USJC has led the Governors’ Circle initiative to promote bilateral economic collaboration at the state–prefecture level since 2010. The governors of Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Nagano, Oita, Okayama and Shizuoka prefectures convene to discuss how to strengthen U.S.-Japan relations on a regional level, often meeting with governors and other local leaders in the United States.

2019 California-Japan Governors’ Symposium

Over 200 leaders convened at the California-Japan Governors’ Symposium, held at Stanford University on August 26. This symposium, co-hosted by the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC) and the Silicon Valley Japan Platform (SVJP), the Symposium created an opportunity for leaders from Silicon Valley and Japan to come together, reinforce relationships, consider new ways of thinking, initiate dialogue, and catalyze outcomes which benefit both the U.S. and Japan.

2018 Annual Conference

During the 2018 Annual Conference, Japanese prefectural governors Ryuta Ibaragi (Governor of Okayama Prefecture), Dr. Heita Kawakatsu (Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture) and Hidehiko Yuzaki (Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture) sat down with Dr. Daniel I. Okimoto (Co-Chairman, Silicon Valley Japan Platform; Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Stanford University) to discuss regional collaboration through activities like USJC’s Governors’ Circle initiative. 

Click here to see the video of the panel discussion. 

2017 Japan-Hawaii Economic Summit

The inaugural Japan-Hawaii Economic Summit, which USJC co-hosted with the State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT), was a resounding success. More than 200 leaders—including governors, vice governors and other representatives of seven Japanese prefectures (Ehime, Fukuoka, Hokkaido, Nagano, Oita, and Shizuoka)—gathered in Kona from May 9 to 11, 2017, discussing ways to collaborate with Hawaii through food, tourism, education, clean energy and more. For more information, please click here.

2016 Annual Conference in Silicon Valley

In November 2016, representatives from Hiroshima, Okayama, Shizuoka, Fukuoka, and Oita gave separate presentations highlighting their participation in a session called “Hidden Gems Showcase.” Approximately 25 companies from Japan shared their technologies and services that have high potential for growth in collaboration with Silicon Valley innovators or investors. The purpose of this session was to provide a more holistic view of the participating companies, and to link them to the broader Governors’ Circle initiative. Click here for a summary of the discussion. The representatives also held a “trade show” presentation during the public Annual Conference, giving conference attendees opportunities to learn about the businesses individually. 

2015 Annual Conference in Tokyo

Several prefectures, including Okayama (pictured), presented their publications and products during the Annual Conference.

In November 2015, the governors of Hiroshima, Nagano and Shizuoka prefectures, as well as the state of Hawaii, gathered during the USJC Annual Conference in Tokyo for a panel discussion called “Strengthening Regional Economies: A Dialogue among Governors.” The governors discussed their activities in stimulating economic growth, including creating an environment that supports women who want to become mothers, encouraging innovation, and focusing on renewable energy.

Governors’ Meeting in Silicon Valley

In July 2014, the governors of Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Oita, Okayama, Saga and Shizuoka convened in Silicon Valley with a delegation of business leaders and government officials from each prefecture. Click here to learn more about the Governors’ Meeting in Silicon Valley in July 2014.  

Governors’ Meeting in Honolulu

On August 21, 2012, governors from Hawaii and Hiroshima, Shizuoka and Saga convened in Honolulu, Hawaii to discuss regional economic collaboration in clean energy, tourism and educational exchange. Since then, there has been substantial cooperation in the public and private sectors between Hawaii and the three Japanese prefectures. Click here to learn more about the Governors’ Meeting in Honolulu in August 2012.