to members of the House of Representatives. He has had direct policy-making experience in a variety of policy areas, including social security, Japan’s response to the Fukushima Daiichi accident, renewable energy and environmental policy, and the promotion and energy market reform. His experience includes liaison between the Diet and ministries (particularly METIand the Ministry of Environment) as part of the process of introducing new legislation. He also has considerable experience of creating draft legislation, policies, parliamentary questions and is an expert on private-member bills. He speaks fluent English and is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Tokyo, from where he holds a Juris Doctor cum laude.
Dr. Llewelyn Hughes is Research Director at GR Japan. He has wide experience in the public and private sectors, consulting to firms in the electricity, gas, telecommunications, resources, financial, and other sectors on government and regulatory affairs in Japan. He has spoken in front of a wide variety of audiences about regulatory reform and domestic politics, and is the author of the book Globalizing Oil: Firm and Oil Market Governance in France, Japan, and the United States, as well as numerous articles and policy publications. From 1997-2000 he was international aide and interpreter to Ozawa Ichiro, a senior politician in the Japanese Parliament. He holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a Masters degree from the Graduate School of Law and Politics at the University of Tokyo, and was Research Fellow at the Center for Business and Government at Harvard University. He is trained as a simultaneous and consecutive interpreter in the Japanese language, has lived in Japan for nine years, and is a citizen of Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.
Junta Asai, Director at GR Japan, has spent many years providing government affairs and lobbying services to major international pharmaceutical industry companies in Japan. Prior to joining the firm, he worked in the office of a Diet member and as a lobbyist. He played a key role in particular in the campaign to introduce new legislation on vaccines policies, which culminated in enactment of Japan’s Vaccines Law and increased funding for vaccination programs. At GR Japan, his work has continued to focus on the healthcare sector, including support for international pharmaceuticals companies’ government relations needs. He remains the President of the Institute of New Era Strategy (INES), a policy think tank entrusted to his care by former Minister for Labor Tetsuo Kondo.
Makoto Kumei has more than 10 years of experience as an official at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), where he was directly involved in policy-making, including the formulation and drafting of legislation and regulations, agricultural policy reform, APEC, etc. He has also worked as an agri-business consultant at a leading consultant company. Since joining GR Japan, he has worked on various projects related to healthcare, food and consumer safety and environmental policies. He holds an MA in Public Policy from Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government and an MA in International Relations from Sophia University.
Daniela Dimitrova is an experienced policy researcher and analyst. Before joining the company, she worked in the areas of international cooperation and development, gaining experience at large international and humanitarian organisations, such as the United Nations World Food Programme and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Since joining GR Japan, she has worked on a variety of projects, including in the pharmaceutical an energy sectors, and has been involved in outreach and liaison with both Diet member and bureaucrats. She speaks fluent Japanese and holds a BA in Law and Politics and an MA in International Politics from the University of Tokyo.
Tsai-wei Chao-Muller has extensive experience in government affairs and international trade policy project management, in the European Commission Directorate-General for Trade in Brussels, and in the Luxembourg and Paris offices of the ArcelorMittal Group, the world’s largest steelmaker, where she represented the company in various high-level stakeholder meetings with the OECD, METI, the Office of the US Trade Representative, the European Commission, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), Brazil’s Department of Commercial Defence, Russia's Ministry of Economic Development, and India’s Ministry of Steel. Tsai-wei earned her Bachelor’s degree from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, a double postgraduate degree in International Relations and International Political Economy from the University of Warwick in the UK, and an advanced Master’s degree cum laude in European politics and policies from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.
Yoshihiro Koyano is a former official of the Ministry of Finance (MOF), where he worked in the Finance Bureau, researching international fiscal and monetary policy and financial markets. He then worked in the Committees Department of the House of Representatives, where he supported the work of several House of Representatives standing committees, including the Budget Committee and the Committee of Science, Technology and Innovation. He also worked in the House of Representatives Research Office on Financial Affairs, providing financial evaluation of draft policy proposals. He began his career in commercial banking at one of Japan’s largest banks. He graduated from the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Law and speaks fluent English.
Momoko Abe has extensive experience as a policy researcher, including in the fields of healthcare/pharmaceuticals, food and agriculture. Prior to joining GR Japan, she completed a five-month internship as an economic and political researcher at the Tokyo bureau of the New York Times. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Sophia University and earned Master’s in International Studies and Diplomacy from SOAS, University London.
Mina Takahashi started her career at the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington in Seattle as Project Coordinator. On her return to Tokyo, she worked directly to the Secretary-General of an international organization, the ASEAN Promotion Centre on Trade, Investment and Tourism, for four years. She developed her expertise in public relations at the Japanese arm of a global PR firm, where she handled a range of client accounts, from healthcare to tourism boards, chemicals to technologies. She then worked as the Media Relations Officer for the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) until moving to Singapore in 2008, where she was Asia-Pacific PR and Marketing Manager for Euromonitor International, a global market intelligence and research firm, coming back to Japan in 2013. Mina studied in Denver, Colorado and has a BA in Communications and Mass Media from Temple University Japan.