The US Presidential Election and Social Diversity—A Dialogue with US Journalists

June 29, 2016

This seminar brought together two of JCIE’s programs, our US-Japan Journalism Fellowship and our program on Empowering Women Leaders. The latter program seeks to shrink the gender gap in Japan and help create a more diverse, inclusive, and productive society through a unique series of exchange and dialogue programs. This seminar presented a panel of prominent journalists from the United States to discuss the upcoming presidential election. The controversial candidacy of Donald Trump notwithstanding, the upcoming election will reveal how diversification of American society is increasingly influencing its social fabric and political outcomes. A distinguished panel of journalists engaged in a lively discussion on how they see the presidential election unfolding and how women, youth, and other minority groups are shaping American politics.


Main Kohda [MODERATOR]

Ms. Main Kohda is a prominent novelist with a unique background, having worked as a bond trader and in sales before penning her first bestseller “Nihon Kokusai (Japanese Treasury Bond)” in 2000. Active as a commentator on television and radio, she has served on numerous governmental commissions and councils, the Financial System Council, and the Board of Governors of NHK. She is also the Outside Director of Japan Tobacco Inc. and LIXIL Group Corporation.

Ina Jaffe, National Public Radio

Ina Jaffe is a veteran NPR correspondent covering the aging of America. Her stories on Morning Edition and All Things Considered have focused on older adults’ involvement in politics and elections, dating and divorce, work and retirement, fashion and sports, as well as issues affecting long-term care and end of life choices. She also has a regular spot on Weekend Edition with Scott Simon called “1 in 5” where she discusses issues relevant to the 1/5 of the U.S. population that will be 65 years old or more by 2030. She was named one of 50 “Influencers in Aging” by Next Avenue, a PBS publication, where she was commended for her reinvention of reporting on aging.
Ina also reports on politics, contributing to NPR’s coverage of national elections in 2008, 2010, and 2012. From her base at NPR’s production center in southern California, Ina has covered most of the region’s major news events from the beating of Rodney King to the election of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Her enterprise and investigative pieces have won awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors, The American Bar Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Alliance for Women in Media.

Julie Makinen, Los Angeles Times

Julie Makinen is the Beijing Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times, covering a wide swathe of Asia including Japan, Mongolia, North and South Korea, and Taiwan. She writes about everything from politics and the economy to what Hollywood is up to in the Far East. In addition to the L.A. Times, she’s been a reporter and editor at The Washington Post and the International New York Times. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Julie has a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University and a master’s degree in East Asian Studies from UCLA. She will be a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford during the 2016-17 academic year.

Taylor Wofford, Newsweek

Taylor Wofford is a general assignment reporter for Newsweek magazine with a special focus on U.S. policy and politics. Before Newsweek, Taylor was a freelance journalist writing about culture, including stories about a Japanese tattoo artist living in Brooklyn and a ghost hunter from Queens. Born in Tucson, Arizona and raised in Dallas, Texas, he also enjoys writing about crime, international affairs, technology, science, agriculture, and music. He was featured in the HBO documentary “Resolved,” about the hyper-competitive world of high school policy debate.