Silicon Valley and Japan: A Conversation with Ambassador John Roos



Ambassador John Roos

Date and Time

November 11, 2014 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM



RSVP required by 5PM November 10.


Bechtel Conference Center
Encina Hall
616 Serra St., 1st floor
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305


Japan has long been known as a technology giant, and remains highly entrepreneurial, despite slowed competiveness in the years following the financial crisis of the 1990s. How can Japan continue to reinvigorate its economy? What steps can Japanese and Silicon Valley-based actors take to facilitate long-term, beneficial partnerships?

Ambassador John Roos, who served as U.S. ambassador to Japan from 2009-13, will explore trends of entrepreneurship in Japan, and compare it to those in Silicon Valley. Roos will address the networks, knowledge sharing patterns, and key challenges, such as political and societal barriers to growth, that both Japan and the United States face. During his tenure as ambassador, Roos focused on innovation and trade issues, including Japan’s announcement to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He built many relationships and established constructed dialogue surrounding those issues.

This event will feature Roos in conservation with Ambassador Michael H. Armacost, a Shorenstein Distinguished Fellow, who also served as a U.S. ambassador to Japan (1989-1993).


Ambassador John Victor Roos was the U.S. Ambassador to Japan from August 2009-13, a pivotal period in U.S.-Japan relations. Shortly after presenting his credentials to Japan's emperor, power shifted from the Liberal Democratic Party to the Democratic Party of Japan for essentially the first time in 50 years, and Roos played a key role in managing the U.S.-Japan relationship through the transition. Three and a half years later, power shifted back to the LDP, and once again, Roos was called upon to help manage the relationship through a major shift in government.

During his almost four years in Japan, Roos built relationships and established a rich and active dialogue with government leaders, businesspeople, media, and students over the course of his travels through all 47 of Japan's prefectures. In addition to addressing the security, economic, and global challenges that Japan and the United States faced, Roos put specific focus on innovation and entrepreneurship as well as trade issues, including Japan's announced intent to join the TPP. Roos' work with the business sector resulted in his being recognized, along with his wife Susie, as the 2012 American Chamber of Commerce Japan's Persons of the Year.

Prior to his ambassadorial appointment, Roos served as Chief Executive Officer and Senior Partner at Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich, & Rosati, a leading law firm in the United States in the representation of technology, life sciences, and emerging growth companies. There he helped lead his firm through multiple waves of innovation in Silicon Valley, from the growth of software and communications, to the Internet Age, to the emergence of biotechnology, clean technology and renewable energy, and to the social media revolution.

Roos is a graduate of Stanford University and Stanford Law School.

Share this Event