2017 Japanese American Leadership Delegation Returns Home

March 03, 2017 at 9am - March 10, 2017 at 9am

The eleven delegates of the 2017 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program returned home on March 11 after a full week of meetings, discussions and networking opportunities with Japanese leaders. The purpose of the program is to build people-to-people relationships with Japanese leaders from various sectors of society in order to strengthen and diversify U.S.-Japan relations.

The delegates at the Ohi Pottery Museum in Kanazawa, where the 11th master potter, Toshio Ohi (center), gave a presentation

This year's delegation visited Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture. The delegates participated in a symposium titled "Culture and Community Engagement: A Japanese American Perspective," (see this webpage for more information), co-sponsored by USJC and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP), with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ishikawa Prefectural Government. It was very well received, with over 150 individuals in attendance. The group also toured the Fukumitsu Sake Brewery (whose President was a discussant at the symposium), as well as Kenrokuen Garden and several museums.

The Symposium in Kanazawa featured (from left) Leslie Ito, Ken Russell and Wendy Takahisa, and discussed the impact culture has on community development 

In Tokyo, the group met with Prime Minister Abe. The Prime Minister emphasized that he valued the role of Japanese Americans, touching upon his visit to Hawaii last year, where he visited Pearl Harbor and attended a dinner with 1,000 Japanese Americans. (For a summary of his speech, click here.) The delegation thanked the Prime Minister for his support of U.S.-Japan relations and of Japanese Americans. (More information is available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (in Japanese) and a video of the discussion).

The Prime Minister took photos with each of the delegates, including Gary Yamashita

The delegates also participated in a dinner with Tokyo-based USJC members, as well as the TOMODACHI reception commemorating the sixth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake (see article below). They also met with many other individuals and organizations, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), Forum 21, Ambassador Masaharu Kohno, Japan Foundation CGP, the U.S. Embassy, Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Yohei Kono, Representative Taro Kono and other Diet members.

The delegates with Ambassador Masaharu Kohno, Member of the USJC Board of Councilors (center)

The JALD program is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and organized by USJC.

Click here to view more photos from the trip. Click here for more information on the program and biographies of all eleven delegates.