April 17, 2014 Newsletter

U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter

April 17th, 2014


Sakura Matsuri

Annual Conference 2014




U.S. & Japan in the News

TOMODACHI Tent at the Sakura Matsuri in Washington, DC

By Sho Tsuyuki, USJC Intern

On April 12, 2014, U.S.-Japan Council staff members, former TOMODACHI participants and volunteers publicized TOMODACHI Initiative programs and activities at the Sakura Matsuri, an annual street festival in Washington, DC that celebrates cherry blossoms and Japanese culture. Through the “TOMODACHI Tent,” we informed the public about the various opportunities the Initiative offers. We also asked people who stopped by the tent to help create a collage of the TOMODACHI logo with their thumbprints, engaging children, adults and even a dog that left its pawprint. (See photos here)

USJC Associate Member Lauren Ohata (pictured above left) volunteered for TOMODACHI, and many of our sponsors stopped by. Associate Members Georgette Fukurawa-Martinez and Yuuki Shinomiya also volunteered at the Sakura Matsuri. Ambassador and Mrs. Sasae even paid us a visit!

Volunteers at our tent included past participants from the Building the TOMODACHI Generation program, the TOMODACHI BEYOND Tomorrow program and the TOMODACHI U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program (Jatalia Wilson, above right). They shared their personal experience with the visitors, and enjoyed the opportunity to meet fellow TOMODACHI alumni in the DC area. This epitomized the continued engagement of the TOMODACHI generation to strengthen U.S.-Japan relations.

As I was responsible for coordinating part of this event, I was happy to see how so many people were interested in the TOMODACHI Initiative and its cause, and how past TOMODACHI participants were eager to volunteer to stay engaged with us.

The Sakura Matsuri is hosted by the Japan-America Society of Washington DC, and is part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.


Annual Conference 2014 - Information and Registration Now Online!

USJC is proud to present the Fifth Annual Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii in October 2014. The Annual Conference brings together regional, national and international leaders from government, business, academia and non-profit sectors to discuss current issues and opportunities impacting U.S.-Japan relations. With its historical, cultural and strategic significance in the Asia Pacific, Hawaii is the perfect venue for a Conference that connects the East and West.

USJC seeks to highlight Hawaii’s unique value to Japanese and U.S. mainland businesses, including industries such as tourism and hospitality, clean energy and technology, culinary and more. Over 500 attendees are expected from throughout the United States and Japan, and will exhibit innovation and entrepreneurship that can take place through international collaboration. USJC has an active membership in Hawaii, and has held many events in Honolulu, but this will be the first Annual Conference held in Hawaii. The Conference will showcase Hawaii leaders in breakout sessions and round table exchanges, and connect local individuals with visitors from across the country or abroad.

For more information and to register today, please visit our website.



Seeking Applicants and Host Families for the 2014 TOMODACHI U.S.-Japan Youth Exchange Program (Washington, DC metro area, summer) 

The purpose of the exchange is to promote cultural dialogue and understanding between DC and Japanese teens; to provide exposure to social entrepreneurship and organizations promoting social change; and to enhance the students' leadership skills and global awareness. The six Japanese exchange students will be in DC for 2- 1/2 weeks this summer.

Volunteer to be a Host Family! 
We are seeking families in the DC metro area to host the Japanese high school student of this program for 2 - 1/2 weeks this summer from July 18-August 3 (tentative). The flyer and information can be found here: //usjapanfuture.org/about/news/hf-flyer-tomodachi-2014/

Apply to Participate! 
The deadline is Wednesday, May 7. 
DCPS and DC charter school students in 10th or 11th grade are invited to apply for this fully-funded program. We are particularly interested in students who have never traveled internationally before. Detailed information and application packets can be found here: //usjapanfuture.org/apply-2014/

To learn more about this DC-Japan exchange program, and to keep up with the latest developments, go to www.usjapanfuture.org.   

Applications Open for TOMODACHI MetLife Women's Leadership Program

Applications are now open for the 2014-15 class of the TOMODACHI MetLife Women's Leadership Program (TMWLP). The 10-month mentorship program pairs highly-motivated Japanese female university students with Japanese female mid-career professionals to encourage networking among a select corps of Japanese women who show promise as Japan’s next generation of leaders. This year's program will take place in four locations: Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka and Naha.

Motivated, bilingual Japanese citizens and permanent residents are encouraged to apply as either participants or mid-career mentors, so please distribute this to your networks. More information about TMWLP is available online hereApplications are due by May 7, 2014.


Upcoming Events

Southern California - Breakfast Discussion on "Redefining U.S.-Japan Ties"

On April 28, USJC and Asia Society will present a breakfast discussion exploring ways to reshape and strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance amid a variety of regional challenges.

Speakers include:
• Takeshi Niinami, CEO, Lawson Inc., and member of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Industrial Competitiveness Council 
• Mickey Kantor, Partner, Mayer Brown, and former U.S. Trade Representative and Commerce Secretary
• Daniel Okimoto, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stanford University, and Chairman, Board of Councilors, U.S.-Japan Council 
To register, please visit: 

Washington DC - Japanese American Teams Up with Mozart for "Magic Flute"

This spring, the Washington National Opera is presenting Mozart's final opera, The Magic Flute, featuring colorful sets and costumes by renowned Japanese American visual artist and painter Jun Kaneko. The English-language performance runs at the Kennedy Center from May 3 -18.

The Kennedy Center has graciously granted USJC newsletter subscribers 25% off valid on select orchestra sections (for performances of The Magic Flute on 5/5 at 7 p.m. and 5/7 & 5/8 at 7:30 p.m.). Enter code 176258 online, by phone, or at the box office.

Jun Kaneko has also brought a free exhibition of his ceramic sculptures to the Kennedy Center's Hall of Nations from now until May 19. Balancing elements of both American and Japanese aesthetics, the installation features pieces from his series of HEADSDangos, and TanukiLearn more about the artist.



USJC Seeking Development Director

The U.S.-Japan Council is accepting applications for a Director of Development with extensive development and external relations experience. As the Council has grown significantly in the past five years, including our work on TOMODACHI, we are looking to add someone to our staff who will substantially grow our Development activities in this next phase of our growth. A listing of qualifications and responsibilities is available on the USJC website here://www.usjapancouncil.org/about/p/opportunities.

Government of Japan Program for Japanese American Students
(Applications Due April 30)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan will sponsor a group of five Japanese American high school students to travel to Japan June 27 – July 8 for the opportunity to learn about Japan and to promote mutual understanding and exchanges between Japanese and Japanese American younger generations.  Those with multiracial backgrounds and children of first generation Japanese immigrants (“shin issei”) are highly encouraged to apply. This is the sixth group of students to be invited for the program. The itinerary in Japan is scheduled to include a visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tours of Tokyo and the Kansai area, and a homestay experience.

More information is available from the Consulate General office in Los Angeles, though applicants must submit materials to their local consulate general office, or for residents of the Washington DC area, the embassy. To find the office in your region, please visit //www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/jicc/consulate-guide.html.


U.S. & Japan in the News

Kennedy Visits Ise Grand Shrine
Japan Today, April 17, 2014
Obama Aims to Reinvigorate Asia Strategy
The Washington Post, April 16, 2014
Japan: New Energy Strategy Approved
The New York Times, April 12, 2014
White House Confirms Michelle Obama Won’t Visit Japan
The Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2014
Japan-Tennessee Bond Continues to Blossom
The Tennessean, April 09, 2014
Abe’s Push for Bigger Military Role Faces Tough Opposition
The Wall Street Journal, April 07, 2014
U.S. Response to Crimea Worries Japan’s Leaders
The New York Times, April 05, 2014