Message from Our Chairperson and Board

AAR Japan, Chairperson, Fusako YANASE


AAR Japan

Yukika SOHMA, our founder, taught me how to “talk to the god in our hearts” every morning.

AAR Japan taught me how to “think while running.”

And lately my young grandchild has been teaching me that “a watched pot of water will never boil.”


I will do my utmost to utilize all these lessons I've learned and am still learning to make this organization better and better.




Born in 1948 in Tokyo. A graduate of Ferris Women's Junior College, YANASE joined Association for Aid and Relief, Japan in 1979. She served as the Managing Director/Secretary General from 1980 to 2000, President of the organization from November 2000 to June 2008. In 1996, YANASE began writing Not Mines, but Flowers, a picture book supporting the campaign to ban landmines, and received recognition from the Minister of Foreign Affairs for her years of dedication to the field of international cooperation. In 1997, she received Nihon Ehon Dokusha Taisho (Japan Picture Book Award, the Readers' Prize.) for Not Mines, but Flowers. She is a Refugee Examination Counselor of the Ministry of Justice. YANASE is currently an active speaker, both nationally and internationally, on the subjects of refugee assistance and the campaign to ban landmines.

AAR Japan, Vice-President, Taki KATOH


AAR Japan

I took on the will of my mother Shizue KATOH, who was a valuable partner to Yukika SOHMA since the founding of AAR Japan, and became a board member in June 2004, and subsequently began to actively get involved as the vice-president in June 2005.

I visited Zambia in 2006, and learned that it's a country that has not seen a single war, but its average life expectancy has once fallen as low as 32.7 years old. We don't see too many healthy men at work because the country suffers from HIV infections.

I want to make sure that your goodwill is utilized in the best way possible, for our aid activities in Zambia for example. I will continue to do what I can myself. We hope you will continue to give us support.




Born in 1945 in Tokyo. After studying abroad in the United States, KATOH entered the world of show business following her work as a researcher for an American magazine company. As a pioneer in international coordination in the entertainment industry, she has negotiated with artists from overseas such as Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren in making appearances in commercials and music festivals. As a woman with a global mindset and virtues of a housewife, KATOH has been an active lecturer, committee member, and a writer. She is currently a commentator on the TV show, “Wake Up! Plus” (Yomiuri TV). As the daughter of Shizue KATOH, the first female member of the Japanese Diet who lived through the Meiji era until the age of 104, KATOH strives to spread the words and wisdom of her late mother through volunteer work, including her position as the Vice-President of the Association for Aid and Relief, Japan. She was awarded the “Anti-Aging Award 2009” by the Japan Society for Dental Anti-Aging. New publication: Self-Enhancement from the Age of 50 - 40 Lessons on How to Age Beautifully (Yamato Shobo).

AAR Japan, Board Member, Mari TANIGAWA


AAR Japan
Landmine Abolition Campaign Ambassador
Board Member

I began to get strongly interested in the problem of landmines and with the work of AAR Japan since 1998 when I ran as the escort runner for Chris Moon, who lost his right arm and right leg while at work as a deminer.

Feeling I wanted to make as many people aware of the problems surrounding landmines as possible, in 2000 I started organizing charity marathons for the abolition of landmines, and has been supporting AAR Japan's work ever since.

In 2002, I visited AAR Japan's project site in Pakistan, and in July of 2007, I visited Sudan and saw first-hand the difficult circumstances facing landmine victims.

I am determined to continue to work with AAR Japan to realize a world without landmines.


Land Mine Abolition Campaign Ambassador/ Board Member:


Born in 1962 in Fukuoka Prefecture. She first picked up running after seeing a local runner running around the Imperial Palace when she went cherry-blossom viewing with friends during her years as a company worker. 4 years later, she won first place in the 1991 Tokyo International Women's Marathon. Since then, she has won the 1992 Gold Coast Marathon and 1994 Sapporo International Half Marathon and Paris Marathon. She has garnered a fan base as a “Star of Local Runners” through her participation in various marathons. In addition to her activities as a TV personality, she has been awarded Tomin Eiyosho (Tokyo Honor Award), Asahi Sports Prize, and an award from the Minister for Foreign Affairs. She is a visiting scholar at the Ryutsu Keizai University.
She came across Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR Japan) at the 1997 Tokyo International Women's Marathon, which the theme was abolition of land mines. With the appreciation for being able to run and the spirit to make a difference, she has held the “Not Mines, but Flowers” Charity Half Marathon every year since 2000 and donated a part of the participation fee and auction profits to AAR Japan. She has been a Board Member and the Land Mine Abolition Campaign Ambassador for AAR Japan since 2007.

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AAR Japan
7F, Mizuho Building, 2-12-2 Kamiosaki, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, 141-0021 Japan
Tel: +81-3-5423-4511
Fax: +81-3-5423-4450
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