(L-R) Mr. Higa; Ms. Rochelle King, Vice President of Data, Insights and Design, Spotify; Mr. Hans Peter Brøndmo, General Manager of Robotics, X; Mr. Bryan Meehan, CEO, Blue Bottle Coffee
Thank you to everyone who attended the 2016 Annual Conference!!
The 2016 Annual Conference, held in Silicon Valley, California from November 14 to 15, 2016, was the seventh USJC Annual Conference.‡
The U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference is a forward-thinking public event that takes place each fall. Leading professionals and members of the U.S.-Japan community convene to explore cutting-edge topics that provide opportunities for future growth and cooperation between the United States and Japan.
Held in the center of high-tech startups and development, this year’s Conference was an opportunity to advance an innovative agenda in U.S.-Japan relations, exchange views among leaders about challenges and opportunities, and identify ways that the U.S.-Japan relationship can be strengthened. It was attended by 700 distinguished American and Japanese leaders from all sectors, providing a unique opportunity for learning and networking. It highlighted innovation and entrepreneurship, and inspired the next generation of leaders. The venue was:
Hyatt Regency Santa Clara
5101 Great America Parkway
Santa Clara, CA 95054
‡There were also TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders programming on November 12 and USJC members programming on November 13.
(L-R) Silicon Valley Host Committee Co-Chair Tasha Yorozu; Mr. Hiroaki Nakanishi, Chairman of the Board, Representative Executive Officer, Hitachi, Ltd.; Secretary Norman Mineta, Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce; USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye; USJC Chairman of the Board Dennis Teranishi
More than 700 leaders from Japan and the United States attended the conference, which was themed “Imagine. Innovate. Inspire. - The Silicon Valley Experience.” Issues they discussed included technology collaboration in various areas from design to artificial intelligence to finance, women’s leadership, fostering young leaders and celebrating diversity.
Keynote speakers Hiroaki Nakanishi, Chairman of the Board, Representative Executive Officer, Hitachi, Ltd.; Peter Schwartz, Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning, Salesforce; and Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft Corporation spoke about further opportunities for collaboration between the United States and Japan, as well as how advancement in technology would change the future. James Higa, Executive Director of Philanthropic Ventures Foundation and Mentor in Residence at Index Ventures, led a panel called “The Silicon Valley Experience,” where panelists from X (formerly known as Google X), Spotify and Blue Bottle Coffee shared their perspectives on what Japan may learn from Silicon Valley’s success.
Highlighting the importance of collaboration between the United States and Japan in the technology space is one of the key reasons that USJC held this year’s Conference in Silicon Valley, the global hub of technology innovation and investment. At the invitation of USJC leaders in the region, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Silicon Valley last year to announce his initiative to bridge Japan and Silicon Valley. In addition to capturing how technology enhances a wide variety of fields, from disaster prevention to medicine, this Annual Conference furthered regional economic collaboration by showcasing products and services by local U.S. companies and small to medium-sized businesses from Japanese prefectures.
The Conference also celebrated the diversity of U.S.-Japan leaders in many ways. Norman Y. Mineta, Former Mayor of San Jose (who is also Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce), spoke about the importance of building a network of people who want to make the world a better place. An annual, dynamic panel discussion led by Jan Yanehiro, President, Jan Yanehiro, Inc., looked at Japanese American leadership from a variety of industries and backgrounds, featuring Scott Fujita, a former NFL Athlete who was adopted by a Japanese American family; Kathy Matsui, Vice-Chair of Goldman Sachs Japan Co., Ltd. who is a pioneer in the Womenomics movement; Tamlyn Tomita, actress and singer known for Karate Kid 2; and Kenshiro Uki, the millennial Vice President of Operations at Sun Noodle North America.
(L-R) Ms. Yanehiro, Ms. Tomita, Mr. Fujita, Ms. Matsui, Mr. Uki
Women and young leaders were also passionate advocates for diversity. Women’s leadership was the topic of two panel discussions: one discussing innovative ideas on advancing women’s impact in the workplace, led by Japanese journalist Hiroko Kuniya; and another focused on Japanese American women in politics, featuring local leaders that include Yoriko Kishimoto, Former Mayor of Palo Alto. The workshop “Building Bridges—Not Barriers,” led by Japanese American millennials, examined how Japanese Americans, who faced discrimination during World War II, can help dissipate tensions among people of different backgrounds. Students who participated in exchange programs of the TOMODACHI Initiative--a public-private partnership led by USJC and the U.S. Embassy, with strong support by the Government of Japan—shared their personal stories in overcoming obstacles.
Other panel discussions and workshops centered on topics such as the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, best practices in education, and how strong people-to-people connections between the United States and Japan—as in the documentary Paper Lanterns, about a Japanese man who sought the families of American POWs who were killed in Hiroshima— would ultimately spread a global message of peace.
Click here to see more photos from the Conference.
Click here for the social media recap to see how the speakers and audience enjoyed the Conference activities!
Our featured speakers this year included:
Senior Vice President,
President & CLO
2020 Tokyo Olympic Games
A discussion on the current state of planning for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and how major sponsors and corporations are supporting the Games.
A discussion on collaborations between U.S. and Japanese companies on artificial intelligence and its benefits to society.
Design Innovation and Thinking
A session on how design innovators are utilizing multidisciplinary thinking and the latest technology to tackle some of greatest challenges facing the United States and Japan.
A roundtable discussion on educational issues of importance in U.S.-Japan relations.
A discussion on new financial startup companies, how they are making financial services more efficient through technology and the impact on financial systems and corporations in the United States and Japan.
Japanese American Leaders, Movers and Shakers
An engaging dialogue among trailblazing and accomplished Japanese American leaders, movers and shakers.
Japanese Prefectures Pitching Session
“Hidden Gems Showcase” – Companies from five Japanese prefectures will demonstrate products, services and/or ideas to conference attendees.
Leadership Innovation in Crises: Lessons from 3.11
Leadership lessons learned from the two phases of TOMODACHI: the military’s OPERATION Tomodachi and the TOMODACHI Initiative.
Medical and Health Technology Innovations
A discussion on advances in medical and health technology and how U.S.-Japan collaborations are approaching the current challenges and opportunities.
Paper Lanterns Documentary Screening & Discussion
A film screening for the documentary, Paper Lanterns, about a Japanese man tracking the stories of 12 American POWs who were killed during the bombing of Hiroshima in WWII. This was followed by a Q&A session with the film’s director.
Silicon Valley & The Japanese Market
A discussion on the importance of the Japanese market to Silicon Valley companies and how they are gaining entry and success.
Silicon Valley Demo Session
Silicon Valley companies supporting the Annual Conference will demonstrate products, services and/or ideas to conference attendees.
The Silicon Valley Experience
A discussion on the “Silicon Valley Way” and opportunities for U.S.-Japan collaboration and investment.
Technology and Disasters
A session on innovative technology utilized in disaster preparedness, response and recovery to be more efficient and effective.
Overcoming Adversity: Stories by TOMODACHI Alumni
A session dedicated to the TOMODACHI Initiative, possibly including a focus on current programs and/or alumni.
Women in Elected Politics
A session on the impact of women in elected politics in the Silicon Valley area and beyond, and initiatives to bolster their inclusion
Women’s Leadership in the Workplace
A discussion on innovative thinking about creating opportunities for women to thrive in the workplace, with examples from the United States (e.g., Silicon Valley) and Japan.
Young Professionals Workshop
A session organized by and for Young Professionals attending the Annual Conference to engage each other on U.S.-Japan issues important to millennials today.
* indicates sessions open to the General Public. All other sessions were by invite only.
|Saturday, November 12:||TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program|
|Sunday, November 13:||USJC Board of Directors Meeting|
|USJC Members Day|
|Monday, November 14:||USJC Board of Councilors Meeting|
|*Public Symposium - Breakfast, Plenary & Breakout Sessions, Lunch, and Reception*|
|2016 Annual Conference Sponsors' Dinner|
|Tuesday, November 15:||USJC Business Networking Initiative|
|*Public Symposium - Coffee, Breakout Sessions, Offsite Visits*|
Click here to see the press release summarizing the Conference.
The media advisory sent prior to the Annual Conference is here.
The 2016 USJC Annual Conference was made possible by our generous sponsors.