January 9, 2014 Newsletter

U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter

January 9th, 2014



TOMODACHI at 2014 Rose Bowl

Emerging Leaders Program News Corner



U.S. & Japan in the News

Save the Date: Annual Conference 2014

Happy New Year! As we enter 2014, we start looking forward to the U.S.-Japan Council's 2014 Annual Conference. We hope you will join us for USJC's 5th Annual Conference from Oct. 9 to 10in Honolulu, Hawaii! More details on registration, speakers and panel topics to come throughout the year.


TOMODACHI Students Ring in New Year as Part of the 2014 Rose Parade

As seen on TV screens worldwide, six former TOMODACHI students participated in the 2014 Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA on New Year's Day. 

American Honda, the Presenting Sponsor of the parade, helped these students in southern California participate in the Rose Parade. (The students are past participants of the TOMODACHI MUFG International Exchange Program, sponsored by the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.) Honda also invited these students, as well as their families, to the Rose Bowl game following the parade.

During the parade, the six youths rode the Honda float, where a video message from TOMODACHI students in Japan was played to convey their gratitude for the support given to Japan by the American people after the Great East Japan Earthquake (and wish everyone a new year).

The students' participation in the Rose Parade served as a kick-off to the TOMODACHI Honda Cultural Exchange Program, which will be implemented for a three-year period between 2015 and 2017. For more information, see the press release here.


TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) News Corner

Update from Kay Makishi (ELP 2013)

Participating in ELP gave me a renewed sense of motivation, purpose and responsibility to U.S.-Japan relations. I currently serve as Chair for National AJET – representing over 4,300 Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) participants from 40 countries in Japan. Last month, I led my first AJET Opinion Exchange with the Japanese government. I was enthused to be representing not only JET participants nationwide but also the U.S.-Japan Council as an Associate Member. 

Personally, as the only female executive member of the AJET National Council, I look up to many of the USJC female members as role models. Seeing Japanese-American women being successful in their respective industries motivates me to keep striving to do my best and make our community proud. 

Also, thanks to the connections I made at the USJC Annual Conference, I was invited as a panelist for a conference held at Waseda University in Tokyo. I was surprised (and yet not at the same time) to see fellow ELPs there. It really changed the tone of the conference when I was able to greet other panelists and participants with a familiar hug. With ELP, my network keeps multiplying greatly. This is all just within a few months after participating in ELP. I can’t wait to see how these connections will develop years from now! 

Thank you again to everyone who supports ELP for laying the foundation for us – you're making our professional journey fun. 

- Kay Makishi (Fukuoka, Japan)



Ambassador Sasae discusses U.S.-Japan relations in Los Angeles

On December 17, the Japan America Society of Southern California held a lunch and discussion in Los Angeles with Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae. Titled, "The Future of the Asia-Pacific: New Opportunities and Challenges for Japan-U.S. Relations," the discussion explored topics like whether Japan can restore real economic growth under "Abenomics," the role of Japan and the U.S.-Japan alliance in maximizing the potential of the Asia-Pacific region and more. USJC was a partner of the event, which was attended by many Council Members in the region. This was Ambassador Sasae's first official visit to Southern California.

"Ramen Burger" Featured in New York

On December 18, Asia Society hosted Ramen Burger creator Keizo Shimamoto (center), noodle artisan (and former USJC Conference speaker!) Kenshiro Uki (left) and filmmaker Michael McAteer (right) for a discussion on the future of Japanese cuisine. The ramen burger has swept through New York's foodie scene, and the U.S.-Japan Council is a proud outreach partner of this latest highlight on cultural diplomacy.

For more information on the event and a video recap, visit the Asia Society feature here.



Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellowship Opportunity - Pacific Forum CSIS

Mid-career academics or professionals interested in U.S.-Japan relations are encouraged to apply to the six-month Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellowship at Pacific Forum CSIS. Applications are available here, and will be accepted January 15 - March 1, 2014.

This prestigious fellowship opportunity supports a mid-career academic or professional by providing the cost-of-living and institutional support to allow him or her to explore a security-related issue that concerns the alliance. Fellows are provided with the following:
· A $3,000 stipend per month for six months
· A four-week research and interview trip to either Washington, DC (for the Japanese fellow) or Tokyo (for the U.S. fellow)
· The ability to participate in relevant U.S.-Japan dialogues under the auspices of the Pacific Forum Young Leaders Program
· Access to Pacific Forum’s global network of senior security specialists

To be considered, candidates must meet the following criteria:
· PhD or master’s degree with relevant work experience
· Fluency in spoken and written English
· Late 20s to 30s
· Be a U.S. or Japanese citizen

Applicants should be available for a six-month fellowship in Honolulu between May 2014 and April 2015. For any questions regarding the program or the application process, please contact Brooke Mizuno, Director of Grants Management and Institutional Support, at brooke@pacforum.org.


U.S. & Japan in the News

Japan’s Debit Card Market Expanding
The Japan News, January 10, 2014
Sharp President Trying to Change Inward-Looking Corp Culture
The Wall Street Journal, January 09, 2014
Japan Under Pressure Over Tariffs in TPP Talks
Mainichi Daily News, January 07, 2014
Japan Wants Talks with China, Korea on War Shrine
The Washington Post, January 06, 2014
PM Abe Refocuses on Economy After Shrine Visit Irks Neighbors
The Wall Street Journal, January 06, 2014
Japan Promises Equality, But Women Find Few Jobs
The Washington Post, January 02, 2014
With Downed Balloon, China and Japan Cooperate
The New York Times, January 02, 2014