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SAF Japan Staff

Brett Rumminger joined the SAF in July 2006 as Director of the SAF Japan Office. Brett is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign earning a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and a B.A. in East Asian Languages and Cultures. After graduation, Brett spent one year studying at Waseda University and an additional year the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama as an international research student, and has lived, worked, and studied in Japan for nearly twenty years. He has taught English at a junior high school, worked in the International Relations and Women’s Issues Department of a Toyama Prefecture City Office, and prior to joining SAF he worked in international education as a student counselor and External Relations Manager. Brett is proficient in Japanese.

Director, Strategic Initiatives & Network Development 
Kentaro Sugawa joined SAF in December 2014 as Director of Strategic Initiatives and Network Development. Kentaro graduated from Keio University and holds an MBA from Yale University School of Management. He has a strong background in business and global strategic development, including heading cross-border alliances and M&A for several corporations and higher educational organizations. He has been involved in significant public private partnership projects where he has made full use of his skills in project finance and non-profit management. In recent years he has shifted his career focus to management and globalization consulting for schools and educational institutions. Within the context of expanding initiatives for globalized education policy in Japan, Kentaro joined SAF in order to utilize his extensive experience to provide students in Japan with increasing opportunities for personal development and globalization, as well as contributing to the overall institutional strategy and developmental planning for SAF Japan.

Manager, Program & Student Services 
Michiyo Fujimoto received her undergraduate degree in English Language and Culture from Kyoto University of Foreign Studies. Her first study abroad experience was as a high school student in Tacoma, Washington, where she lived with American families for one year. After having worked for a British company in Japan and an American airline company travelling between the U.S., Japan and Asia, Michiyo spent two years teaching English and Hospitality in Kyoto and Osaka. Michiyo then returned to the U.S. to complete her M.A. in TESL from The University of Mississippi. While earning her master’s degree, she worked for a Japanese Supplementary School and the International Outreach Office at The University of Mississippi to support the university’s intensive English and exchange programs. Michiyo joined SAF in December 2012.

Manager, Program & Student Services 
Yuko Kodama graduated from the University of the Sacred Heart with a degree in English Literature, after which she spent four years working at a Japanese university in the Academic Affairs Division. Yuko then travelled to Australia to further her education and earned a Master's Degree in International Studies from The University of Adelaide in 2009. Yuko joined SAF in 2011 aiming to continue a career in international education while imparting her international experience on future study abroad students from Japan. 

Assistant Manager, Program & Student Services 
Wakako Wengel graduated from Dokkyo University where she majored in German Language and minored in Japanese Language Education. After graduation, she worked for one year as a Japanese language teacher in Tokyo, and then moved to the US to pursue a Master's degree in Intercultural Communication Studies. While studying at graduate school she proactively involved herself in International Education by working part time at the International Education Office on campus, where her work included being a facilitator in the Intercultural Adjustment Training Program for American students who planned to study abroad. After obtaining her M.A., Wakako worked for a Japanese company in the U.S. for two years prior to returning to Japan. She joined SAF in December 2010 to put her experience in International Education and knowledge in Intercultural Communication to use working as a Program Coordinator.

Assistant Manager, Program & Student Services 
Akiko Watanabe graduated from Sophia University, Faculty of Foreign Studies with a major in English and a minor in International Relations with a special focus on US Foreign Policy. During her time as an undergraduate student, she spent one year at the University of California, Berkeley as an exchange student, which served as a turning point in her academic and future professional career. Upon graduation from university, she worked in the business consulting arena for six years prior to joining SAF in October 2014.

Assistant Manager, Communications 
Fumiko Watanabe lived in Singapore as a high school student and studied abroad at Western Washington University before graduating from Asia University in Tokyo, Japan. Through these overseas experiences she was able to widen her focus from Japan to all areas of the world and became fascinated by the idea of connecting the world through content as a design coordinator. Fumiko’s work experience began at a music company in the center of Tokyo, Japan, where as a Copyright Content Coordinator she gained knowledge and skills related to copyright law, website and mobile design, content distribution, event coordination and graphic design. Fumiko lived in New York from 2012 to 2015, gaining experience at an American PR company in Manhattan. She joined SAF in September 2015.

Program Coordinator, Program & Student Services 
Azumi Kurokawa received her B.A. in Communications from California State University, Fullerton with a major in Photo Communications. Upon graduation, she spent several years working in a production studio first as a studio assistant and then as associate producer. For the past several years she has been working as a student exchange program coordinator in the Office of Student Services (International) in a Japanese university, and thoroughly enjoys supporting university students who are interested in studying abroad. Azumi joined SAF in May 2015.

Program Coordinator, Program & Student Services 
Kohei Shimada first experienced his overseas study during a high school program in Palmerston North, New Zealand. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Saint Martin’s University in Washington, US. During his undergraduate studies, he also studied sociology as a minor subject. Through his college life he actively joined the student council, college choir and theatrical projects to enhance his communication and expression skills. After graduation he started his career as an English instructor for junior high and high school students. Kohei joined SAF in September 2015 aiming to support future study abroad students utilizing his career and experience.

Program Coordinator, Program & Student Services 
Moe Miyatani's first overseas experience was during a high school summer program in Utah. She studied in a Foundation Program at Trinity College in Melbourne, Australia, after which she completed an undergraduate degree in Food Science at The University of Melbourne. During her undergraduate studies, while she majored in science and technology she also studied management and economics as a minor subject. She worked for a representative office of Australian universities in Japan and joined SAF in July 2013.

Program Coordinator, Program & Student Services 
Kazuko Akita joined SAF in December 2015. Kazuko graduated from Gakushuin University with a degree in Political Science, and as an undergraduate student she studied abroad for one year at Marshall University in West Virginia. After graduating from Gakushuin University she spent three years in Tokyo working as a foreign tourist customer service staff for a year and as an English teacher for two years. In the two years prior to joining SAF, Kazuko worked for an airline company in Singapore where she was in charge of coordinating internship programs for Japanese university students.

Program Coordinator, Program & Student Services 
Tatsuya Ishii started his A-level in Cambridge, England after graduating high school in Japan. He moved to London and continued his academic career earning a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations at the University of Westminster, followed by a Master’s degree in Marketing at Royal Holloway, University of London. Whilst studying in university, he was working at a study abroad organization in London as an online marketer and gained experience and expertise in the field. Tatsuya has played rugby for more than 20 years and he developed his network all over the world as captain of a rugby team in London. After a total of 10 years in the UK, Tatsuya returned to Japan where he spent time as a freelance marketer and interpreter prior to joining SAF in March 2016.

Program Coordinator, Program & Student Services 
Saiko Hirano graduated from Tamagawa University with a degree in Comparative Culture. During her undergraduate studies, she studied abroad at the University of Essex in the UK for one year. After graduation, she spent several years working in Japan before moving to Australia to further her studies, completing a Diploma of International Business in 2013. She gained additional experience working at an English language school in Sydney, where she supported students from throughout the world as a student service officer. She also studied Korean at Sogang University in Seoul before joining SAF in April 2016.

Program Coordinator, Program & Student Services 
Megumi Otake graduated from Nihon University where she majored in English. During her time as an undergraduate student, she spent one year at Western Michigan University as an exchange student. This experience was a turning point in her life. After graduating from Nihon University, she joined the scholarship program ALLEX and went back to the U.S. to pursue graduate studies in language education. She earned her M.A. in English at Lamar University in Texas and a second M.A. in Japanese Language Pedagogy at Indiana University Bloomington. While she was a M.A. student, she taught Japanese as a Teaching Assistant. After graduating from Indiana University, she taught Japanese language and Culture at Western Carolina Universityin North Carolina until she joined SAF in May 2016.

Program Coordinator, Program & Student Services 
Akane Fueki's first study abroad experience was on a high school program in Malvern, England. She undertook her undergraduate studies in the Faculty of Intercultural Communication at Hosei University, during which time she a half year abroad at the University of Leeds in the UK. After having worked for several years in Japan, she moved to Australia and spent one and half years in Melbourne and the Gold Coast, where she gained experience in the hospitality industry. Akane joined SAF in September 2016.

Program Coordinator, Program & Student Services 
Saori Takasaki's first overseas study experience began when she entered The State University of New York at Oneonta following her high school graduation, and after transferring universities went on to receive her B.B.A from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a major in marketing. During her college life, in addition to receiving several outstanding student achievement awards based upon her academic performance she was an active participant in internship, tutoring, and international honors society programs. Upon graduation from university, she pursed her career in the international sales/promotion field at a Japanese telecommunications company in Tokyo. In her spare time, Saori enjoys traveling around the world and has visited sixteen different countries to date. Saori joined SAF in January 2017 aiming to support future study abroad students utilizing her own study abroad and international experience.

Program Coordinator, Program & Student Services 
Toshiki Okumura studied abroad at the University of Westminster on a SAF Study Abroad Program prior to graduating from Chuo University with a degree in Policy Studies. After graduation, Toshiki worked for several years at a major Japanese travel agency, supporting corporate clients with overseas travel. At the same time, Toshiki has been involved in and providing support to the SAF Alumni Association. Toshiki joined SAF in April 2017, and looks forward to continuing to strengthen his relationship with current SAF students and SAF alumni in the future.

Program Coordinator, Rikkyo University College of Intercultural Communication Overseas Study Program 
Rie Watanabe earned a BA in Psychology from Colby-Sawyer College. Upon completion of her degree, she worked for a Japanese boarding school in New York for several years, after which she continued her studies earning a Master’s degree in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University. She thoroughly enjoys helping and advising international students, and has worked in the field of student services for university students at various organizations. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, snowboarding, and the Japanese tea ceremony. Rie joined SAF in April 2014.

General Affairs 
Izumi Kimura joined SAF in April 2014.


Last Updated: 1/9/19