Congressman Mark Takano, Consul General Jun Niimi and Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi
On February 21st, USJC organized its first Southern California regional program for 2013 at the official residence of Consul General Jun Niimi, who hosted a dinner and a program titled “Political Change in Japan and the United States.” There were 32 Council Members in attendance, led by USJC Chairman Thomas Iino and Board of Councilors Member Paul Terasaki. Council Members were joined by 12 executives from the Japan Business Association of Southern California, led by President Yoshi Masuda and Ms. Yuko Kaifu.
Council Member and JALD alum Frank Buckley served as the emcee for the program that featured remarks by Consul General Jun Niimi, Congressman Mark Takano and Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi. Consul General Niimi acknowledged the loss of Senator Daniel K. Inouye and the recent passing of Mr. George Aratani. Both served on the U.S.-Japan Council Board of Councilors.
The event highlighted and celebrated 2012 as a historic year for Japanese Americans in Southern California, with the election of Mark Takano to Congress and Al Muratsuchi to the State Assembly. With Council Member and JALD alum Terry Hara running for the Los Angeles City Council, there is an additional opportunity to elect another Japanese American official.
Congressman Mark Takano described his family history and his travels to Japan to visit the prefectures of origin for his mother and father. He indicated that he is personally committed to working towards positive U.S.-Japan relations.
Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi described a recent event with Governor Jerry Brown in which he expressed his desire for the state to re-open a trade office in Tokyo. Currently, the Governor is planning to open one in Shanghai. He also expressed his continued desire to foster stronger ties between California and Japan.
USJC Vice Chair Henry Ota made remarks stressing the importance of regional programs as a means to engage members. He also encouraged all to join the Council in Tokyo in May for USJC Japan Week 2013.
Special thanks to Consul General Jun Niimi and his colleagues as well as representatives from the Japan Business Association of Southern California for making the event meaningful and engaging.