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Co-founders and Staff

NELIS was co-founded as a non-profit organization by three individuals with extensive experience in business and a strong dedication to sustainability. It is their hope to create a global "network of action" originating in Omi-Hachiman, home to Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake. The small township of Omi-Hachiman (pop. 90,000) nests on the shores of Lake Biwa and is the home not only of numerous temples, historical sites and lush greenery, but is also known as the birthplace of "The Omi Merchants", who from the 17th century onward based their business on the philosophy of "triple benefits" – business must benefit both the seller, the buyer and society, they argued. This spirit is still very much alive in the region.

Masahito Yamamoto is fourth generation CEO of the Taneya Group – an Omi-Hachiman based confectionery company founded in 1872. The company is deeply involved in the local community and dedicated to reforestation and protection of the environment. The Taneya Group is in the process of developing "La Collina" – a beautiful site which will both serve as headquarters, main shop, and vegetable garden open to the public and aims be a world class example of biofilic design.

Tatsuo Akimura is president of Akimura & Partners, an Omi-Hachiman based construction and building company and chairperson of the Omi-Hachiman Chamber of Commerce. His company, in collaboration with local NGOs, created one of Japan's first ecovillages in Omi-Hachiman with 400 residential units and has been a leading voice in corporate responsibility, biomimicry and open innovation initiatives in the region.

Peter David Pedersen, born in Denmark, is a resident of Japan for 24 years. He established one of Japan's leading sustainability consultancies, E-Square Inc., with Tachi Kiuchi, chairman emeritus of Mitsubishi Electric America in 2000. Peter David is also involved in corporate leadership development as executive director of TACL – The Academy for Corporate/ Collaborative/Creative leadership.


Since August 2014, the three co-founders have held monthly meetings in Omi-Hachiman with the support and participation of three staff.

Katsuyuki Hori is manager of the general affairs division of the Taneya Group.

Tatsuya Konishi is manager of the business planning division of the Taneya Group.

Akiko Nezu is manager at the non-profit organization, Hyakusai Gekijo (The Theatre of 100 Greens), a spin-off created by Akimura & Partners.