The ten delegates of the 2016 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program returned home on March 12 after a full week of meetings, discussions and networking opportunities with Japanese leaders. The purpose of the program is to build people-to-people relationships with Japanese leaders from various sectors of society in order to strengthen and diversify U.S.-Japan relations.
The delegates enjoyed many fruitful discussions over meals
This year's delegation visited Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture. The delegates participated in a symposium titled “Toward a Secure Society: Challenges in Diversity and Inclusion” (see the flier for more information), co-sponsored by USJC and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP), with support from Kobe Shimbun, the U.S. Consulate General in Osaka-Kobe, the Hyogo Prefectural Government, the Kobe City Government and the Hyogo International Association. It was very well received, with over 120 individuals in attendance, including the Kobe Vice Mayor and the Hyogo Prefecture Vice Governor. The group also toured the Shu-Shin-Kan Sake Brewery, as well as the Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster.
The Symposium in Kobe featured (from left) Bruce Hollywood, Bruce Harrell and Kiyo Matsumoto
In Tokyo, the group met with Prime Minister Abe, with whom they discussed the strong relationship between Japanese Americans and Japan, the fifth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and more. Irene Hirano Inouye thanked the Prime Minister for his speech at the 2015 USJC Annual Conference and said that USJC will continue to support Tohoku through TOMODACHI. (More information is available in the press release by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Japanese) and a video of the discussion).
The delegates met with the Prime Minister (center, left side) in Tokyo
The delegates also met with many other individuals and organizations, including HIH Princess Takamado, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), Forum 21, Ambassador Masaharu Kohno, Japan Foundation CGP, the U.S. Embassy, Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Yohei Kono, Representative Taro Kono, the Japan-U.S. Parliamentary Federation and other Diet members.
USJC Board Members Scott Sato, Ernest M. Higa, Paul Yonamine, as well as Council Leader Janelle Sasaki, shared their experience as Japanese Americans living and working in Japan with the delegation.
The delegates with USJC members Scott Sato, Ernie Higa, Janelle Sasaki and Paul Yonamine (all seated in front row)
The JALD program is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and organized by USJC.