The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation was established as a result of a visit to London in 1983 by the late Ryoichi Sasakawa during which he met a number of senior British figures to discuss the international situation and, in particular, UK-Japanese relations. It was agreed at these discussions that it would be in the interest of both countries if more could be done to enhance mutual appreciation and understanding of each other’s culture, society and achievements and that a non-governmental, non-profit making body should be established for this purpose.

A donation of almost £10 million was subsequently made by the Japan Shipbuilding Industry Foundation (now called The Nippon Foundation), founded in 1962, and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation was inaugurated in May 1985, in parallel with similar initiatives in Scandinavia, France and the United States.

The Chairman of The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation is the Earl of St Andrews.


The Foundation was established in 1985 as a non-governmental, non-profit making body with the purpose of helping to develop and sustain good relations between the United Kingdom and Japan. Its main objective is to promote among the people of both countries, in a global context, a mutual knowledge, understanding and appreciation of each other’s culture, society, and achievements.


The mission of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation is to enable dialogue, activity and innovative research between the UK and Japan that:
– introduces a new dimension to the relationship or activity.
– creates new relationships and partnerships.
– reaches a wide audience and have a broad impact.
– addresses issues of common interest and concern to both countries and beyond, and supports research for mutual and wider benefit.
– enables global opportunities for a younger generation.
– explores and celebrate activity outside main cities.
– promotes contemporary life, art, and culture in both countries.
– encourages the study of Japanese language and Japanese Studies research in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Board of trustees; in UK and in Japan, and Staff in London and Tokyo adhere to:

Professionalism and Integrity
We are committed to continuous professional development and enhancement of knowledge and skills. We listen and respect each other and are responsive to each other’s needs. We work to make the foundation a welcoming, safe, supportive, and engaging place to work where concerns are addressed in a timely and respectful manner.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We value differences in culture, religion, belief, age, ethnicity or race, disability, gender, sexual identity, and other specific characteristics and the intersection of these, by respecting individuality and are committed to anti-racism in all activities. We are on a journey to improve and embed accessibility in our processes and communications.

We are committed to ensuring the safety of the children and young people that we work with on the Japan Experience Study Tour and on other projects hosted by the Foundation, and adhere to a robust safeguarding and child protection policy.

We believe in the value of clear, accurate, and proactive communication between the foundation and grant recipients, partners, and contacts.

Environmental Responsibility
We are mindful of the scarcity of resources and recognise the carbon impact of our work, particularly flying between the UK and Japan, and are working to measure the carbon impact of our operations. We do not offset our carbon emissions as this is no substitute for reducing our carbon impact. We are exploring how our work maps against the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. In all in-scope activity, publications, and events, we aim to minimise our carbon impact in choice of suppliers, venues, catering, and stationery and believe that no action is too small to make a difference. We recognise that our Foundation is supported by a substantial endowment and are investing in environmentally responsible and ethical funds that have high ethical standards of transparency of reporting.