Paul Yonamine Named IBM Japan Chief

Great news to start a good year: USJC Board of Directors Member Paul Yonamine has been named President of IBM Japan (Read here)!

For a more detailed profile on Paul and his career so far, check out this Nikkei Shimbunarticle in Japanese.

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USJC MEMBERS PROFILED BY NIKKEI BUSINESS

In late 2013, U.S.-Japan Council Board Members and Council Members were featured in a Nikkei Business Publications profile of prominent Japanese Americans entitled Japanese-Americans: Personal Networks Across the Pacific.

USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye and Board of Directors Members Gary Moriwaki and Susan Onuma received profiles, as well as Board of Councilors Members Norman Y. Mineta, Hiromitsu Ogawa, Daniel Okimoto, Masaaki Tanaka, Paul Terasaki, the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye and Council Members James Higa and Yosuke Honjo. While originally published for the Nikkei Business magazine, features are posted in English and available online at http://business.nikkeibp.co.jp/article/eng/20131125/256265/. The U.S.-Japan Council is composed of Japanese American leaders dedicated to the U.S.-Japan relationships across all sectors of society. We are proud of the recognition our Members received as leaders in their communities.

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Senator Inouye Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

On November 20, the late Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. On behalf of the Senator, USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye accepted the award from President Obama at a ceremony at the White House.

President Obama said during the ceremony that he himself had been inspired by the late Senator: "As the second-longest serving senator in American history, he showed a generation of young people--including one kid with a funny name growing up in Hawaii who noticed that there was somebody during some of those hearings in Washington that didn't look like everybody else, which meant maybe I had a chance to do something important, too." President Obama continued, "He taught all of us that no matter what you look like or where you come from, this country has a place for everybody who’s willing to serve and work hard," touching upon the Japanese American legacy that the Senator carried.

Established by President John F. Kennedy, the Medal of Freedom has been presented to more than 500 individuals so far who have made especially “meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

The 15 other recipients of the 2013 award included former President Bill Clinton, journalist Ben Bradlee, singer Loretta Lynn and media mogul Oprah Winfrey. See the White House blog post and President Obama's remarks for further details.

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Ed Shikada Appointed City Manager of San Jose

On November 5, 2013, USJC Member Ed Shikada was named the next City Manager of San Jose, CA. Shikada, who had been serving as San Jose's Assistant City Manager, will take his new position on December 21. He will oversee nearly 5,700 city employees serving a population of almost one million residents. Shikada has been involved in numerous Council activities, including the Clean Technology Working Group. For more information about the announcement, see the San Jose Mercury News story here.

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Willim Tsutsui Named Next President of Hendrix College

USJC Council Member William Tsutsui has been announced as the next President of Hendrix College in Arkansas. Dr. Tsutsui is currently serving as Dean of the Dedman College of Arts and Sciences at Southern Methodist University and has been a leader of the Council's Education Working Group. Read more here.

 

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Amb. Thomas Schieffer Receives Honor from Japanese Government

On November 3, 2013, U.S.-Japan Council Board of Councillors Member Thomas Schieffer was announced as one of 49 non-Japanese individuals to be honored by the Japanese government this fall. Schieffer, who served as United States Ambassador to Japan from 2005 to 2009, will be presented with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun for "contributing to promoting friendly relations and mutual understanding between Japan and the United States," according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For more information, see the full list of foreign honorees here.

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Frederick H. Katayama wins Journalism award for piece on baseball

In August 2013, USJC Board of Directors Member Frederick H. Katayama won the 2013 Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) National Journalism Award in the Unlimited Subject Matter Television category for his Reuters TV piece "The Knuckleball: The science behind why it's so damn hard to hit." The piece explores the physics of the knuckleball, profiling Major League Baseball pitcher R.A. Dickey. 

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USJC Council Member Nominated to Commerce Department Post

On July 10, President Barack Obama nominated USJC Member Margaret Cummisky, a former aide to the late Hawaii Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, to serve as assistant secretary for legislative and intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Cummisky had worked for Senator Inouye for over 15 years before joining the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

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Atsuko Fish Honored as a Champion of Change by White House

On May 6th, 2013, Council Member Atsuko Fish was recognized as one of the annual Champions of Change as a part of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. In a ceremony at the White House, Ms. Fish was joined by 14 other honorees, including fellow Japanese American leaders Natalie Nakase and Karen Suyemoto. These women were pointed to as "wonderful examples for young women across the country," by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls.

See the story from The Japan Times.

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Thomas Iino Awarded Order of the Rising Sun by Japanese Government

In April 2013, USJC Chairman of the Board Thomas Iino was announced as a recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon. The Government of Japan bestowed upon him this honor for his contributions to strengthening the economic relationship between the U.S. and Japan and for promoting cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the two countries.

The Order of the Rising Sun was established in 1875 as the first national decoration awarded by the Japanese Government. The modern version of this honor has been conferred on non-Japanese recipients beginning in 1981. The awarding of the Order is administered by the Decoration Bureau of the Office of the Prime Minister and is bestowed in the name of the Emperor.

"I am humbled by this recognition from the Government of Japan. I have committed a large part of my life (substantially voluntarily) to assisting the relationship-building process between the U.S. and Japan because it is the right thing to do. Helping lead the U.S.-Japan Council’s mandate to advance this strategy has been a labor of love from the beginning," said Mr. Iino upon hearing the news.

The Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles featured the following description about Mr. Iino's U.S.-Japan Council and TOMODACHI contributions:

"He has been a driving force in the U.S.-Japan Council since its founding and currently serving as the Chair of the Board. He has contributed greatly to developing the Japanese American community and people-to-people relationships with Japan through focused programs such as the Japanese American Leadership Delegation and programs addressing commercial, diplomatic and educational exchanges between the two countries. Additionally through the leadership of Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye, Ambassador John Roos and Mr. Iino himself, in 2012 the U.S.-Japan Council established the TOMODACHI Initiative, which aims to support Japan’s recovery after the Great East Japan Earthquake, strengthen long term Japan-U.S. cultural and economic ties and deepen the bilateral friendship. TOMODACHI focuses on investing in future generations and coordinates a variety of exchange programs between Japan and the United States."

More information from Rafu Shimpo here.

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