2014 USJC Annual Conference

(Back Row L-R) Mr. Dennis Teranishi, Vice Chair of the USJC Board of Directors; Ms. Lori Matsukawa, USJC Council Member; Ms. Yoshiko Iijima, wife of Mr. Iijima; Ms. Phyllis Campbell, Member of the USJC Board of Directors; Ms. Bruni Bradley, wife of Admiral Harris; Mr. Glen Fukushima, Member of the USJC Board of Councilors; (Front Row L-R) Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye, USJC President; Keynote Speaker Mr. Masami Iijima; Keynote Speaker Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr.; Keynote Speaker Ms. Marillyn A. Hewson; Mr. Tom Iino, Chairman of the USJC Board of Directors

U.S.-Japan Connections: Contributing to Growth, Security and Sustainability

October 9th-11th, 2014
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
Mid-Pacific Conference Center
2005 Kalia Rd.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815 


USJC highlighted Hawaii’s unique value to Japanese and U.S. mainland businesses, including industries such as tourism and hospitality, clean energy and technology, culinary and more. Over 500 attendees from throughout the United States and Japan attended and exhibited the innovation and entrepreneurship that can take place through international collaboration. USJC has an active membership in Hawaii, and though it has held many events in Honolulu, 2014 marked the first Annual Conference held in Hawaii. The Conference showcased Hawaii leaders in breakout sessions and round table exchanges, and connected local individuals with visitors from across the country or abroad.

The 2014 USJC Annual Conference was made possible by our generous sponsors. To learn about sponsorship opportunities for future Annual Conferences and other USJC events, please contact Development Director Georgette Furukawa-Martinez at gfurukawa-martinez[at]usjapancouncil.org.

Keynote Speakers

The 2014 Annual Conference featured three Keynote Speakers:

 Mr. Masami Iijima, President and CEO, Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

Click here to read the summary of Admiral Harris’s speech.

Click here to read the full text of Ms. Hewson’s speech (a summary is also available here).

Click here to read the full text of Mr. Iijima’s speech (a summary is also available here).

Click here to see more photos from the Opening Plenary session on Friday, Oct. 10, including the Keynote Speakers.

Other Highlights

Here are the highlights of the public symposium on Friday, Oct. 10:

Opening Plenary

The Opening Plenary featured the three Keynote Speakers above. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan also sent in congratulatory remarks (read by Mr. Hiroyasu Izumi, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Japan), and U.S. Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz also spoke to the audience via a video message. Council Member Lori Matsukawa emceed the Opening Plenary session.Click here to see photos from the Opening Plenary.

Award Ceremony (Luncheon Plenary)

For the Luncheon Plenary of the Annual Conference, USJC presented the inaugural USJC Lifetime Achievement Awards in Advancing U.S.-Japan Relations. The awards honor individuals who have dedicated their lives to advancing U.S.-Japan relations, supporting the engagement of Japanese Americans and furthering the mission of the U.S.-Japan Council. The 2014 award recipients were:

Dr. Paul Terasaki, Chairman, Terasaki Foundation
Gov. George Ariyoshi, Former Governor, State of Hawaii
Ambassador Ryozo Kato, Former Ambassador of Japan to the United States

Click here to read a summary of the award ceremony for Ambassador Kato.

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy (U.S. Ambassador to Japan) and Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae (Japanese Ambassador to the U.S.) also sent video messages for the audience. Member of the USJC Board of Directors Fred Katayama emceed the Luncheon Plenary.

Click here to see more photos from the Luncheon Plenary.

A Discussion with “Game Changers” (Closing Plenary)

For the Closing Plenary, USJC welcomed: 

  • Mr. James Higa, Executive Director, Philanthropic Ventures Foundation & Mentor in Residence, Index Ventures
  • Mr. Duane Kurisu, Chairman, aio Group
  • Ms. Anne Namba, Anne Namba Designs
  • Mr. George Takei, Actor, Hosato Enterprise, Inc.

USJC was honored to welcome these “Game Changers”–Japanese Americans who are pioneers of their respective fields! Member of the USJC Board of Directors Jan Yanehiro moderated this session.

Click here to see more photos from the Closing Plenary.

Culinary Festival (Closing Reception)

The public portion of the USJC Annual Conference concluded with a wonderful Culinary Festival featuring twelve premier chefs from Hawaii and Japan. With Hawaii chefs (like Member Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s Restaurant) advising the Japanese chefs and vice versa, each individual created the best dish that appeals to both Japanese and American people. Local ingredients, including taro, Hawaiian abalone, pineapple and island pork were used. This was part of USJC’s culinary diplomacy initiative, which aims to promote cross-cultural dialogue and understanding through sharing meals. A huge thanks to Council Member Stephen Kagawa for organizing this mega-scale event!

Timeline of Events

Optional Local Interest Tours and Airport Transfers (offered any day): //www.robertshawaii.com/usjc/

Wednesday, October 8 – Pre-Conference Programming
Neighbor Island Visit: Maui (Theme: Clean Energy & Technology)
All-day trip. Agenda available here .

Thursday, October 9 – Opening Day (at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, unless noted otherwise)

9:00am – Annual Conference Registration
3:30pm – Council Member Briefing & Orientation
5:30pm – Opening Reception (The Royal Hawaiian Hotel – The Monarch Room)
9:00pm – Evening Cocktails & Networking

By invitation only:
10:00am – Waialae Golf Outing
10:30am – Emerging Leaders Program Orientation

12:00pm – Emerging Leaders Alumni Meeting
1:30pm – Board of Directors Meeting
3:30pm – Japanese & Japanese American Business Network Meeting
7:00pm – Sponsors Dinner (Halekulani)
7:30pm – Members Dinners (various restaurants in Waikiki)
8:00pm – Emerging Leaders Program Dinner

Friday, October 10 – Annual Conference Public Symposium (all-day, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village)

7:00am – Registration Opens & Breakfast
8:30am – Opening Plenary & Keynote Session
10:30am – Breakout Session 1

     Panel Discussions: 
          Capitalizing on Business Opportunities Abroad
          Diversity & Inclusion in the Global Marketplace
          Economic Development through Tourism & Events
          Serving Up Culinary Diplomacy through Collaboration
     Roundtable Discussions:
          Developing Cross-Cultural Leaders
          New Models of Urban Revitalization & Sustainability

12:30pm – Luncheon Plenary & Award Ceremony
2:30pm – Breakout Session 2

     Panel Discussions: 
          Entrepreneurial Thinking for Business Success
          Insights into the U.S.-Japan Security Relationship
          Principles for Clean Energy Investments
          The Making of the TOMODACHI Generation
     Roundtable Discussions: 
          Partnerships for Effective Disaster Management
          U.S.-Japan-Korea Partnership through Exchanges

4:30pm – Closing Plenary Session – A Conversation with Japanese American “Game Changers”
6:00pm – Closing Reception – Celebrating Connections: A U.S.-Japan Culinary Festival, featuring premier chefs from Hawaii & Japan

Saturday, October 11 – Annual Members Meeting (at the Hawaii Convention Center, unless noted otherwise)

8:00am – Documentary Screening & Discussion (Stories from Tohoku)
9:30am – Members Day General Session
10:45am – Regional Programming Sessions
11:45am – Professional & Interest Networking Session
12:15pm – Luncheon Session
1:20pm – Honouliuli Video Presentation & Preparation for Departure
2:00pm – Honouliuli Walking Tour (offsite – space limited, separate registration required)
6:30pm – Members Day Closing Reception (Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu)

By invitation only:
7:45am – Joint Board Meeting

Breakout Sessions

There were twelve breakout sessions at the 2014 Annual Conference: eight panel discussions and four roundtable discussions. Details are as follows: 

Panel Discussions

Capitalizing on Business Opportunities Abroad

This session explored corporate growth strategies between Japan and the United States in the context of government actions to encourage international expansion. Speakers discussed how Japanese companies with large overseas operations are capitalizing on growth opportunities and new ways to globalize their businesses. Special attention was given to steps that the Abe administration is taking to stimulate economic growth and enable international expansion. The role of Hawaii as a “test bed” for adapting business models for success in the U.S. was also discussed. (Click here for a detailed summary of the session.)


  • Mr. Tab Bowers, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Business Development, American Savings Bank (moderator)
  • Mr. Norihiko Ishiguro, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan
  • Mr. Richard Lim, Director of the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, State of Hawaii (DBEDT)
  • Ms. Kathy Matsui, Chief Japan Equity Strategist, Co-Head of Macro Research Asia, Goldman Sachs
  • Mr. Masaaki Tanaka, Deputy President, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.

Diversity & Inclusion in the Global Marketplace

Diversity & Inclusion addressed untapped business opportunities and unmet societal challenges.  The goal of this session was to explore practical solutions on how both the Japanese and Japanese American experiences can help bridge the D&I gap in Japan.  There were four global inclusion leaders from Japan and the U.S. sharing best D&I practices from both sides of the Pacific.  To function in our global marketplace and communities, it’s imperative to have a diverse and inclusive lens.  Many conference attendees attended this engaging discussion on this timely topic. 

(Click here for a detailed summary of the session.)


  • Ms. Janelle Sasaki, Executive Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Ernst & Young Advisory Co., Ltd. Japan (moderator) 
  • Ms. Phyllis J. Campbell, Chairman, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Pacific Northwest
  • Ms. Makiko Fukui, President, Harmony Residence, Inc. 
  • Mr. Yuta Hasumi, Manager for Diversity & Inclusion, AIG Japan
  • Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks, Professor, Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, Loyola Marymount University

Economic Development through Tourism & Events

This session looked at successful tourism markets and how to promote international accessibility, including the impact on community and economic development. Case studies were presented from Japan, Hawaii and mainland United States on the development of major conferences with events of international participation. (Click here for a detailed summary of the session.)


  • Mr. Dave Erdman, President and CEO, PacRim Marketing Group, Inc. (moderator)
  • Mr. Randall Tanaka, President and CEO, The First Step
  • Mr. Jay Gray, Vice President of Global Market Development, Brand USA
  • Mr. Tsukasa Harufuku, President and CEO, JTB Hawaii, Inc.
  • Mr. Eric Takahata, Managing Director, Hawaii Tourism Authority 
  • Ms. Yumi Yamaguchi, Vice Commissioner, Japan Tourism Agency, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Japan (introduction)

Entrepreneurial Thinking for Business Success

This session focused on the need in both the United States and Japan for entrepreneurial thinking in our cultures in order to remain vibrant economies with bright futures. Discussion areas included identifying where innovation and entrepreneurship are flourishing, capitalizing on these opportunities and how it all integrates into a strategic plan for local economies and individual companies. (Click here for a detailed summary of the session.)


  • Ms. Susan Yamada, Executive Director, Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship, University of Hawaii at Manoa (moderator)
  • Mr. Warren Haruki, CEO – Grove Farm and Maui Land & Pineapple Co.
  • Ms. Merle Aiko Okawara, Chairman, JC Comsa Corp.
  • Amb. John V. Roos, Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan & CEO, The Roos Group

Insights into the U.S.-Japan Security Relationship

This session explored the U.S.-Japan security relationship through senior U.S. and Japanese political, military and diplomatic perspectives in an attempt to explore both areas of overlap and divergence. Topics included both “hard power” elements such as the role of the alliance in maintaining regional stability, and “soft power” dimensions such as political and civil society engagement. Panelists examined the U.S. “rebalance” to Asia and the role of the U.S.-Japan alliance within that framework, as well as the impact of changes implemented by the Abe administration. (Click here for a detailed summary of the session.)


  • Mr. Torkel Patterson, Vice Chairman, International High Speed Rail Association (moderator)
  • Mr. Naoyuki Agawa, Professor, Keio University (invited)
  • Major General Michael B. Compton, Air National Guard Assistant to Commander, Pacific Air Forces
  • Hon. Tulsi Gabbard, United States House of Representatives (D-HI2) and Member, House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committee

The Making of the TOMODACHI Generation

A recent McKinsey & Co. strategic review of the TOMODACHI Initiative showcased the effectiveness of TOMODACHI’s diverse programs in providing support along the continuum of becoming a cross-cultural leader. From exposure to inspiration through learning to leadership development, the TOMODACHI Initiative has given opportunities to young people in the United States and Japan across the full spectrum. This session showcased members of the TOMODACHI Generation at different stages of development. They shared their personal journeys, and highlighted the diversity of programs in TOMODACHI while demonstrating its transformative impact. (Click here for a detailed summary of the session.)


  • Mr. Todd Guild, Senior Director, McKinsey & Company, Inc. (moderator)
  • Ms. Aki Marceau, Land Use and Sustainability Manager, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program, 2014)
  • Mr. Casey T. Miyashiro, Junior, University of Hawaii (TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program, University of Hawaii, 2014)
  • Mr. David Nakanishi, Freshman, University of Hawaii (TOMODACHI-Rainbow Program, 2014)
  • Ms. Ayaka Ogita, Junior, Tohoku University (TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholars Program, 2014)
  • Ms. Chihiro Saito, Program Officer, Good Neighbors Japan (TOMODACHI NGO Leadership Program supported by J.P. Morgan, 2014)

Principles for Clean Energy Investments

This session examined the implementation factors for clean energy initiatives and provided guiding principles for energy initiatives in the areas of project economics, energy technology and political/strategic communications considerations. While energy projects are heavily impacted by local conditions and environment, common considerations including return on investment analysis, selection of energy technologies for efficiencies, and brown energy reduction all impact project decision-making and may require community engagement. Speakers with diverse backgrounds presented case studies from Japan, Hawaii and the U.S. mainland about tradeoff decisions in cost, timing, technologies and other considerations. (Click here for a detailed summary of the session.)


  • Ms. Dawn Lippert, Director, Energy Excelerator, Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR) (moderator)
  • RADM David M. Boone, USN (Ret.), Vice President, Business Development, Chicago Bridge and Iron Federal Services
  • Ms. Constance H. Lau, President and CEO, Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.
  • RDML Bret J. Muilenburg, Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific & Pacific Fleet Civil Engineer, United States Navy
  • Mr. Katsuzo Suzuki, CEO, Bell Energy

Serving Up Culinary Diplomacy through Collaboration

Sharing a meal is one of the oldest diplomatic tools and promotes cross-cultural dialogue and understanding, organically transcending boundaries and creating bridges.  This session explored the catalytic role of food in promoting people-to-people and business relations between countries.  Presentations chronicled and shared the experience of the chefs participating in the Culinary Festival at this year’s Annual Conference and provided insight into how the collaboration of chefs and culinary events can be mirrored in business, government and the arts while lending strength to better U.S.-Japan relations. (Click here for a detailed summary of the session.)


  • Mr. Stephen Kagawa, President and CEO, The Pacific Bridge Companies (moderator) 
  • Ms. Candice Kumai, Chef, Food Writer and TV Host
  • Mr. Masaki Ukai, Chairman of the Board, Ukai Co., Ltd.
  • Chef Roy Yamaguchi, Chef and Founder, Roy’s Restaurants
  • Ms. Reiko Yoshikawa, CEO, Wishbone Tokyo

Roundtable Discussions

Developing Cross-Cultural Leaders

USJC engages leaders of all generations, and seeks to develop the next generation of diverse leaders committed to a vibrant and dynamic U.S.-Japan relationship. We seek to broaden leaders’ ability to inspire others, and to cultivate a more service-oriented and entrepreneurial mindset. This session explored how to develop global leaders of all generations: What makes a cross-cultural leader? How can we develop ourselves and provide leadership opportunities to others?  This dialogue among role models, leadership development experts and emerging leaders helped identify tangible ways to develop cross-cultural leadership. (Click here for a detailed summary of the session.)


  • Ms. Tracey Doi, Group Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. (moderator)
  • Ms. Atsuko Fish, Trustee, Fish Family Foundation
  • Mr. Todd Guild, Senior Director, McKinsey & Company, Inc.
  • Mr. Colbert M. Matsumoto, Chairman and CEO, Island Insurance Company, Ltd.
  • Mr. Phil Scanlan, Founder and Chairman, NEW YORK GLOBAL LEADERS DIALOGUE
  • Dr. Britt Yamamoto, Executive Director and Founder, iLEAP

New Models of Urban Revitalization & Sustainability

Urban revitalization efforts have focused on smart cities to reduce the negative impacts of urban migration (waste, greenhouse gas emissions and consumption of natural resources) while increasing community engagement, sustainability and energy efficiency and production. Japan alone has developed over 200 smart city projects. Globally, thousands of smart-city projects are collectively worth at least USD 650 billion in 2014. This session explored new urban models, including innovations in disaster resiliency including food, water and energy security, community engagement, and public-private collaboration in financing and planning. (Click here for a detailed summary of the session.)


  • Ms. Bernice Bowers, Program Director, Center for Environment Research Education & Development (CERED), Asia Pacific (Moderator)
  • Dr. Sam Gon, Chief Scientist and Cultural Advisor, The Nature Conservancy
  • Mr. Rahul Gupta, Director of Sustainable City Sector, PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Mr. Brandon Hayashi, Strategic Alliances Manager, OpTerra Energy Services
  • Mr. Craig Ishii, Director, Kizuna
  • Dr. Daisuke Mashima, Member of Research Staff, Fujitsu Laboratories of America
  • Mr. Alan Nishio, President, Little Tokyo Service Center
  • Mr. Edward Shikada, City Manager, City of San Jose
  • Mr. Nicholas D. Vanderboom, Senior Vice President, Development, The Howard Hughes Corporation
  • Mr. Jon Wallenstrom, President, Forest City Hawaii
  • Mr. Thomas Yee, Project Director, Little Tokyo Eco-Region

Partnerships for Effective Disaster Management

R3ADY Asia-Pacific, formerly the APDR3 Network, brought together practitioners and thought leaders from the public and private sectors, civil society and academia from the United States and Japan for a roundtable discussion on how to cultivate lasting multi-sectoral partnerships for disaster management. Participants discussed how to create an enabling environment for collaboration and how the lessons and experiences from the United States and Japan can be shared more broadly, including at the World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan in March 2015. (Click here for a detailed summary of the session.)


  • Ms. Jainey K. Bavishi, Executive Director, R3ADY Asia-Pacific (Moderator)
  • Mr. Michael Cummings, Private Sector Liaison, Office of the Regional Administrator, External Affairs, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Mr. Flozell Daniels, President and CEO, Foundation for Louisiana
  • Mr. Hideaki Domichi, Senior Vice President, Japan International Cooperation Agency
  • Dr. Fumihiko Imamura, International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS), Tohoku University
  • Mr. Koichi Kaneda, Senior Director, CSR, Corporate Communications Department, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd.
  • Dr. Denise Konan, Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Professor of Economics, University of Hawaii
  • Mr. Tim Manning, Deputy Administrator for Protection and National Preparedness, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Mr. Randy Martin, Director for Partnership Development- East Asia, Mercy Corps
  • Mr. James McGowan, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD)
  • Ms. Amya Miller, Director of Global Public Relations, City of Rikuzentakata
  • Mr. Masahiko Murata, Director of Research and Development, Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institute (DRI)
  • Mr. Tetsuya Myojo, Manager of Domestic Program Division and Head of Tohoku Office, Japan Platform
  • Ms. Kaori Neki, Executive Director, Civic Force & COO, Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management
  • Mr. Jeff Partin, Senior Manager Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity Corporate Security, The Home Depot
  • Ms. Allison Plyer, Executive Director, The Data Center
  • Dr. Mayumi Sakamoto, Associate Professor of the Disaster Mitigation Research Center, Nagoya University
  • Mr. Bill Thomas, Director, NOAA Pacific Services Center
  • Mr. Hitoshi Tojima, Special Assistant, Office of the President, Japan International Cooperation Agency
  • Ms. Natalia Tostovrsnik, Associate Expert, UNISDR
  • Mr. Takashi Yamamoto, President, Peace Boat Disaster Relief Volunteer Center

U.S.-Japan-Korea Partnership through Exchanges

USJC seeks to promote people-to-people relations to achieve the strong U.S.-Japan relations necessary for cooperation that benefits both countries and the Asia-Pacific region. Vibrant and positive U.S.-Japan-South Korea relations are also critically important. However, political tensions between Japan and Korea remain problematic. This roundtable, organized by the U.S.-Japan Council and Japan-America Society of Hawaii, explored how trilateral people-to-people relations such as cultural and educational exchanges can make positive contributions, especially the role of youth in moving relations forward. The discussion explored what elements comprise successful trilateral exchanges, and how can they contribute to the larger relationship. (Click here for a detailed summary of the session.)


  • Mr. Daniel Bob, Director of Programs and Senior Fellow, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA (Moderator)
  • Dr. Lee-Jay Cho, Chairman, Northeast Asia Economic Forum
  • Ms. Nicole Forrester, Director of the Young Leaders Program at Pacific Forum
  • Mr. Ed Hawkins, President, Japan-America Society of Hawaii
  • Mr. Hyun-oh “Sean” Kim, Political Affairs Officer, Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Honolulu
  • Mr. Toyoei Shigeeda, Consul General of Japan in Honolulu
  • Mr. Yuuki Shinomiya, Executive Director, International Student Conferences, Inc.


Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
Mid-Pacific Conference Center
2005 Kalia Rd.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
United States

Members Day events on Saturday, October 11 took place at the Hawaii Convention Center


See more photos on our Flickr site.


See videos from the 2014 Annual Conference on our YouTube channel.


The following are a few press releases about the 2014 Annual Conference:

More Information

2014 Annual Conference Honolulu Host Committee

Chairs: Wendy Abe and Eric Takahata

Development and Fundraising: Mike Hirai and Colbert Matsumoto
Hospitality and Family Activities: Randall Tanaka and Dennis Teranishi
Opening Day Activities: Christine Kubota
VIP, Media and Volunteer Outreach: Lori Teranishi
Regional Outreach: Jan Yanehiro







American Savings Bank

Cook Pine Capital LLC

Grove Farm Company, Inc.


Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.

Mr. Ernest Higa

Mr. Michael K. Hirai

Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye

Mr. Thomas Iino

Imanaka Asato, LLLC

JC Comsa

JPMorgan Chase & Co

KTA Superstores

Mr. Colbert Matsumoto

Mr. Henry Y. Ota

Mr. Paul Rezents

Servco Foundation

Mr. Dennis Sugino

Sun Noodle Brand

The Investment Fund for Foundation

Tokio Marine Management, Inc.

Y. Hata & Co., Ltd.

Mr. Paul K. Yonamine