Top U.S. & Japan Leaders See Diverse Methods of Collaboration In Future of U.S.-Japan Partnership


U.S.-Japan Council’s Sixth Annual Conference Successfully held in Tokyo for the First Time

Tokyo [November 13, 2015] – On November 9 and 10, the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC) hosted its sixth Annual Conference, themed “Beyond 2020 Vision: Going Global with the U.S.-Japan Partnership.” Approximately 850 American and Japanese leaders from all sectors convened in Tokyo, Japan to discuss the value of working across sectors and generations to envision, promote and develop a more vibrant and dynamic U.S.-Japan relationship. This was USJC’s first Annual Conference in Japan, and its biggest yet, with speakers bringing their expertise in business, government, civil society, art and more to discuss innovative ways the two nations can collaborate.


(L-R) Mr. Dennis Teranishi, Chairman of the Board, USJC; Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye, President of USJC;
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; Mr. Ernest Higa, Chair of the USJC(J) Board of Directors


His Excellency Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, offered congratulatory remarks and said, “There can be no doubt that the establishment of our robust Japan-U.S. Alliance and its development to date owe much to the enormous contributions of many people in a variety of positions from both our countries, including everyone here today, as well as your work to promote mutual exchanges.” He was joined by five Keynote Speakers from the public and private sectors of both countries: Hon. Anthony Foxx, U.S. Secretary of Transportation; Mr. Nobuyuki Hirano, President & Group CEO, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.; Ms. Sandra E. Peterson, Group Worldwide Chairman, Johnson & Johnson; Dr. Koji Murofushi, Sports Director, The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games; and Dr. Gill Pratt, Executive Technical Adviser, Toyota Motor Corporation and CEO, Toyota Research Institute, Inc. Each spoke about the future of U.S.-Japan collaboration leading up to and after 2020—a key year for Japan—including strengthening diplomacy, economic relations, medical innovation, partnerships in transportation and technology, youth exchange and more.

Of particular importance to this Conference was the role of Japanese Americans in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations. The plenary program titled “The Japanese American Experience: From Internment to Leadership, A Seventy-Year Journey” highlighted the contributions of Japanese Americans with a special address by Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, former Secretary of Transportation and Commerce—who was interned as a boy—followed by a panel discussion of entrepreneurs that included Hollywood actor Mr. Masi Oka. The Conference also celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program, an annual program sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that brings select Japanese American leaders to Japan. “The Japanese American identity has expanded across generations, backgrounds and interests, which means we have even more ways to strengthen our bilateral relations,” said USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye, who has been leading diverse JALD delegates to Japan since the beginning of the program.

Also part of the Conference was a reception centered on the TOMODACHI Initiative, a public-private partnership led by USJC and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo that aims to foster the next generation of leaders in U.S.-Japan relations. “I am grateful to the many corporate and institutional partners who support the TOMODACHI initiative. Through innovative exchange programs, TOMODACHI is creating the leaders of tomorrow who will ensure the U.S.-Japan relationship remains strong,” said Ambassador Caroline Kennedy. (For more information, please see the press release, “TOMODACHI Initiative Announces New Partnerships, Strengthening the Investment in the Next Generation of Japanese and American Leaders”)

Other prominent individuals who spoke at the Conference included Ms. Kathy Matsui, Vice-Chair, Goldman Sachs Japan Co., Ltd.; Mr. Takeshi Niinami, President, CEO, and Representative Director, Suntory Holdings Limited; Amb. John V. Roos, Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan; Mr. So Taguchi, Baseball Commentator; Mr. Futoshi Toba, Mayor of Rikuzentakata; Mr. Tadashi Yanai, Chairman, President, CEO of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd.; and four governors from both countries.

Panel discussions such as “Silicon Valley & Japan: Building a ‘Kakehashi’ Bridge” and “Next Steps for Women's Leadership in Japan,” an offsite excursion program with Japanese entrepreneurs, and intimate dinners at local restaurants that celebrated the culinary diversity of Tokyo were among other highlights of the Conference. For a full schedule of the Conference, please see:

More photos of the 2015 USJC Annual Conference are available here:

About the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC)
The U.S.-Japan Council is a Japanese American-led organization fully dedicated to strengthening ties between the United States and Japan in a global context. By promoting people-to-people relationships through its innovative programs in networking and leadership, the Council serves as a catalyst to inspire and engage Japanese and Americans of all generations. The Council was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Washington, DC with staff in California and Tokyo. In 2012, the U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) was created to support the administration of the TOMODACHI Initiative, and in 2013, it became a Public Interest Corporation (Koeki Zaidan Hojin). The U.S.-Japan Council (Japan) maintains an office in Tokyo, Japan.