Japan-Hawaii Economic Summit


Japan-Hawaii Economic Summit
May 9-11, 2017

Presented by the U.S.-Japan Council and the State of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, the summit is a three day event being held to foster tangible near and long term economic opportunities among Japanese prefectures, the State of Hawaii, and the U.S. mainland. 

(L-R) Dennis Teranishi, Chairman of the Board at USJC, with Governor Shuichi Abe of Nagano, Governor David Y. Ige of Hawaii, Governor Heita Kawakatsu of Shizuoka, and Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki of Hiroshima at the 2015 USJC Annual Conference in Tokyo


Summit Overview

The Japan-Hawaii Economic Summit will accelerate regional and international exchange with prefectures in Japan that have interests in and connections to Hawaii. The summit will highlight shared issues and opportunities spanning business, tourism, and energy and forge connections that will pave the way for future collaboration and trade.

May 9-11, 2017
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows
68-1400 Mauna Lani Drive
Kohala Coast, Hawaii 96743


The Summit will include approximately 200 delegates from Japan, Hawaii, and the U.S. Mainland – including Governors, assembly officials, academia, and distinguished executives across the public and private sectors. 

State of Hawaii Sister Partnerships USJC Governor’s Circle
  • Ehime Prefecture
  • Fukuoka Prefecture
  • Hiroshima Prefecture
  • Okinawa Prefecture
  • Hokkaido Prefecture
  • Fukuoka Prefecture
  • Hiroshima Prefecture
  • Oita Prefecture
  • Okayama Prefecture
  • Nagano Prefecture
  • Shizuoka Prefecture

Confirmed Speakers

  • David Ige, Governor, State of Hawaii
  • Hidehiko Yuzaki, Governor, Hiroshima Prefecture
  • Heita Kawakatsu, Governor, Shizuoka Prefecture
  • Irene Hirano Inouye, President, U.S.-Japan Council 
  • Daniel Okimoto, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University
  • Yasunobu Kyogoku, CEO, Innovative Global Capital 
  • Shigetoshi Ogino, ResortTrust
  • Seki Takahashi, CEO, PJ Partners
  • Gregg Yamanaka, President, Learning Biz
  • Kuhao Zane, Designer, Sig Zane Designs 
  • David Lassner, President, University of Hawaii
  • Dawn Ige, First Lady, State of Hawaii
  • Kuniaki Shimozaki, Superintendent, Hiroshima Prefectural Board of Education  
  • Alan Oshima, President & CEO, Hawaiian Electric Company
  • Jeff Char, Business Innovation Task Force, TEPCO
  • Henk Rogers, CEO, Blue Planet
  • Luis Salaveria, Director, State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism 
  • Derek Kurisu, Executive Vice President, KTA Superstores
  • Yosuke Honjo, President, Ito-En USA
  • Daniel Dinell, President, Hawaii Coffee Company/Lion Coffee
  • Alan Ikawa, President, Big Island Candies
  • George Szigeti, President & CEO, Hawaii Tourism Authority


Summit Sponsors

  • The Hirakawa Group
  • SalesForce
  • First Hawaiian Bank
  • First Insurance Company
  • Island Insurance
  • American Savings Bank
  • Central Pacific Bank
  • Hawaiian Electric Company
  • HouseMart


Conference Schedule 

Tuesday, May 9    
4:00pm   Conference Registration
Main Lobby - Kona side
6:00pm - 8:00pm  

Welcome Reception
Poolside Lawn

Hosted by the State of Hawai'i Department of Business, Education & Tourism,
visiting officials from Japan will be honored

Wednesday, May 10    
7:30am - 9:00am   Breakfast + Business Networking
Ballroom Lanai
9:00am - 9:15am   Welcome

Messages from Irene Hirano Inouye and Governor David Ige 
9:15am - 9:45am   Keynote Speaker 
9:45am - 10:45am    Panel

Business Bridges: Crossing the Pacific to Global Success
The business cultures of Japan, Hawaii and the U.S. mainland are unique.
Books, articles and websites generally discuss major issues relevant to
commercial expansion to new markets, but fail to provide the networking
opportunities, “hands-on” knowledge, or relevant feedback to successfully do
so. This panel will discuss the experiences of business executives who have
generated new commercial affiliations and successfully navigated the complex
path of assessing strategies, selecting the right market entry method, and
coping with the differences of cultural and business etiquette in Japan, Hawaii
and the U.S. mainland. Business and governmental networks and resources
they found helpful will also be highlighted.

10:45am - 11:00am   Morning Break 
11:00am - 12:00pm   


Innovations in Education: Sparking Global Awareness
The recent slowing of cross-border trade has made it even more important to
develop young leaders with an understanding and awareness of global
viewpoints. In this session, panelists will discuss recent educational innovations
and thinking on developing global thinkers from an early age. In particular, we
will look at how advancements in technology can open the doors to enhancing the
classroom experience in both Japan and Hawaii to stimulate interest and
knowledge of each other’s countries, while also increasing the ability to attract
international students.

12:00pm - 12:15pm    Break (walk to Pavilion)  
12:15pm - 1:15pm    Lunch + Networking Activity
Hale Haoloha Pavilion 
1:15pm - 1:45pm    Keynote Speaker 
1:45pm - 2:00pm    Break (walk back to Ballroom) 
2:00pm - 3:00pm   


Tourism 2.0: Strategies to Engage the Next Generation Visitor
Tourism is a major pillar of Japan’s growth strategy and accounts for more than
20% of Hawaii’s economy. Learn more about its importance to Japan and Hawaii
by hearing from leaders pioneering strategies and tools in tourism and branding
to stimulate regional activities and overall economic growth. The panel will also
share gaps in the marketplace, and will reveal anticipated opportunities for
change, innovation, and bilateral cooperation.

3:00pm - 3:15pm    Afternoon Break  
3:15pm - 4:15pm   

Panel - Governors' Panel 

Join Governor Ige and the USJC Governor’s Circle for a discussion about bilateral
relationships between Japan and Hawaii.
Speakers to be confirmed

4:15pm - 5:00pm    Evening Break  
5:00pm - 6:00pm    Cocktail Reception (all participants welcome)
Bay Terrace Restaurant (tentative) 
6:00pm - 8:00pm     Dinner 
Bay Terrace Restaurant (tentative)
Thursday, May 11     
7:30am - 9:00am     Breakfast + Business Networking
Ballroom Lanai 
9:00am - 10:00am   


Food Fortunes: Overcoming Challenges and Building Brands Overseas
With the great interest in agriculture and food from Hawaii and Japan, the
importing and exporting of food between countries is expected to continue. For
Japanese food companies, Hawaii provides a lower risk market to begin global
expansion and for Hawaii-based companies, Japanese consumers’ affinity for
Hawaiian products provides a natural expansion opportunity. This panel will
explore business opportunities and challenges; local sourcing; resource
management; food security and safety; and rules and regulations of the importing
and exporting of foods.

10:00am - 11:00am  


Renewable Energy
How will Hawaii achieve its goal of using 100 percent renewable resources by
2045, and address the upcoming policy and consumer-level changes and impacts
that we can anticipate? How is Japanese technology and adoption in the sector
progressing, and how do their renewable energy goals measure up? Hear from
thought leaders and change agents from both markets.

11:00am - 11:15am    Break 
11:15am - 12:00pm    Board Buses
Drive to Puu Waawaa Ranch 
12:10pm - 12:20pm    Welcome by Henk Rogers
Puu Waawaa Ranch Pavilion   
12:20pm - 2:20pm   

Lunch + Business Networking
Puu Waawaa Ranch Pavilion  

Tour of Energy Lab (Groups of 20, 15 minutes per group)

2:20pm - 3:00pm    Board Buses 
Return to hotel 
3:00pm    Summit Adjourned  


About the U.S.-Japan Council 

The U.S.-Japan Council is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit educational organization that contributes to strengthening U.S.-Japan relations by bringing together diverse leadership, engaging stakeholders and exploring issues that benefit communities, businesses and government entities on both sides of the Pacific. The Council cultivates an international network of members, and collaborates with other organizations and institutions to develop programs that allow members to engage with their counterparts in the United States and Japan. The Council promotes people-to-people relations as crucial to a strong U.S.-Japan relationship. The Council was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Washington, DC with staff in Hawaii, California and Tokyo. In 2012, the U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) was created to support the administration of the TOMODACHI Initiative, and in 2013, it became a Public Interest Corporation (Koeki Zaidan Hojin). The U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) maintains its office in Tokyo, Japan.

About the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism 

DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and
promotes innovation sector job growth.


Registration Fees

  • General Registration: $400.00
  • U.S.-Japan Council Leaders and Friends of the Council: $350.00
  • U.S.-Japan Council Associates: $300.00


Please register using the form below. For more information on the conference, please contact USJC Associate Nate Gyotoku at nategyotoku@gmail.com.


USJC Hawaii Regional Committee