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A 'Singular Figure' In U.S.-Japan Relations Dies At Age 71

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The founding president and CEO of the country's largest museum devoted to Japanese American history and culture died Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Irene Hirano Inouye had led the Japanese American National Museum for 20 years before stepping down in 2008 when she married the late Hawaiian Sen. Daniel Inouye.

Inouye helped raise tens of millions of dollars for the musuem, oversaw a major expansion and promoted wide-ranging shows that touched on everything from the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans to the pop art.

The chair of the U.S.-Japan Council said in a letter to members:

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"Irene was a singular figure in U.S.-Japan relations, respected by leaders on both sides of the Pacific."