October 17th, 2013
|IN THIS ISSUE|
|Annual Conference Information|
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:
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.”
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.
Check out TOMODACHI's YouTube channel for a new, three-minute video on the origins and goals of the TOMODACHI Initiative.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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