This week, the Honorable Daniel K. Inouye received the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, among the highest honors awarded by the Japanese government. The U.S. Senator (D-HI) and USJC Board of Councilors member was presented with the award on October 3rd by Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, at the Ambassador's Residence in Washington, D.C. Senator Inouye is the seventh American and first foreigner of Japanese descent to be given the honor. The Japanese government issued the Order in recognition of the Senator's contribution to peace and goodwill between the two countries.
On September 7, 2011, the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles, alongside other Japanese organizations, held a public appreciation event – ARIGATO – to express gratitude for Southern Californians’ outpouring of assistance and support in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. The ARIGATO event took place at the JACCC’s Noguchi Plaza.
"A common adage says that tough times reveal true friends. I’m so glad that 3.11 – as the Great East Japan Earthquake has come to be known – has demonstrated that the United States, and especially Southern California, is an exceptional friend of Japan"
- Consul General Junichi Ihara
The portrait of former U.S. Transportation and Commerce Secretary, Norman Mineta, was installed on Monday, July 26th at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. Secretary Mineta served in Congress for over twenty years and was the first Asian Pacific American to hold a presidential cabinet post. Currently, Secretary Mineta is President & CEO of Mineta & Associates, LLC in Washington, DC. He is also on the Board of Councilors for the U.S.-Japan Council. Earlier this month, he spoke at a luncheon co-hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S.-Japan Council. Congratulations to Secretary Mineta as he celebrates the installation of his portrait.
Hawaii-born Wally Yonamine passed away at the age of 85 on Monday. During his sporting career he was the first Asian American to play in the NFL and was the first American to play professional baseball in Japan after World War II. "Most people remember him for his accomplishments on the diamond, but our family, we have a great deal of respect for him for what he's done off the diamond," said his son and USJC Board Member Paul Yonamine. Communities on both sides of the Pacific are honoring him this week. Read more about Wally Yonamine in Rafu Shimpo.
The U.S.-Japan Council congratulates Mr. Peter Rouse on his recent appointment to White House Chief of Staff. He is the first Asian-American to hold the position. USJC is pleased to see an American with Japanese ancestry serve at the highest level of the executive branch.
To read more about Mr. Rouse click here.
On January 5th, 2011 Senator Daniel K. Inouye was sworn in for his ninth term in the U.S. Senate. Vice President Joe Biden administered the oath of office. Senator Inouye, who serves on the U.S.-Japan Council Board of Councilors, will retain his position as the longest serving Senate incumbent. Hawaii News Now carried the story and provided the Senator's reflections,
"As I begin my ninth term, I'm reminded of how excited I was in 1963, when the people of Hawaii first entrusted me with the responsibility of representing them in the United States Senate. That excitement and anticipation is still alive, however, this is also a moment of reflection and memories."
Fellow Japanese American, Representative Colleen Hanabusa was also sworn in and Representative Mazie Hirono began serving in her second term.
Dr. Paul Terasaki, who is on the U.S.-Japan Council Board of Councilors, made history with his $50 million donation to the UCLA College of Letters and Science. UCLA recognized the generous donation by naming a new, state of the art facility, the Terasaki Life Sciences Building.
Mr. Roy Yamaguchi was recently named a Board of Director for the New Corporation for Travel Promotion, a newly formed non-profit organization that promotes tourism to the United States. Mr. Yamaguchi currently serves on the U.S.-Japan Council Board of Councilors with Senator Daniel K. Inouye. Senator Inouye is very supportive of Mr. Yamaguchi's recent appointment: “I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to Roy Yamaguchi on his confirmation as a member of the Board of Directors for the Corporation for Travel Promotion. I know him personally and I can say without hesitation that he will fulfill his responsibilities with great distinction. Roy took his love of local food and blended it with the best of the Asia-Pacific Rim to create a Hawaiian fusion cuisine that has inspired a following in the 33 U.S. cities that are home to his restaurants."
Mr. Dennis Yoshita Teranishi has received the Foreign Minister's Commendation for 2010 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Teranishi, who currently serves on the USJC Board of Councilors, was presented with the award on August 11th. Each year the award is given to individuals who have made significant contributions to promoting understanding and cooperation between Japan and foreign countries. Mr. Teranishi is currently the Vice-Chairman and CEO of Hawaiian Host, Inc. and Vice-Chairman of the Pacific International Center of High Technology Research (PICHTR).