April 4, 2013 Newsletter

U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter

April 4th, 2013


A Letter from the President

Featured Video

Featured Photos

Upcoming USJC Events

Join Us on Facebook



Featured News

U.S. & Japan in the News

A Letter from the President

Cherry blossom season always marks the true beginning of spring, and I have been fortunate to see the season start twice this year – first in Japan last month when the blossoms were in full bloom and now in Washington, DC where we are seeing the first buds burst. I hope that you are able to enjoy sakura season with your friends and family in your communities across the country. We are looking forward to once again hosting a TOMODACHI tent at the Sakura Matsuri festival here in DC. 

I was recently in Japan for the 2013 Japanese American Leadership Delegation that took us to Fukushima and to Tokyo. It was especially meaningful to be in Fukushima on the second anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. We were moved by the optimism and resiliency of the people there and our visit illuminated the true meaning of TOMODACHI and why we are so committed to supporting the people of Tohoku and the people of Japan as they recover. 

Each year, spending a week with talented and devoted Japanese Americans on the delegation reminds me of the thriving national network we have built over the past few years and how our Council Members are true ambassadors of the organization’s mission and vision. Thank you for your inspiring and ongoing work out in the community that contributes to the overall goal of strengthening and diversifying U.S.-Japan relations.  

We hope to see all of our friends and Council Members in Tokyo for USJC Japan Week 2013 and later, in October, for the 2013 Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

Sincere Regards,

Irene Hirano Inouye


Featured Video

As a part of our new video campaign, we will be releasing one video per e-newsletter. In the last edition, you heard from our Board of Directors Chairman Thomas Iino and our Board of Councilors Chairman Daniel Okimoto.

Today's video features U.S.-Japan Council Member Charlie Allcock from Portland, Oregon. Charlie has been engaged in monitoring the tsunami marine debris issue affecting the West Coast and specifically, the Pacific Northwest. The Council is grateful for his support and the support of other Council Members who have participated in beach clean-ups and helped to coordinate collaboration between the U.S. and Japan.

Just last Saturday, Charlie participated in SOLVE's semi-annual beach clean-up together with over 150 Japanese Americans! Participants included local Japanese Americans, Japanese students studying at Oregon colleges and Japanese expats with their families.


Featured Photos

San Francisco Networking Reception Hosted by Consul General Hiroshi Inomata

On April 2nd, Northern California Council Members & friends gathered at a networking reception hosted by San Francisco Consul General Hiroshi Inomata. Forty Council Members came together to hear an update on current U.S.-Japan relations from Consul General Inomata, an update on USJC activities from Irene Hirano Inouye and reflections from 2013 Japanese American Leadership Delegation participant Emily Murase. 

Special guest, California State Assemblymember Mariko Yamada, shared her thoughts on the important ties between California and Japan. 

This was one of several U.S.-Japan Council regional networking events that are planned throughout the year. A regional networking event was also held last month in Washington, DC. USJC, the Japanese Commerce Association of Washington, DC and JA-NET convened for dinner at the offices of Arnold & Porter, LLP.  


Upcoming USJC Events

USJC Japan Week 2013

USJC Japan Week is less than two months away. We look forward to welcoming those who can join us in Tokyo!

Schedule of Events:


Monday, May 27: USJC/American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Women in Business Summit (12:00-5:15pm) Venue: Tokyo American Club

Tuesday, May 28: USJC Symposium (2:00 – 5:30pm), followed by a reception (5:45-7:30pm) Venue: Roppongi Academy Hills 

Wednesday, May 29: NPO Summit (8:45am - 12:30pm) Venue: JP Morgan Tokyo Building


For more information, including discounted hotel rates visit: 


We're pleased to announce that the Japan Symposium is generously sponsored by:


Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.



Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership

PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP


American Airlines

Mitsubishi Corporation



Mr. Ernest M. Higa

Mr. Stephen L. Kagawa

Ms. Reiko Makino

2013 Annual Conference: October 3rd-5th, 2013 in Washington, DC

We look forward to welcoming you back to Washington, DC for the 2013 Annual Conference. Please save the date and continue to visit the USJC website for information about the theme, topics and speakers. 


Schedule of events:

October 3rd - Opening Reception (5:30 - 7:00pm)

October 4th - Annual Conference (9:00am - 5:15pm) followed by a reception (5:30-7:00pm)

October 5th - Annual Members Meeting (10:30am - 5:15pm) followed by a reception (6:30 - 8:30pm)


The Capitol Hilton
1001 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
(P) 202-393-1000

When booking, please mention the U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference to receive discounted room rates starting at $209.00.


USJC on Facebook

Don't forget, USJC is on Facebook! This is a space where we have a little more fun and also the first place we post information about news and events that may be of interest to you.

Join us online by visiting //www.facebook.com/usjapancouncil and clicking like. 

Recent Facebook Posts:

Just for fun - Check out this Japanese American soon-to-be- superstar Judith Hill on The Voice. See what made all four judges turn their chairs. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMOCtUP9_Vc

Great new website launched today from our friends at APIASF! The Changing Face of American public awareness campaign supports up and coming Asian American and Pacific Islander students. //changingfaceofamerica.com/

The U.S. & Japan are holding senior defense talks in Hawaii today led by Admiral Samuel Locklear. Adm. Locklear spoke at a USJC event in Dec. 2012. Adm. Locklear looks to intensify operational collaboration. //abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/us-japan-hold-senior-defense-talks-hawaii-18786717#.UUxvfhdimzk

The latest piece of tsunami marine debris to wash ashore in the Pacific Northwest has special significance - It's the top of a torii gate!//www.kgw.com/news/local/Part-of-Japanese-temple-gate-washes-ashore-at-Oceanside-199891091.html

Shihoko Goto, the Northeast Asia associate for the Woodrow Wilson International Center's Asia Program provides further analysis about how Caroline Kennedy can make a difference in Japan. //www.cnn.com/2013/04/02/opinion/goto-caroline-kennedy-japan/

According to data from the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which makes and administers the TOEFL exam, out of 33 Asian countries in 2011, only Cambodia and Laos ranked lower than Japan in terms of English language ability. Learn about the LDP's new plan here. Will it work? //www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2013/03/31/editorials/testing-english-versus-teaching-it/#.UVnA_mg8j0s



Wendy's Japan & TOMODACHI team up to bring you delicious burgers that support the initiative!

The TOMODACHI Initiative and Wendy’s Japan are proud to announce a special campaign to create a “TOMODACHI Burger” in spring 2013.  Symbolizing the deep friendship between Japan and the United States, the “TOMODACHI Burger” will be sold at Wendy’s three Tokyo-area stores for six weeks beginning on April 26th, 2013.  A portion of the proceeds from each burger sale will be donated to the TOMODACHI Initiative in order to support a wide range of exchange programs for young people in Japan.

In advance of the April 26th launch, members of the public are invited to submit their ideas to create the best burger, including toppings and ingredients.  The winner of the contest will receive an invitation to take part in the launch event. 

U.S.-Japan Council Board Member and Wendy’s Japan Chairman Ernest M. Higa said, “The TOMODACHI Burger is Wendy’s way of giving something back to the two countries that have made our dreams possible, a heartfelt and delicious ‘thank you’ to the people of Japan and the United States and a symbol of our hope for the bright future of both countries.”

Information about the campaign is available here: //wendys.co.jp/wendys/view/s.php?a=208

Apply for the Atlas Corps TOMODACHI Fellows Program

The application deadline has been extended to April 30th. 

Atlas Corps seeks nonprofit leaders from Japan to apply for the newly launched Atlas Corps TOMODACHI Fellows Program in the United States. The new initiative, a collaboration between the TOMODACHI Initiative and Atlas Corps, seeks to engage leaders from Japan committed to the nonprofit sector in 12-18 month, professional fellowships at organizations in the United States to learn best practices, build organizational capacity and return home to create a network of global leaders. Please share this terrific opportunity with your various networks.

Click here for more information and to apply. 


Opportunities & Events

Washington, DC Sakura Matsuri Volunteers Needed at the TOMODACHI Tent

The U.S.-Japan Council and the TOMODACHI Initiative need volunteers for our tent at the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival on Saturday, April 13th. We will need volunteers from 9:30am to 6pm, in shifts of approximately two hours. We will be handing out TOMODACHI promotional merchandise, such as wristbands, stickers and buttons and giving a quick pitch about TOMODACHI. To volunteer, please register at //bit.ly/TOMOcherry. Volunteers receive free entry to the festivities. 

USJC Board of Councilors Member Glen S. Fukushima to Serve as Keynote at Japan-America Student Conference (JASC) Reception in NYC

Glen S. Fukushima, USJC Board of Councilors and Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, will provide the keynote speech at a Japan-America Student Conference (JASC) fundraising reception on Wednesday, May 8th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, at MetLife Auditorium, 1095 Avenue of the Americas, New York City.

The Japan-America Student Conference (JASC), one of the oldest student exchange programs in the world, was launched in 1934 by Japanese college students and continues to cultivate new generations of future leaders for the U.S.-Japan partnership. JASC alumni include former Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa (1940), former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (1951), New York Consul-General of Japan Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki and Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo Kurt Tong (1984 and 1985), along with other prominent leaders in government, business, law, journalism and academia.

Glen participated in JASC in 1970 and 1971 while an undergraduate student at Stanford University. In his keynote speech, he will discuss how his JASC experience shaped his professional and personal life (he first met his equally accomplished wife, Mrs. Sakie T. Fukushima, at JASC) as well as share his thoughts on the importance of foreign language fluency, international experience, leadership skills and global networks for anyone who works in the U.S.-Japan sphere and beyond.

In addition, this is an excellent opportunity to network with JASC alumni as well as stakeholders in U.S.-Japan affairs in the greater NYC area. If you are interested in attending the reception or learning more about JASC, please contact ISC's Executive Director, Mr. Yuuki Shinomiya, at yshinomiya@iscdc.org or 202-289-9088.

Host Families Needed: YFU Japanese Exchange Students are Coming to Communities Across America

Our friends at Youth For Understanding USA (YFU), a non-profit intercultural exchange organization, are seeking local volunteers and host families to mentor and host Japanese high school exchange students. Families of all shapes and sizes are welcome to host. Each year, YFU USA welcomes nearly 2000 students, many of whom come from Japan, to experience American culture first-hand.

Share your family traditions and learn more about Japan! Welcome an international teenager eager to experience American culture, learn about social responsibility and build bonds of friendship that will last a lifetime.  

If you are interested in exploring possibilities to host, visit //yfuusa.org/host-families.php to learn more. 

Shin Nikkei Jin Program for Japanese Americans Students

Our friends at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan are sponsoring a program that provides Japanese American and other students with the opportunity to learn about various aspects about Japan including politics, economics, society, history, language and culture. The goal of the program is to promote mutual understanding and exchanges between younger generations of Japanese and Japanese Americans. 

The five selected participants will travel to the Kanto area of Japan from June 28th to July 9th, 2013, where they will participate in a homestay. 

Click here for the application form. Click here for more information.

Featured News

Our Japan Symposium keynote speaker, Tadashi Yanai, Chairman & CEO of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd. was featured on CBS in a story about Fast Retailing's rapidly internationalizing brand, UNIQLO. Click here to watch the video.


U.S. & Japan in the News

Japan Reacts to North Korea’s Nuclear Plans
The Wall Street Journal, April 02, 2013
Japan Set to Overhaul its Power Sector
The Washington Post, April 02, 2013 
Japan Shifting Further Away from Pacifism
The New York Times, April 01, 2013
Govt to Support Japanese Language Studies Abroad
The Daily Yomiuri, March 26, 2013
Elderly 3/11 Nuclear Evacuee Deaths Spiked
Japan Times , March 28, 2013
Abe Wants TOEFL to be Key Exam
Japan Times, March 25, 2013
Hiroshima Court Rules Election Invalid
The Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2013
Japan Times Reaches Deal with New York Times Co.
The New York Times, March 25, 2013
‘Emperor:’ How the Peace was Won
Rafu Shimpo, March 24, 2013
‘Emperor:’ How the Peace was Won
Rafu Shimpo, March 24, 2013
Abe Keen to Speed Up Return Land Used by U.S. Forces
Mainichi Daily News, March 24, 2013
Japan and Free Trade: Better Late Than Never
The Economist, March 23, 2013
Japan Unlikely to Pay its Way Out of Fix
The Financial Times, March 22, 2013

Nobel Laureate Stiglitz Gives “Abenomics” Thumbs Up
The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2013