USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye and Chairman of the USJC Board of Councilors Dr. Daniel Okimoto with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during Japan Week 2014
Each year, the U.S.-Japan Council’s leadership and members visit Japan during USJC Japan Week for a series of meetings with Japanese business associations, government and civil society organizations. Over the years, Japanese Americans, who have unique ties with Japan, have become leading figures in society in the United States and have become increasingly interested in playing a role in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations. Throughout the course of USJC Japan Week, the Council arranges meetings that present opportunities for the USJC delegation to share views on current challenges and opportunities in U.S.-Japan relations and to gain insight from their counterparts about the current situation in Japan. Through this people-to-people connection, the USJC delegation is able to deepen their relationship with leaders in Japan and become a voice for Japan in the United States and in the world.
The U.S.-Japan Council Japan Symposium is a biannual symposium held during USJC Japan Week. The Symposium provides a public forum for USJC to present topics, especially reaching a wider audience in Japan. For each Symposium, the U.S.-Japan Council selects timely themes that affect both the United States and Japan.
USJC held its third Japan Week during the last week of May in 2014. Around twenty U.S.-based USJC Members flew to Tokyo to join their counterparts in Japan and attend various events and meetings. The largest event was the USJC-ACCJ Women in Business Summit (see below for details), which was held on May 27 and co-hosted by USJC and the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ).
The USJC Japan Reception, held at Tokyo Shibuya Tofuya-Ukai right by the Tokyo Tower on May 28, was another major event. This evening reception celebrating USJC’s strong network in Japan and the United States welcomed more than 100 guests from both countries. Numerous tofu dishes and other delicacies were served, accompanied by a demonstration on the art of creating tofu and koto performances throughout the night. This launched USJC’s new initiative on culinary diplomacy, connecting guests through conversations and the traditional tastes of Japan.
Other Japan Week events included a Board Dinner; a leadership breakfast; meetings with corporate leaders; get-togethers with Keizai Doyukai, as well as between female Diet Members and women leaders of USJC; a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; and a meeting with the Japan-Hawaii Parliamentary League. Many of these meetings were hosted or strongly supported by USJC members in Japan, as well as their companies and organizations.
Date: Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Venue: ANA InterContinental Hotel
See the recap video here.
One of the main components of USJC Japan Week 2014 was the Women in Business Summit, co-hosted by USJC and the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ). More than 700 attendees and dozens of journalists gathered for this sold-out event.
The day-long Summit kicked off with a star-studded special program featuring Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (see highlights of his remarks here), Ambassador Caroline Kennedy (read her speech here), USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye, ACCJ President Jay Ponazecki, USJC Member and pioneer of the Womenomics movement Kathy Matsui, and four revolutionary women leaders. Ms. Deborah Gillis, President & CEO of Catalyst and herself a Keynote Speaker, presented a special commendation to Prime Minister Abe for making the advancement of women a priority in Japan. (See the Catalyst press release here). Minister of State for Gender Equality Masako Mori also represented the Government of Japan, discussing specific measures and goals. Irene Hirano Inouye and the other speakers emphasized the importance of shifting the mindset of both genders and all generations, in order to instigate change.
Several female USJC Members, each leaders in their fields, also moderated some of the twelve breakout sessions. These sessions talked about various aspects of women in leadership, including leveraging diversity, having role models and returning to work after leaving for family. Three alumnae of the TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership Program attended the Summit, and actively engaged with USJC Members and other leaders throughout the Conference.
Corporate leaders also spoke at the breakout sessions, drawing upon their experience as executives and family members.
For more information on the Summit, read the post-event press release here.