Joy Michiko Sakurai

Foreign Service Officer, Department of State

Joy M. Sakurai is currently in language training for her summer 2021 assignment as the Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Vientiane, Laos. She previously served as Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka, Japan. As the senior US official in southern Japan, she liaised with the Japanese mayors and governors including the leaders of communities hosting the U.S. Navy Fleet Activities in Sasebo, Nagasaki and the Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Her bilateral trade promotion efforts led to an unprecedented increase of American agricultural exports to Japan. Ms. Sakurai has served overseas in Jakarta, Islamabad, and Tokyo.

In Washington, she served in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research and as a staff assistant in the Bureau of East Asian & Pacific Affairs. During the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and earthquake as well as the 2011 Japan tsunami and earthquake, she worked on crisis management teams assisting US citizens and local recovery efforts. In the aftermath of both disasters, she developed for exchange and leadership programs for State Alumni and young leaders.

Ms. Sakurai is from Hawaii and is a 2020 Distinguished Graduate of the National War College and the recipient of the college’s Theodore Roosevelt Award for scholarship and leadership. She is a former NCAA Division III swimmer and graduated from Lake Forest College with a B.A. in International Relations. Her foreign languages include Japanese, Indonesian, and French.