U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (July 21st, 2016)

Summer Member Event in Tokyo Provides Guidance to Young Professionals

The organizers and speakers of the event: (L-R) Mr. Hasumi, Ms. Yuko Kawahara, Ms. Sasaki, Ms. Tokuyama, Mr. Russell Kawahara

On July 7, USJC held its Regional Summer Member Event at the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo, welcoming over 30 current and prospective members. The event welcomed Council Leader Eriko Talley, Head of HR, APAC at Facebook, as the featured speaker.

The event began with several Japan-based members discussing their involvement in USJC. Mr. Russell Kawahara, USJC’s Japan Regional Chair, introduced ongoing and future activities, including TOMODACHI programs and this year’s Annual Conference in Silicon Valley. Mr. Paul Yonamine, Chair of the Board of Councilors, followed with brief remarks about his work with USJC. Associate Ms. Evelyn Tokuyama spoke about her experience as a participant in the TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program.

Ms. Tally’s speech was moderated by Council Leader Janelle Sasaki (Executive Director, Diversity & Inclusion Services, Ernst & Young Advisory Japan) and Associate Yuta Hasumi (Head of Diversity & Inclusion, AIG Business Partners KK). Ms. Talley discussed her career and provided advice for the next generation of leaders. Her speech was in response to the requests of young members, who wished to hear from USJC leaders about their professional journeys.

Ms. Talley (center) discusses her career thus far

Ms. Talley has traveled to many places, including the United States and Japan, as an expert in human resources. She was previously in Silicon Valley, and after moving to Tokyo, worked for Amazon Japan as Head of HR for eight years. She then joined Facebook. In her speech, she encouraged the audience to take risks fearlessly, make mistakes and learn from their failure. She also encouraged participants to “own your career and make the most of all opportunities.”

A member of the audience asks a question

The event concluded with a lively networking session and closing remarks from Mr. Stan Koyanagi, USJC’s Japan Regional Vice-Chair. Mr. Koyanagi shared his experience of how he and other USJC leaders witnessed Senator Daniel Inouye’s leadership during the Great East Japan Earthquake relief efforts.

The Council is grateful for all the attendees and members who contributed to the success of this event!

Click here to see more photos.

Recent Events

Hawaii Regional Event in Honolulu Discusses Multi-Generational Companies

Thank you to Associate Nate Gyotoku for providing the following write-up!

(L-R) Mr. Teranishi, Mr. Uki, Mr. Taira, Ms. Yamada, Mr. Hata, Mr. Tokioka and Board Member Ms. Susan Eichor

On July 13, a capacity crowd of members and guests attended a USJC Hawaii regional event at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

The event featured a panel discussion centered around multi-generational companies, which are prevalent throughout Hawaii. The panel members represented various generations, featuring Russell Hata, President & CEO of Y. Hata Ltd. (third generation), Winston Taira, Special Projects Manager of King’s Hawaiian (third generation), and Kenshiro Uki, Vice President of Sun Noodles (second generation). Moderated by Susan Yamada of the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Shidler College of Business, the discussion focused on the dynamics of family-owned businesses and generational management. Topics included succession planning, family and company values, management philosophies, family relationships within a business, and growth strategies.

USJC Hawaii Regional Chair Tyler Tokioka delivered opening remarks about the Hawaii region, and Chairman of the Board Dennis Teranishi delivered an update on recent news and upcoming USJC events.

Mr. Tokioka addresses the audience

Mahalo to our member panelists, our moderator, the Waialae Country Club staff, and volunteers from the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce!

New York All Member Mixer

On July 14, more than 40 members and friends in New York gathered at the home of Council Leader Kiyo Matsumoto for an evening of networking. They discussed how they would organize or support future USJC events and programs, such as the Annual Conference, women’s leadership discussions and TOMODACHI J&J Disaster Nursing Training Program welcome dinner.

Click here to see more photos.

Thank you to Ms. Matsumoto, Regional Chair Sakura Yagi and all the other organizers!

Visit to Office of Japan Airlines Co., Ltd.

On July 11, USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye visited the headquarters of Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (JAL) in Tokyo and met with Mr. Tadashi Fujita, (Representative Director, Executive Vice President) and Mr. Hiroyuki Hioka (Executive Officer, General Affairs). They discussed USJC’s recent and upcoming events, as well as possibilities for future collaboration.

(L-R) Mr. Hioka, Ms. Hirano Inouye, Mr. Fujita

JAL has recently launched “Japan Explorer Pass,” a simple and low-cost fare for travelers wishing to explore the unique culture and feel of local Japan. The fare, which costs JPY 10,800 for any one applicable route within Japan, can be used to access over 30 cities across JAL’s domestic network. For more information, click here.

Likewise, JAL started the “oneworld YOKOSO/Visit KYUSHU Fare” to support recovery from the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake. If you are planning a trip to Japan, we hope you take this opportunity to explore the Kyushu region.


Members Inspire Delegates of the TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program

The panelists: (L-R) Ms. Sasaki, Mr. Romaine, Mr. Yonamine

On July 7, American and Japanese delegates of the 2016 TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program attended a panel discussion with USJC members and supporters. The panel was part of this year’s program, which is guided by the theme of “Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Leadership.” It was the final event of the program for the U.S. delegates, but for the Japanese participants, it marked the beginning of their memorable journey.

The panel consisted of three accomplished entrepreneurs: Chair of the USJC Board of Councilors Paul Yonamine (Country General Manager and President of IBM Japan), Council Leader Janelle Sasaki (Executive Director of Diversity & Inclusion Services, Ernst & Young Advisory Japan), and Mr. Matthew Romaine (CEO of Gengo).

Designed to be an interactive space for the panelists and delegates, most of the discussion was dedicated to Q&A. The panelists and delegates explored innovations, new technologies and industrial developments in the context of U.S.-Japan relations.

The delegates’ questions included: comparisons of the work environment between the United States and Japan, cultural and personal challenges the entrepreneurs experienced in their careers, and societal challenges Japan could improve upon in the future.

A delegate poses a question

All the panelists agreed that, in both Japan and the United States, they look for employees with passion. Passion is key. Hiring those who want to serve customers and make a difference is advantageous to companies. Ms. Sasaki further explained that “being a change agent and a game changer is important; you have to like and thrive on change.”

The panelists also spoke about the importance of strengthening U.S.-Japan relations, and inspired the delegates with comments based upon their own experience living in both countries.

The delegates left with a wider network, valuable entrepreneurial advice, and greater motivation towards bringing the United States and Japan even closer together.

TOMODACHI and Microsoft to Work with iLEAP to Foster Young Leaders

Next month marks the launch of the TOMODACHI Microsoft iLEAP Social Innovation and Leadership Program, which aims to cultivate the next generation of global leaders. Microsoft Japan will work on this program in collaboration with Microsoft Corporation, headquartered in the United States, TOMODACHI, and iLEAP (a nonprofit organization led by Council Leader Britt Yamamoto). Click here to see the press release about this new partnership.

Mr. Yamamoto participates in a virtual discussion during the launch event

On July 13, a launch event was held in Tokyo, with representatives of Microsoft, the Government of Japan, and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, as well as Irene Hirano Inouye and USJC staff. Two alumni of the program, previously called the TOMODACHI Social Innovation in Seattle (SIIS) Scholars Program, also gave presentations about their experience during and after the program. Click here to see more photos from the launch event.

An alumna of the program shares her experience


The following is part of a year-long series of articles by the 2015 class of the TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program.

Reflection from Lianna Sachiyo Kushi (ELP 2015)

The author (center) with her classmates at the wedding: David Kenji Chang, Ellen Kamei, Kuriko Hasegawa Wong and Miki Sankary

The TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) was a life-changing experience. It feels grandiose to write such a statement, but it honestly was. When I prepared my application a year ago, I could not have imagined what the impact of ELP would be. Since those four days together in Tokyo, I have developed relationships with USJC leaders in Boston, met up with classmates and alumni in New York, represented the New England region in Los Angeles, and was amazed to have David, Ellen, Kuriko and Miki from the 2015 ELP class attend my wedding in Lowell, Massachusetts.

With Irene Hirano Inouye, Board Member Atsuko Fish and Associate Ginger Vaughn at an event in Boston

As is the case for many of my fellow alumni, my passion for Japan and U.S.-Japan relations is deeply personal. My obaachan was daring and strong, unafraid to share her opinions or wishes, which included choosing Japanese names for nearly all her sansei grandchildren. I lived with her twice during my childhood. One evening, she told me why she chose “Sachiyo” for my middle name. She explained that the kanji means “happiness” and “generation,” and that she wished for me a life filled with joy that would continue for generations.

She passed away shortly after. It was the summer before my senior year of high school, and this changed the course of my life. In college, instead of studying French and international relations as I had intended to, I chose Japanese language and literature. I immersed myself in Japanese, and instead of Paris, I studied abroad in Kyoto. I went on to work at the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at Harvard University, traveled to Japan often, and over the years continued to find ways to stay connected to Japan. In the past decade and a half, ELP and USJC are by far the definitive program and experience that have accelerated my connection not just to Japan but to the people who hold a similar passion. This community of leaders committed to U.S.-Japan relations is so powerful.

Tour of Kings Hawaiian with Sakura Yagi and Winston Taira

Through the Emerging Leaders Program and USJC, I learned that the future of U.S.-Japan relations relies on this active investment. I realize that, along with other Japanese Americans, I can continue to have a profound impact on U.S.-Japan relations. I cannot wait to reconnect with fellow alumni and meet other USJC Associates at the U40 Summit next month!

The 2015 ELP Class


2016 USJC Annual Conference


Monday, November 14, 2016 to Tuesday, November 15, 2016*(*There will also be TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders programming on Nov. 12 and USJC Members Day programming on Nov. 13)

Imagine. Innovate. Inspire. – The Silicon Valley Experience

Have you registered for USJC’s Seventh Annual Conference, to be held in Silicon Valley, California? Register now to get the best rate available!

Held in the center of high-tech startups and development, this year’s Conference will be an opportunity to advance an innovative agenda in U.S.-Japan relations, exchange views among leaders about challenges and opportunities, and identify ways that the U.S.-Japan relationship can be strengthened. It will be attended by hundreds of distinguished American and Japanese leaders from all sectors, providing a unique opportunity for learning and networking. It will highlight innovation and entrepreneurship, and inspire the next generation of leaders.

Featured keynote speakers this year include Hiroaki Nakanishi, Chairman & CEO of Hitachi, LTD., and Brad Smith, President & CLO of Microsoft Corporation.

If you have questions about the 2016 Annual Conference, please contact Shane Graves, Director of Program Development, at [email protected] or +1-202-223-6855.

To register, please visit the USJC Annual Conference webpage in either English or Japanese.

We look forward to seeing you in Silicon Valley in November!

Want to win FREE REGISTRATION for the Conference? Check out our ongoing Social Media Contest!

Staffing Update: New Director of Development

Deborah Grant has joined our Washington, DC staff as Director of Development. Ms. Grant has over 25 years of experience working with Japanese and U.S. companies in business development, marketing and communications. She was born and raised in Japan and is bilingual. She was the President of Go East Enterprises, a radio, TV and film production company, for 15 years. She has also worked for several other companies and JETRO, and has developed her own company. Ms. Grant has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from International Christian University in Tokyo and was in the Ph.D. Program at Princeton University in East Asian Studies.

In Memoriam

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Representative Mark Takai of Hawaii. Representative Takai was a Member of our Board of Councilors and was very active in the USJC community. He attended our 2014 Annual Conference in Honolulu as well as many events in Washington, DC, including our Business Networking Initiative last summer. We will miss Representative Takai, and extend our deepest condolences to the Takai family.

Upcoming Events

Very Young Composers of Fukushima and New York (TOMODACHI Suntory Fukushima Mirai Music Program)

WHEN: August 20, 2016 at 5pm – 8pm
WHERE: David Rubenstein Atrium (61 W 62nd St, New York, NY 10023)

This concert is part of the TOMODACHI Suntory Fukushima Mirai Music Program, which brings eight Japanese high school students from Fukushima prefecture to New York City. This program was launched in February 2016 by Suntory Holdings Limited (Suntory) and the TOMODACHI Initiative, and is held in collaboration with the New York Philharmonic’s Very Young Composers program.

The program provides students in the wind ensemble club at Fukushima Futaba Mirai Gakuen High School opportunities to rehabilitate their hearts through music. The Japanese students have been creating their own arrangements of the Japanese song Furusato, which means “hometown” in Japanese. During the concert, New York Philharmonic musicians and guest artists will perform the music created by Very Young Composers from Fukushima and New York City.

These activities are a continuation of the collaboration between TOMODACHI and the Philharmonic in the 2014–15 season.

Tickets are free and the event is open to the public. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited.

For more information, please visit the New York Philharmonic’s event page.

Japan-U.S. International Symposium for Ocean Conservation in Hawaii


WHEN: August 22, 2016 at 10am – 4pm
WHERE: Hawaii Convention Center (Lili’u Theatre, Room 310)

The ocean’s resources, as well as its possibilities, were long considered to be infinite. But now, faced with various problems such as global warming, pollution, overfishing and inappropriate development, the marine environment is in an unprecedented crisis. In order to keep the ocean beautiful for generations to come, women from the United States and Japan will discuss possible solutions at this symposium. Akie Abe, the First Lady of Japan and wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Irene Hirano Inouye, President of the U.S.-Japan Council and wife of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye, are representing the two countries across the Pacific.

This event is hosted by Akie Abe, Irene Hirano Inouye and Sailors for the Sea Japan, and supported by USJC, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Besides Ms. Abe and Ms. Hirano Inouye, other main speakers include:

  • Tamayo Marukawa (Japanese Minister of the Environment)
  • Julie Packard (Executive Director, Monterey Bay Aquarium)
  • Margaret Spring (Vice President, Monterey Bay Aquarium)
  • Meg Caldwell (Board, Monterey Bay Aquarium)
  • Ruth Gates (Director, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii)
  • Takeji Mazuka (President, Sanctuary NPO)
  • Minako Iue (President, Sailors for the Sea Japan)

To register, please click here.

October 18: JWLI – Women Leading Social Changes in Japan (Tokyo, Japan)When: October 18, 2016 at 9am – 6pmWhere: Tokyo American Club (Tokyo, Japan)

JWLI 2016 東京サミット

The Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI) is celebrating its 10th anniversary by hosting a Tokyo Summit titled “Women Leading Social Changes in Japan.” JWLI is led by USJC Board Member Atsuko Fish. Among the speakers at this summit are Irene Hirano Inouye and Council Leader Mari Kuraishi.

This summit will allow participants to:

  • Observe successful cases of social change in Japan achieved by women leaders
  • Learn from the U.S experience: “What is different from Japan? What is similar? What can be learned?”
  • Meet role models from Japan’s social sector leaders and social entrepreneurs
  • Explore obstacles for Japanese women leaders and how to overcome them

To learn more information, please visit the JWLI website or the summit’s website.



USJC seeks a candidate who can bring experience in digital communications, primarily with information technology, web design and social media, to our organization. We seek a candidate who will develop mid- to long-term strategies in communications and work closely with staff and board leadership in the implementation of communication strategies.

This position offers an opportunity to make an impact in a growing non-profit and an opportunity to network with prominent leaders at the forefront of U.S.-Japan relations. Fluency in English is required and Japanese language proficiency is desirable.

For the full description, please visit the job posting on our website.


USJC seeks a talented, dynamic individual for a newly-created position of Executive Director, U.S.-Japan Council (Japan). The Executive Director will provide leadership and oversight of the Council’s general programs and activities and of the TOMODACHI Initiative. This will include responsibility for the implementation of program goals and objectives, providing leadership and oversight of program development and management, fundraising, communications and operations. The Executive Director will be based in Tokyo and manage the staff in Japan and will work closely with the U.S.-Japan Council (U.S.) staff in the United States.

For the full description, please visit the job posting on our website.