Former Interns

Former Interns

・Barnaby Jones
Barnaby graduated with a BA in English from the University of Cambridge and came to Japan for the first time as a Daiwa Scholar at the end of 2007. During his six months in the office, Barnaby worked on various foreign policy issues including nuclear non-proliferation and ODA.


・Tina Burrett
Tina holds a PhD in Politics from Cambridge University and came to Japan as a Daiwa Scholar in 2006. She has undertaken various internships and research positions in the British, European and Canadian parliaments. She recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship in comparative politics at Hosei University and now lectures on politics, media and culture at Sophia University. She also writes a monthly political column for Being A Broad magazine. While working for Mr. Kono, Tina undertook various projects on Russian-Japanese relations, parliamentary democracy and ODA. As part of her role, she arranged a conference bringing together legislators and academics from Britain and Japan to discuss parliamentary reform in both countries. Her book 'Covering the President: Presidential Power and the Television Media in Putin's Russia' is due out in early 2010.

・Karol Zakowski
Karol Zakowski graduated with an MA in International Relations from the University of Lodz, Poland, where he is currently writing his doctoral thesis on the intra-party factors influencing the policy of the Liberal Democratic Party towards China. He came to intern in Kono`s office whilst spending six months as a visiting researcher at Kwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya. He hopes to improve his understanding of the Japanese political scene and to get a feel for the atmosphere of the Japanese Parliament.

・Mazen Dari
Mazen has a PhD in Monetary Policy from Yokohama National University and looked after Middle Eastern affairs during his time in the office. He hopes to continue act as a bridge between Japan and the Arab world in the future.

・Monika Reinem
Monika came to Japan for one-and-a-half years but ended up staying for seven! After completing her PhD at the University of Tsukuba, she returned to Estonia to work at the Ministry of Defence as an adviser at the Policy Planning Department. "The highlights of my stay in Japan", she says, "include the valuable experience I got while working at Kono`s office. The energy and constructiveness of Mr Kono and the friendliness of his staff created a sort of ideal image of what a workplace atmosphere should look like."

・Jian Jiao
Jian Jiao holds a Masters in Communications from Waseda Univeristy. She interned at the office between 2004 and 2007, working on maintenance and translation for Kono's Chinese homepage. Of her experience, she says: 'It was the first time I was dealing with political issues, which I thought would be incredibly difficult. However, when I read Kono sensei's blog, it was so clearly written that it was easy to understand even for me (who knows nothing about politics). I now work in a completely different field, but when I have the chance I still check Kono sensei's homepage. I found Kono sensei to be a studious, passionate and internationally-minded politician.'

・Jennifer Sklarew
Born in Japan, Jennifer Sklarew has collaborated and negotiated on U.S.-Japan energy and trade issues for over 15 years. As a 2003-2005 Mike Mansfield Fellow, she served as an intern in Kono's office, as well as in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Cabinet Office. Ms. Sklarew received her Master's Degree with distinction in Japan studies and international economics from Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). She spent eight years as an international trade specialist in the U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Japan, having previously worked as an energy and trade consultant in Washington, DC and also as a policy analyst for the Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute. She currently is pursuing a Ph.D. at George Mason University's School of Public Policy.

・Tom Wagner
Born in Luxembourg, Tom majored in Business and Administration at the University of Nuremberg. He interned at Kono's Tokyo and constituency offices from January to March 2007, and says: "this experience was highly interesting and simply fantastic. I had a great time and learned a lot about Japanese politics and policy makers and concurrently had the chance to improve my Japanese. It is a one-time opportunity to experience the daily life of a Japanese lawmaker." Tom currently works for Siemens Energy.

・Choi Hee-Sik
Choi Hee-Sik holds undergraduate and masters degrees in Political Science from Seoul National University. He interned at Kono's office from 2003-07 whilst studying for his Ph.D at Keio University, then worked for one year as a political researcher in the Korean Embassy in Tokyo. He is currently a research professor in the Insititute of Japanese Studies at Kookmin University.

・Lee Seong Kweun
Lee Seong Kweun interned at the office whilst studying for a Master's degree in International Relations at Waseda University. Upon graduating from Waseda, he returned to Korea and was elected as a member of the National Assembly from 2004-08 during which time he was selected as the Most Active member of the Assembly. He now works for the Korean Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.

・Ali Saleh Itani
Ali Itani took his undergraduate studies at the American University of Beirut in Political Science and Public Administration and then his masters in International Relations with an emphasis on Far Eastern and Middle Eastern Affairs at the International University of Japan. During his time in the office he helped organise the inaugural Japan-Arab Leadership Network 'Forum for Dialogue', as well numerous Japanese delegations' visits to Arab countries. He was was recently inducted as the first Arab Member of the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy at the Center of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC and is currently the Corporate Communications Manager of M.H. Alshaya Co. - the largest retail group in the Middle East.

・Muntaha Al-Zarafy
Muntaha holds a BA in Public Administration from the American University of Sharjah and an MA in Development in Planning from the University of Queensland. She worked in the office as Middle East-Japan Relations advisor. Now married with a baby boy she works in the Sultanate of Oman's Ministry of Higher Education as the Section Manager for Development and Planning.

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