Born in Nagano in 1948.
Sakata attended high school in Maine in 1965–66 as an exchange student, then attended Kyoto University, where she majored in sociology. From 1976 to 2008, she worked at and managed a photo wire service.
Upon the death of her husband, photojournalist Greg Davis, she decided to make a documentary film about Agent Orange. She filmed Agent Orange victims and their families in Vietnam and the US, and conducted interviews with Vietnam veterans and academic specialists.
Agent Orange: A Personal Requiem was completed in 2007. The film has won many prizes, including the Mainichi documentary film award, the Paris International Environmental Film Festival special prize, and the Earth Vision special jury award. It screened in Japan and in various parts of the world.
Sakata has produced a sequel, which was first broadcast in 2011 as an ETV Special on NHK, entitled “Journey to a Father’s Battlefield, Vietnam.” The program won the Galaxy Prize.
Living the Silent Spring is the theatrical version of the sequel to that film. It premiered at Iwanami Hall in Tokyo in 2011.