Kibou for Maui Leadership Delegation Visits Japan

The Kibou for Maui Leadership Delegation with USJC leaders at a debrief meeting in Tokyo on May 23, 2024.

The Leadership Delegation of the Kibou for Maui program visited Japan from May 18-23. In its continued support of the Maui recovery, the government of Japan has once again been instrumental in funding this key initiative meant to strengthen the bond between Japan and Hawaii and foster community.

A cohort of Maui leaders and professionals recently returned from an educational tour of Japan’s Tohoku region, exploring firsthand the disaster recovery efforts after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Participants included Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen, Hawaii State Senator Troy Hashimoto (ELP ‘22) and University of Hawaii Maui College Chancellor Dr. Lui Hokoana as well as several other government officials, and business and community leaders.

The trip included intensive educational sessions and tours, with visits to Sendai Hospital, Fukushima Hydrogen Research Facility, Namie Town Hall and Tokyo Government Disaster Management Center. The group traveled throughout the region via train and bus and participated in several workshop sessions aimed at facilitating insightful exchanges on resilience and innovative recovery strategies. The delegation paid special attention to housing and building resilient cities in their discussions and explored ways to construct resilient neighborhoods that not only rebuild structures but also restore communal bonds. They also discussed ways to streamline bureaucratic processes; communicate a plan to constituents; and expedite safe, sustainable and thoughtful development. The group explored a variety of ideas to implement in Hawaii, from constructing a memorial wall to commemorate those lost in the fire, to employing AI for urban planning and enhancing disaster preparedness.

The hope is that these Maui leaders will return to their island empowered, with actionable lessons to share on recovery, rebuilding and maintaining community, and overall resilience.

The delegates have pledged to maintain collaboration across the diverse sectors they represent to enhance the well-being of the Maui community.

This trip follows the successful student trip in March. Those students were impacted profoundly by what they learned from their Japanese counterparts. They returned to Maui with renewed hope. Several of them committed to staying on the island to help lead the recovery efforts and to help define a long-term vision for a prosperous and sustainable Maui.

Select photos can be seen here.