U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (August 15th, 2019)

Los Angeles Community Celebrates Chiune Sugihara

In collaboration with the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles and the American Jewish Committee, the U.S.-Japan Council hosted a screening of Sugihara Survivors: Jewish and Japanese, Past and Present at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles on July 31. The short documentary created by Junichi Kajioka follows journalist Akira Kitade’s search for survivors and descendants who were rescued by Chiune Sugihara. Sugihara was a Japanese diplomat based in Lithunia during World War II, and issued over 6000 transit visas to allow Jewish refugees to flee Europe.

Click here or on the image above to see the trailer of the film

The film screening was followed by a Q & A with the director, moderated by Council Leader Mitch Maki, President & CEO of the Go For Broke National Education Center. Mr. Kajioka shared his experience making this film, while several audience members shared their own family histories and ties to Sugihara’s legacy.

(On a related note, July 29 marked the 40th anniversary since Sugihara began issuing the transit visas to Jewish refugees. Google Doodle celebrated this event with an image of him and a tribute article.)

(L-R) Council Leader Mitch Maki (Go for Broke National Education Center), USJC Board Member Yuko Kaifu (Japan House), Dganit Abramoff (American Jewish Committee), Junichi Kajioka (Director), Rabbi David Wolpe (Sinai Temple), Hon. Akira Chiba (Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles)

Recent Events

Highlights from the 2019 U40 Summit in Hawaii

The 2019 U40 (Under 40) Summit, held from May 31 to June 2, was so memorable, participants continue to gush about it. As written in the summary, the U40 Summit was a chance to reconnect with old friends, meet new ones, and build people-to-people relationships. Click here or on the image below for an infographic of the weekend’s highlights, created by USJC Associate Colby Takeda (ELP ’16) and the Planning Committee!


2019 Annual Conference Early Bird Rates Ending August 18!

U.S.-Japan Council 2019 Annual Conference
Bold Ideas, Bolder Leadership: The Next Stage of U.S.-Japan Relations
Loews Hollywood Hotel, Los Angeles, California
November 4-5, 2019

Registration is open for the 2019 USJC Annual Conference in Los Angeles! Held in Hollywood, the center of global entertainment, this conference will highlight diverse leadership styles that transform bold ideas into reality. We will also celebrate USJC’s 10th anniversary, and offer leadership training under USJC’s new Leadership Institute.

We also encourage you to enjoy the Japan Cuts Hollywood Film Festival, presented by the Japan America Society of Southern California from November 1 to 3, prior to the conference.

Don’t miss our lineup of unique speakers and timely topics. Early bird rates end on August 18.

Speakers Include:

Kazuo Hirai

Senior Advisor,
Sony Corporation

John V. Roos

Geodesic Capital

Takeshi Uchiyamada

Chairman of the
Board of Directors,
Toyota Motor

Amy Webb

Founder & CEO,
Future Today

Taro Kono

Minister for
Foreign Affairs,
Government of

Other Speakers Include:

Bill Allen, CEO, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation
Bill Imada, CEO, IW Group, Inc.
Maria S. Salinas, President & CEO, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Michelle K. Sugihara, Executive Director, CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment)

Early bird rates available until August 18!

Member News

Laurie Van Pelt Appointed Oakland County’s First Woman Deputy County Executive

Congratulations to Laurie Van Pelt for being appointed as Oakland County, Michigan’s first woman Deputy County Executive! Ms. Van Pelt, who was a delegate of the 2018 Japanese American Leadership Delegation, is also the first Japanese American to serve in this position. Ms. Van Pelt has worked for the county for over 40 years, serving in roles that include the Director of Management and Budget. She is a Certified Public Finance Officer, conferred by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). She is an active member of national and state associations, often serving as an expert to assist governments with common financial challenges. Click here for more details.

Alan Nishio Receives Nisei Week Inspiration Award

Congratulations to Council Leader Alan Nishio, who received the 2019 Nisei Week Inspiration Award! Mr. Nishio, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC), was a delegate of the inaugural Japanese American Leadership Delegation in 2000, and has participated in USJC delegations advancing the work of nonprofit organizations in Japan following the Great East Japan Earthquake. Aside from serving on the board of LTSC for 35 years, he is also a board member for the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center and an advisory council member for Kizuna. In 2016, he was awarded “The Order of the Rising Sun with Gold Rays and Rosette” by the Government of Japan. For more information about the Nisei Week award, please click here.

Upcoming Events

Ticket Sales Close Tomorrow: USJC Emerging Leaders Program Day at Angel Stadium

When: Sunday, August 18, 2019 at 1:07pm
Where: Angel Stadium (Anaheim, CA)

Join the Emerging Leaders Program alumni as they host a special Japanese Heritage Day at Angel Stadium! They will be cheering on two-way Japanese Baseball star Shohei Ohtani as he takes on the Chicago White Sox. Each ticket guarantees a Shohei Ohtani bobblehead! Click here or on the image above to purchase tickets. The deadline to purchase tickets is tomorrow!


Intern (Washington, DC)

The intern will provide support for Programs and Communications on a part-time or full-time basis. Duties will consist of program and event coordination and support, website/social media support, organization of and attendance at special events, outreach and communication, writing and translation (if able). This is an excellent internship for those hoping to gain experience in the programmatic, digital and strategic marketing and/or nonprofit fields. USJC’s internship program offers outstanding opportunities for college students, graduate students and graduates who are interested in U.S.-Japan relations.

Click here for more information about the position.

Intern (Tokyo, Japan)

The TOMODACHI Initiative is seeking qualified interns on a part-time or full-time basis. This internship program offers outstanding opportunities for college students, graduate students and graduates who are interested in U.S.-Japan relations. Duties generally consist of program and event coordination and support, website/social media support, organization and attendance at special events, student outreach and communication, writing and translation (as able). Duties may be tailored to the intern’s interests. Interns will work with individuals from the U.S.-Japan Council, the U.S. Embassy and other key TOMODACHI team members.

Click here for more information about the position.

Program Manager for the Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative (Tokyo, Japan)

The Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI) offers an executive leadership development program that transforms Japanese women into action-oriented leaders with the confidence to lead, skills and knowledge to manage, and plans to make social change in Japan. JWLI has been expanding–first with the Champion of Change Japan Award in 2017, and starting this June, with the JWLI Bootcamp. In order to continue to empower women in Japan, JWLI is seeking a Program Manager based in Tokyo, Japan.

Please click here to see the job description.