U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (June 26th, 2014)


As part of the U.S.-Japan Council’s Governors’ Circle initiative, USJC and the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) will convene a Japan Governors’ Meeting in Silicon Valley.

A plenary session and networking reception/sake tasting will take place on Monday, July 28 from 2:00 to 7:30pm at Stanford University’s Arrillaga Alumni Center.

Governors from the prefectures of Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Oita, Okayama, Saga and Shizuoka will each bring a delegation of business leaders and government officials involved in economic cooperation and business development. These governors are interested in the state of California, particularly Silicon Valley, as a leader in the fields of IT, biomedical/healthcare, automobile technology, clean energy and consumer goods.  This event will serve as a catalyst for select Japanese prefectures to connect with Silicon Valley’s innovative companies, pilot projects and state-of-the-art technologies across a number of sectors, including technology licensing, market development, manufacturing agreements, cross-investments, joint ventures and strategic partnerships.

For more information and to register, visit bit.ly/GovCircle.



The U.S.-Japan Council lost an integral member of the USJC “family” when Mrs. Betty Jean Ogawa passed away last month. We extended our deepest condolences to the Ogawa family, including her husband and USJC Board of Councilors Member Hiromitsu Ogawa. With her husband, Mrs. Ogawa resided in Tokyo, Japan for 20 years, where she was a cross-cultural consultant specializing in Japan-U.S. orientations. The family has resided more recently in Silicon Valley. Betty joined us at our last two Annual Conferences and generously hosted our Northern California Members’ reception last year at their beautiful residence in Atherton. Mr. Ogawa will be hosting the Northern California Membership Event on July 27 in honor of Betty. Details about this event are provided below.


The Council is also saddened to learn of the passing of Ambassador Howard Baker, an honorary member of the U.S.-Japan Council Board of Councilors. Amb. Baker served as a U.S. Senator from Tennessee for 18 years (four as the Senate Majority Leader). He later became the White House Chief of Staff to President Ronald Reagan and the Ambassador of the United States to Japan under President George W. Bush. In 2008, the Government of Japan honored Amb. Baker with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers.



On June 16, TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars from DePaul University, led by USJC Member Dr. Kathryn Ibata-Arens, left Chicago for Tokyo. While in Japan, they traveled to Kyoto where they joined students from Ritsumeikan University in an exchange that included roundtable discussions on topics ranging from national identity and culture to multiculturalism. With tremendous support from USJC Members in Tokyo, including Ernest Higa and his wife, Aya, the students volunteered at a Senior Center and attended an informal gathering at the Higas’ home. TOMODACHI staff in Tokyo organized a panel with representatives from a variety of fields to speak about the challenges and opportunities of working in their particular field within Japan. The participants have expressed their gratitude for being selected to participate and what they have learned from the trip.

“I am glad to have gotten the opportunity to hear from a wide variety of speakers with diverse backgrounds. It was interesting to hear how all kinds of people can live and work in Japan because I hope to do the same in the future.” – Lillian Hart

“I had a really valuable experience during this trip. [The] TOMODACHI Initiative is not well known in the United States, but we should definitely tell others where this program can get you.” – Renee Menart

“The discussion with the Japanese entrepreneurs was fruitful. It was cool to see what one can accomplish when one opens up his or her perspective. We had many similar opinions despite coming from different countries.” – Devin Ruzbasan

As part of the program, the students have learned about the legacy of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye. Before departing for Japan, DePaul scholar Alexander Shaindlin posted a reflection on the Senator’s legacy, asking his classmates to remember “why we are here.” (Full Blog post here)

Photos and blog posts by the scholars from DePaul can be found here

Meet the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars from DePaul here


The second group of scholars, led by USJC Member Dr. Curtiss T. Rooks of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, arrived in Japan this week (on an ANA plane bearing the TOMODACHI logo!). During their first few days in Tokyo they will visit Sophia University and meet with students. Dr. Rooks will give a guest lecture at Sophia on the topic of Asian American Multiracial Identity and Diversity. With the assistance of USJC Member Henry Ota, the group is scheduled to meet with Japanese Diet Members who are planning to visit southern California this summer. The group will then travel to Hiroshima before returning to Tokyo. 

Visit the LMU group’s website for more information and bios on the scholars



The Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA) is hosting a concert and recital on Sunday, July 13 featuring artists with autism from the United States and Japan. The artists will perform together under the leadership of Former First Lady of Japan Madame Kayoko Hosokawa, the founder of Special Olympics Nippon. More information is available via CSMA here:


USJC is proud to be a cooperating organization in the sixth annual Global Organization for Leadership and Diversity (GOLD Symposium). “The Power of Inclusion: Viewing Diversity Through Different Lenses” will allow innovative and creative business executives, social entrepreneurs and artists share best practices and describe new possibilities for building a culture of inclusion. For more information and to register, visit the GOLD website at:


Featured Story: Irene Hirano Inouye: Japanese Americans can be Bridge Between U.S., Japan
Asahi Japan Watch, June 25, 2014