Board Members

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robert banno

Board President
A sansei born in Tashme, BC. Robert was the founding president of the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre and is currently the President of the Nikkei Place Foundation. He has been involved in the Japanese Canadian community for about 25 years, and was a member of the Redress Committee of the GVJCCA. As a business lawyer at DLA Piper LLP, Robert's practice focuses on advising Japanese companies and advising First Nations on economic development matters.

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Fred is a retired partner in the chartered accounting firm DMCL, and was the treasurer and director of the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation for 10 years. Fred previously served as a NPF director, and President of the NNMCC for 4 years. He is the treasurer and Board Member of the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation and past director of the Sarah McLachlan Foundation. Fred considers the most rewarding accomplishment during his term with the NPF was the granting of funds to the NNMCC to acquire land to build Nikkei Place.

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Brian Tsuji

Brian is a highly experienced immigration lawyer with more than 30 years of experience. He works out of DLA Piper LLP’s Vancouver office. He speaks Japanese and English and has worked in Tokyo, Toronto and Vancouver. He has represented clients from more than 50 countries. Brian is a past national Executive Member of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) Immigration Section and a past Chairman of the CBA British Columbia Immigration Section. Brian is also a director of Nikkei Seniors Health Care and Housing Society.


Ian is a recently retired chartered accountant who worked in various roles at the University of British Columbia for 34 years. Before retirement, Ian was the UBC Comptroller, responsible for overseeing the University’s Management Reporting and Budgeting Departments. He also oversaw the delivery of Finance support to all Academic and Administrative Support units across the Vancouver campus, and provided functional oversight to the Finance function at UBC Okanagan and to Administrative Systems Management in IT Services.

He is also involved as a Board member at several other not-for-profits, including the YVR Art Foundation, Ecojustice, and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival Society.


Don is currently the Senior Strategy Advisor at DLA Piper LLP. Formerly, he was the Group President of CAE inc. He wields extensive knowledge of international relations and business with Asia, particularly with Japan.

Prior to entering the private sector, he had a distinguished career with Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. He has served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Personal Representative of the Prime Minster for G8 Summits, Ambassador to Japan, Deputy Minister of International Trade, Assistant Deputy Minister for the United States and Ambassador to Korea.

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Ruth was educated at UBC and the University of Toronto where she received her Master of Social Work degree. She worked in the health care field for over 30 years as a social worker in management and leadership roles in Diversity Services. She advocates for caring and compassionate care, barrier free services and community building. Ruth has been active with the Nikkei Seniors Health Care and Housing Society for over 35 years as Vice President and President since 2010. 

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Akiko was born in Japan and immigrated to Canada in 1980, She graduated from Sophia University, Tokyo with a BA in German language in 1976 and graduated from UBC with an MBA in 1993. Akiko was President of Yoshi’s Salmon Village Ltd. and Yoshi’s Salmon Smokehouse Ltd. until closing in 2010. Since 2010, she has served as a director of NNMCC, Nikkei Matsuri Chair in 2014 and 2015, and since 2016, President of the Board of Directors of the NNMCC.

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Paul is consistently seeking ways to find effective and lasting solutions to public policy issues. With over 35 years of experience in leadership roles in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors, his extensive knowledge covers topics in the areas of fish and fisheries management, clean and renewable energy development, and societal reconciliation. He is currently Senior Policy Advisor for Coastal First Nations, working to protect the northern bioregion environment and towards a sustainable coastal economy. Formerly, he was Executive Director of the Clean Energy Association of British Columbia, Executive Director of the Pacific Salmon Foundation, CEO of Fisheries Renewal BC, and Executive Director of the BC Treaty Commission.

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Ron was president of a national Institutional Investment Consulting firm before retiring and now serves on the boards of several investment industry organizations. Ron holds a degree in Econometrics, an MBA and an ICD.D. He is also a director on the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre’s Board, and sits on a various number of their committees.

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Dennis is a chartered accountant, as well as President and CEO of Pacific Coach Lines.

He also serves as Vice-Chair on the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival’s Board.

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Hiroshi came to Canada alone in 1971 from Tokyo when he was 19 and studied Civil Engineering at UBC. Early in his career he worked as an engineer on design and construction but now has a successful career in commercial real estate. Remembering the Nikkei people who have helped him, he wants to give back to the community and to pass on to the next generation Nikkei history, values, wisdom, and spirit. He enjoys hiking and backpacking.