Q & A with Alumnus Wataru Tanoue

Photo by IISD/ENB

Alumnus Wataru Tanoue graduated from the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs in 2015 and is now the Assistant Director of the International Affairs Division for the Fisheries Agency, Government of Japan. We had a chance to catch up with Wataru and hear about his job, his time at SMEA, and advice he has for current SMEA students.

Can you give us a brief description of what you do?

In Japanese government, I am in charge of international negotiation about tuna fisheries management in Western and Central Pacific Ocean through Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

What do you like best about your job?

I can involve in real fishing operation through making international rule, instead of just criticizing or commenting. Also, I can learn diversity of fishing operation, fish business and ecosystem all over the world through conversation with fishermen and other people from foreign countries.

How did SMEA help you prepare?

Since I was born and grow up in Japan, I could not discuss using English. Through the class or other activities in SMEA, my English was dramatically improved. Also, I learned that not only language but also way of thinking and logic behind discussion is also different. I could broaden my view through SMEA, so I can care every stakeholders when I think about government policy. For example, even when I work for fishery issue, every time I care for other sector, such as scientific world, environmental sector and indigenous people.

If you had one piece of advice for current SMEA students, what would it be?

Talk more people, experience more things and visit more places, as much as you can. I know the graduate student days are busy for lots of assignments, projects and thesis. However, once you graduate SMEA and start working, you must realize that graduate student days were extremely precious and short. For international students, I recommend not to spend long time with friends from your home country.


If you are a SMEA alum who would like to share what you’re doing, you can do so through our Alumni Update, we’d love to hear from you! You can also update your information via the UW Alumni Services site http://www.washington.edu/alumni/services/update/