October 17, 2013 Newsletter

U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter

October 17th, 2013

Annual Conference Information


Regional Event Report


U.S. & Japan in the News

2013 Annual Conference Recap

The 2013 USJC Annual Conference, held in Washington, DC from October 3-4, was a resounding success. With approximately 400 attendees, this 4th Annual Conference was our largest event yet. Themed “Risk, Reward and Innovation: Opportunities for the U.S. and Japan,” it convened top U.S. and Japanese leaders who discussed the long-term benefits of taking risks and innovative courses of action, as well as the significance of synergy among the business, government and civil society sectors.

The Conference overcame the challenge posed by the government shutdown, though the Opening Reception, scheduled to be held on Capitol Hill on October 3, was unfortunately canceled. The Evening Networking Reception later that night was extended to accommodate almost two hundred guests, including Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI).

The Conference featured four Keynote Speakers from the public and private sectors of the U.S. and Japan:

  • John Strangfeld, Chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc., discussed Prudential’s journey to establish a distinctive presence in Japan.
  • Hiroaki Nakanishi, President of Hitachi, Ltd., discussed U.S.-Japan industrial cooperation in the fields of energy and the environment.
  • Deputy Secretary of State William Burns spoke about the future of U.S.-Japan relations.
  • Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine & Director, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), Kyoto University, discussed how cooperation between the two countries would help advance the medical field.

One of the highlights was the line-up of prominent Japanese Americans as featured speakers throughout the program. These included Kristi Yamaguchi, founder of the Always Dream Foundation, champion figure skater and winner of “Dancing with the Stars”; international concert violinist Ryu Goto; and Roy Yamaguchi, Chef & Founder of Roy’s.

The many dimensions of the U.S.-Japan relationship were reflected in the Conference’s ten panel discussions. Topics included “U.S.-Japan Bilateral Relations: New Opportunities,” “Japan’s Presence and Influence in DC” and “Global Citizenship and Preparing Our Youth for Tomorrow.”

Annual Conference Survey Available Now!

As the U.S.-Japan Council strives to improve its events every year, we always appreciate feedback from our attendees. Conference participants are encouraged to fill out a brief survey. All answers will be anonymous.

Take the survey

Multimedia Links:

See videos of the Conference on our YouTube channel (will be continuously updated as more videos become available)

See photos on our Flickr site (the link will be continuously updated as more photos become available)

Read the transcript of the Keynote Speech by Deputy Secretary Burns



New TOMODACHI Video Available

Check out TOMODACHI's YouTube channel for a new, three-minute video on the origins and goals of the TOMODACHI Initiative.

2013 TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program Japanese Delegates Visit the U.S.

On October 12th, The TOMODACHI MUFG 2013 International Exchange Program was featured on Japan's BS-TBS in a forty five-minute profile. This program sent high school students from Southern California to Japan for a two-week people-to-people exchange and learning program.

For more about the exchange program, visit the TOMODACHI page here. To view the television program (Japanese only), visit MUFG's site here.

TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program Featured During USJC Conference

The TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) brought young Japanese American professionals to the USJC Annual Conference for leadership training, conference participation, and meetings with prominent Japanese Americans leaders. The program is in its fouth year and continues to build a diverse group of successful alumni who think globally, assume greater leadership roles in society and are enthusiastic about sustaining a strong partnership between the United States and Japan.

Visit our Flickr page to see photos of ELP participants!

For more info about these TOMODACHI programs and others, visit the TOMODACHI website and be sure to subscribe to the monthly TOMODACHI newsletter.


Regional Event

The U.S.-Japan Relationship in Energy Security and Policy

On September 25, USJC and Asia Society Texas held a collaborative event in Houston. Special thanks to USJC Associate Members Kei Ashizawa and Ginger Vaughn for providing this report.

The energy outlook in the United States and Japan has shifted dramatically almost overnight.  While Japan is still recovering from the March 2011 disaster and Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, which has left the nation reexamining its energy needs, the U.S. shale gas boom over the past decade has increased the role of natural gas. Houston, Texas is known as “the energy capital of the world,” and as USJC ELPs based in Houston, we saw an opportunity to bring insight, opportunities and dialogue regarding Japan’s current energy landscape to American and Japanese energy companies. The event featured Jeffrey Miller, director of the U.S. Department of Energy Japan Office at the U.S. Embassy Tokyo.

The event was held at the Asia Society Texas. USJC board member Donna Fujimoto Cole emceed the event, which included a welcome speech by Takahiko Watabe, Acting Consulate General of Japan in Houston. “Japan sees North America and specifically the U.S. as a serious source of gas in the future,” Miller said. “As much as 20 percent of Japan’s Liquid Natural Gas imports Japan would like to come from North America.”  Miller then responded to dozens of questions during a Q & A session.



USJC President Receives Global Ambassador Award

On September 26, U.S.-Japan Council President Irene Hirano Inouye was presented with the Global Ambassador Award by the University of Southern California's Price School of Public Policy (USC Price), during the school's annual Awards Gala. The award recognizes an individual who best represents the mission and expertise of USC Price in a global setting. Hirano Inouye, who earned a B.A. and an M.A. in public administration from USC Price, was introduced by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

“It’s especially a pleasure to be acknowledged with the [Global] Ambassador’s Award as my work now with the U.S.-Japan Council is focused on building global relationships, especially between the United States and Japan,” Hirano Inouye said. “It’s critically important that we find ways to encourage young people to see themselves as both citizens and as individuals who can make a difference in the world.”

For more information and photos, see USC Price's coverage here and visit Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas' website here.

October 21: Welcome Reception for Professor Teranishi as Chu Endowed Chair at UCLA

The UCLA Asian American Studies Center (AASC), the Graduate School of Education & Information Sciences (GSE&IS), and the Institute of American Cultures (IAC) will welcome Professor Robert Teranishi to UCLA as the new Morgan & Helen Chu Endowed Chair in Asian American Studies on Monday, Oct. 21, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Sequoia Room of the UCLA Faculty Center.

Following congratulatory remarks and acknowledgements, Teranishi will present a short lecture, followed by Q&A. His topic will be “Education Policy in the Context of the Changing Face of America: The Relevance of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community.”

U.S. & Japan in the News

Featured Stories:
In Depth - Parliamentary Democracy in Japan, Nippon.com

New Commander Harry Harris Takes Over Pacific Fleet, Honolulu Star Advertiser

Senate Confirms Caroline Kennedy as U.S. Ambassador
Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2013
Exchange student who gave life hailed
Japan Times, October 17, 2013
Japan Awaiting UNESCO Heritage Status Decision on its Food
The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2013
Toyota Shows Off Autopilot Tech System
Japan Times, October 11, 2013
Don’t Sell Out Japan in TPP Talks
Japan Times, October 10, 2013
As Debt Deadline Nears, Japan Nervously Sticks With Treasurys
The Wall Street Journal, October 09, 2013
U.S. Warned by Japanese Over Perils of a Default
The New York Times, October 08, 2013
The Economist, October 05, 2013