2020 USJC Public Symposium


The U.S.-Japan Council’s 2020 Public Symposium was presented on November 17-19, 2020. Titled, “Two Nations, Countless Connections – Community, Partnership and the Road Ahead,” the Symposium explored the transformative areas of the bilateral relationship that have brought about hope and recovery. The program also examined topics around community building, diversity, and resilience in both countries today, ultimately advancing the important work around key priorities in U.S.-Japan and Japanese American affairs. The event explored the question: How are enduring communities and partnerships formed?

Open to all U.S.-Japan advocates and supporters, USJC partnered with other organizations and influential leaders to deliver insightful dialogues, creative content, and engaging interactions over the course of three days. Day 1 focused on Race & Diversity, Day 2 on NPOs & Philanthropy, and Day 3 on Cultural & Educational Exchange.

Simultaneous interpretation was provided for the sessions displayed below with asterisks.


All dates and times in Eastern Standard Time.

November 17
2:00 – 3:00 pm ET: Opening Session featuring “Japanese Americans & Japan: Legacies” – Interview with Tom Iino
6:00 – 7:15 pm ET: [Topical Session 1] Women’s Leadership: The Power of Story*

November 18
1:30 – 2:45 pm ET
: [Topical Session 2] NPO Sustainability: Leadership Succession Strategies
6:00 – 7:15 pm ET: [Topical Session 3] Philanthropy Leadership: Historical Reconciliation & Today’s Landscape*

November 19
3:00 – 4:15 pm ET
: [Topical Session 4] Cultural & Educational Exchange: A Winning Investment
6:00 – 7:15 pm ET: [Topical Session 5] Baseball Diplomacy*
7:45 – 8:30 pm ET: Closing Session featuring Emerging Leaders Program alumni panel*

Please note: the “Race & Social Justicesession has been postponed, and will be held at a later date.


  • Welcome Remarks: Suzanne Basalla, President & CEO, U.S.-Japan Council
  • Special Remarks: Shinsuke J. Sugiyama, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United States of America
  • Moderator: Dianne Fukami, President, Bridge Media, Inc.
  • Moderator: Debra Nakatomi, President, Nakatomi & Associates, Inc.
  • Distinguished Panelist: Thomas Iino, Board Member, First Choice Bank; & USJC Legacy Council Chair

The USJC Public Symposium kicked off with the first installment of the “Japanese Americans & Japan: Legacies” series. This video series highlights the careers and life journeys of prominent Japanese American leaders who are pioneers in developing the U.S.-Japan relationship. Through their stories, attendees learned about the role of Japanese Americans in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations, and the ways Japan has contributed to Japanese American identity and community. This first dialogue in the series featured USJC’s Founding Board Chair, Thomas Iino.

Click here for summary.

  • Introduction: Royanne K. Doi, Corporate Governance Specialist
  • Moderator: Linda Calhoun, Founder and Executive Producer, Career Girls
  • Yumi Hosaka Clark, Vice President, Head of Product, Visa
  • Aila Gomi, Material Engineer, Azek/TimberTech
  • Nanami Kono, Director, SUNDRED Corporation
  • Judy Marlinski, Head of Product & Advisory Solutions, Fidelity Institutional
  • Special Remarks: Kelly Kay,  Executive Vice President & CFO, Toyota Research Institute

A roundtable with inspiring women role models in the U.S.-Japan space who will have a conversation about the “power of story” and how the act of stepping up and sharing personal journeys empowers oneself and the next generation.

  • Introduction: Norman Nakasone, Senior Vice President & Manager, Small Business Market, Central Pacific Bank
  • Moderator: Craig Ishii, Integrated Marketing Communications Manager, Beckman Coulter
  • Lynn Miyahira, Account Director, iQ 360; President, Hawaii United Okinawa Association
  • Jeffrey Moy, Senior Program Director, National Collaborative for Health Equity; National President, Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)
  • Jon Osaki, Executive Director, Japanese Community Youth Council

Exemplary leadership and how nonprofit organizations in the Japanese American community are managing leadership succession and membership continuity to incorporate a multi-generational perspective for long-term sustainability.

  • Introduction: Leona Hiraoka, Senior Advisor, Snider Strategies, Inc.
  • Moderator: David P. Janes, Senior Advisor to the President for Institutional Development, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University; Managing Director, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Foundation
  • Special Remarks: Kosei Kobayashi, Deputy Managing Director & General Manager, Membership, International House of Japan
  • Amir Pasic, Ph.D., Dean, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
  • Katsuji Imata, President, Social Impact Management Initiative Japan (SIMI); Managing Director, CSO Network Japan

The historical role of public and private funders in strengthening U.S.-Japan ties through creating philanthropic institutions, and the global and social trends that are directing foundational giving and nonprofit missions today.

A multi-sector look at developing bilateral partnerships and people-to-people relations by investing in local communities and cultural and educational exchanges.

  • Introduction: Yuko Kaifu, President, JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles
  • Introduction: Joshua Morey, President, The J. Morey Company, Inc.
  • Moderator: Rob Fitts, Author & Baseball Historian
  • Moderator: Yuriko Gamo Romer, Director of Diamond Diplomacy, Flying Carp Productions
  • Duane Kurisu, Minority Owner of the San Francisco Giants; Chairman and CEO, aio Group
  • Matt Murton, Formerly Hanshin Tigers and Major League Baseball Player (retired)
  • Don Nomura, Sports (Baseball) Agent
  • Jim Small, Senior Vice President, International, Major League Baseball

Baseball legends and aficionados will compare and contrast American and Japanese culture through the playing, management and business of baseball, and share their observations, stories and anecdotes about the sport’s role in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations.

This session is co-hosted by the U.S.-Japan Council and JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles.

JAPAN HOUSE is an innovative, worldwide project with three hubs, London, Los Angeles, and Sao Paulo, conceived by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. It seeks to nurture a deeper understanding of Japan in the international community. JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles offers a place of new discovery that transcends physical and conceptual boundaries, creating experiences that reflect the best of Japan through its spaces and diverse programs.

6801 Hollywood Blvd. Level 2 and 5,
Los Angeles, CA 90028
@JapanHouseLA #JapanHouseLA

Closing out the USJC Public Symposium, we look to our young leaders for a message of hope and call-to-action around building strong and resilient communities. Three accomplished alumni of the USJC Emerging Leaders Program will share their inspiring stories of family legacies, personal growth, and investing in the next generation of leaders.

Click here for summary.

2020 U.S.-Japan Council Supporters

2021-2022 Sponsors






Advantage Partners

Anonymous Donor

Asahi Kasei America, Inc.

Shizuka Asakawa

Delsole Corporation

Dr. Hiroyuki Fujita, Quality Electrodynamics

Fujitsu Limited

Leona Hiraoka

Hitachi High-Tech Corporation

Tom Iino

Industrial Growth Platform, Inc. (IGPI)

Japan Airlines Co., Ltd.

Japan Industrial Partners, Inc.

Stan Koyanagi

KPMG Japan

Lawson, Inc.

Mitsui Chemicals America, Inc.

Gary S. Moriwaki

Satoru & Hiroko Murase

Northrop Grumman

Palo Alto Networks K.K.


Sompo International


Lance Stuart

Steve Takeda

Takenaka Partners LLC

Tokio Marine America

Tokio Marine Holdings


Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd.

ValueAct Capital