Rieko Suzuki Kitaoka is currently chair of SDGs Promise Japan (SPJ), a Certified Specified Non-profit Organization dedicated to fostering independence for village people in Sub-Saharan Africa, in an effort to support the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
After earning a MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Rieko worked as a research director of Dentsu Inc.. She has written several books and a number of articles for Japanese magazines, and she was presented with “the New Opinion leaders” award by the Yomiuri Newspaper. Rieko had been interviewed frequently by international media and made a regular TV appearances as a commentator on Japanese social phenomena.
While her husband Dr. Shinichi Kitaoka (current President of Japan International Cooperation Agency – JICA) was Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations, Rieko visited Millennium Villages in sub-Saharan Africa with the team of Professor Jeffrey Sachs. In 2005, Rieko visited Dakar, Senegal for the Roll Back Malaria concert, where she met the Executive Director of the Sumitomo Chemical Group. After introducing him to Professor Jeffrey Sachs in New York, Sumitomo Chemical decided to donate Olyset Nets for all houses in Millennium Villages.
In 2008, Shinichi and Rieko set up the Millennium Promise Japan (now SDGs Promise Japan), a global alliance of Millennium Promise in New York.
Recently, Rieko has played a leading role in forming a Japanese parliament members group for combatting neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Under her direction, SPJ remains committed to the achievement of the SDGs.