U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (October 25th, 2018)

Final Chance to Register (by 10/26): 2018 USJC Annual Conference in Tokyo


U.S.-Japan Council 2018 Annual Conference
Partnering for Impact Today, Investing in a Sustainable Tomorrow
Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel, Tokyo, Japan
November 8-9, 2018

REGISTRATION FOR THE 2018 USJC ANNUAL CONFERENCE IN TOKYO CLOSES ON OCTOBER 26. Register now and be sure not to miss our lineup of incredible speakers and timely topics. Signup for optional activities like the Networking Dinners and Offsite Visits also closes on October 26. The full conference agenda can be found online here. We hope to see you there!

Click here for information and to sign up for the Networking Dinners (11/7 & 11/9, starting at 7:00 pm each evening).
Click here for information and to sign up for the Offsite Visits (11/10, starting at various times throughout the day).
Click here for information and to sign up for the Japan Premiere of An American Story: Norman Mineta and His Legacy. (11/9, 4:00pm to 6:00pm — signup will remain open after 10/26; open to the public for anyone to join).

*For those of you joining us from the United States, don’t forget to request your absentee ballot so you can have your voice heard in this year’s midterm elections!

Recent Events

Exploring U.S.-Japan-Israel Collaboration in Automotive Technology

On October 17, USJC partnered with the American Jewish Committee (AJC)’s Asia Pacific Institute, the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP) and Japan Society to host a program in New York City. Called “Going Global: The Future of Auto Tech Opportunities for U.S.-Japan-Israel Cooperation,” this event focused on collaboration and innovation in automotive technology among the three countries.

USJC was represented by President Irene Hirano Inouye, AJC by member of the Executive Council Kim Pimley (who also served as moderator), CGP by Director General Osamu Honda, and Japan Society by President Motoatsu Sakurai. The panel speakers included Dr. Wendy Ju, Assistant Professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute; Ms. Yumi Kawabata, automotive journalist and advisor to the Japanese government; and Mr. Ben Rabinowitz, Founder and Managing Partner at Amiti Ventures.

Left to right: Ms. Pimley, Mr. Rabinowitz, Dr. Ju, and Ms. Kawabata. (Photo © Japan Society/Alan Klein)

The conversation touched on many issues related to the technology and implementation of self-driving vehicles, including the limitations of the current technology and how venture capitalism is driving innovation; the future of mobility and how self-driving vehicles will be deployed and accessed; and ethical and safety issues around accidents, insurance and security. The panelists also discussed how the United States, Japan and Israel are contributing to the research and advances in technology, as well as how they are each handling public policy and issues related to social acceptance.

Follow this link or click on the image below to view the recorded video of the event.


JWLI Welcome Reception (Fall 2018)

Many thanks to JWLI for the following blurb!

USJC Board Member Atsuko Fish, founder of the Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI), held a welcome reception on October 9 for four new JWLI Fellows. More than 40 people attended the reception at the Fish Family Foundation office in Boston, including USJC New England Regional Co-Chair Ginny Fordham from Berklee College of Music, and Council Leader and JWLI Executive Coach Yasu Yamakawa from Babson College. Thanks to those who came to the reception! The JWLI team is certain that the four Fellows will be learning extensively during their stay in Boston.

JWLI is supported by USJC. The Fellows will discuss their action plans at an event on October 30.

(L-R) Shihoko Fujiwara (2018 JWLI Fellow), Kerry Hoshino (2018 JWLI Fellow), Atsuko Fish, Susan Whitehead (Vice Chair of the Whitehead Institute and a guest speaker at the orientation), Mayumi Ando (2018 JWLI Fellow) and Noriko Kadonome (2018 JWLI Fellow).


The following article is part of a year-long series by participants of the 2018 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD).

Reflection from Darcy Endo-Omoto (JALD ’18)

For many of my fellow Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) 2018 classmates, our trip this past March to Japan was definitely a “life-changing” experience. The reflections that have been shared in USJC’s newsletters memorialize how fortunate we are to have been selected to represent our country.


The trip has given me a deeper appreciation and a sense of responsibility to continue to build, foster and strengthen the newfound relationships we have made between the United States and Japan, as well as our friendships as part of the Class of 2018. Through USJC and the JALD community, I look forward to further expanding these relationships.

The author with Prime Minister Abe

JALD Symposium

While in Japan, I had the privilege to be a part of the JALD Symposium panel along with David Ono and June Taylor. The topic was “The Japanese American Experience: Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the First Emigration from Japan to the U.S.” When Irene Hirano Inouye first asked me if I could speak to the “Hawaii Experience,” I was extremely worried that I would not do it justice. But this was the best gift that Irene could have given me. My research and discussions with others in preparation for my presentation gave me a better appreciation of the Hawaii experience. I learned so much about my personal family history, as well as their emigration to Hawaii in hopes of building a better life.

The author speaking at the JALD symposium

Staying Connected

Staying connected with others in the Class of 2018 is important to me. Since returning from the trip, I have been blessed to reconnect with fellow classmates Chris Uehara (Oregon), Sheri Bryant (California) and June Taylor (Colorado).


Strengthening our relationship with Japan by collaborating and identifying potential synergies is so important. We need to be mindful of these relationships, and constantly nurture and care for them.

During our visit to Japan in March, I mentioned to Foreign Minister Taro Kono that I work for the Hawaiian Electric Company, and highlighted our efforts to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2045. In August, I had the honor of hosting Minister Kono and his delegation at our company in Honolulu. The Foreign Minister was very engaged as I shared how Hawaiian Electric’s efforts lead the country in renewable integration.

With Consul General Koichi Ito (second from left), Foreign Minister Kono (fourth from left), Hawaiian Electric President & CEO (and Council Leader) Alan Oshima (fourth from right) and others

The Hawaii JALD alumni also had a wonderful get together with Minister Kono, Consul General Ito and their wives in Honolulu.

Sharing with the younger generation

My warm memories and positive experience in Japan have carried over to my family. Hearing all the wonderful things that I did, this summer, my son Taylor traveled to Japan with his buddies in lieu of a graduation party. I believe that passing along our JALD experience to the younger generation is important, and to Taylor, it was the best graduation gift that we could have given him.


ELP News

The following article is part of a year-long series by participants of the 2017 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program (ELP).

Reflection from Jaime Sugino (ELP ’17)

To start, I want to extend my deep gratitude to Irene Hirano Inouye, Kaz Maniwa, Allison Murata and all of the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) sponsors for creating, guiding and supporting the Program. Your generous involvement is the foundation that makes this program so wonderful, special and unique. It is an incredible honor and privilege to be part of the 2017 ELP Class, or, as we say, our 2017 ELP Family!

2017 ELP Class at the Annual Conference in Washington, DC, with Allison Murata, Kaz Maniwa and Britt Yamamoto

I have been a USJC Associate since 2011 and have attended every USJC Annual Conference. In the early years, USJC was always inspiring, but at times a challenging fit for me as a young person. Fortunately, over the years, I watched ELP grow in size and impact, and that helped change that perception for me. It also inspired me to apply.

Still, I didn’t realize how profound an experience ELP would be. The official program is less than a day-and-a-half, but in that short time I made unbelievably strong bonds and friendships. It’s a true support system, and one I’ve been very lucky to have this year. My position at Institutional Investor requires a substantial amount of travel, which is often tiring and solitary. But this year, I saw many of my ELP classmates in various cities. In January, I had a last-minute business trip to San Francisco, and managed to go bouldering with Kevin Otsuka and attend the NorCal ELP alumni Shinnenkai. In February, I grabbed dinner with Kyla Kitamura in DC. In March, I ate my way through a farmers market in Hawaii with Lea Okudara and other alumni. In May, I spent quality time with Danielle Higa and Yuko Watanabe and her family in Seattle. And my experience is not unique to me; I have heard countless stories like this from other ELP alumni.

Left: With Nate Gyotoku, Lynn Miyahira, Brendan Bradley, Nicole Velasco and David Kenji Chang in Hawaii; Right: With Danielle Higa and Yuko Watanabe in Seattle

Here in New York, ELP inspired me to be a more active leader in my community. This summer, I used my event planning experience to help Sakura Yagi (ELP ‘16) organize the NYC U40 Mixer. In August, I volunteered for a Japan Flood Relief Fundraiser and helped recruit an event sponsor, Sanrio. Earlier this year, I leveraged my web development startup, Bulb Rocket, to help develop a new ELP alumni homepage. And I have tried to be a connector for younger JA community members in New York, planning several meals, outings and celebrations.

I am honored and grateful to be a member of the 2017 ELP Class, and to constantly grow and benefit from my experience.

Left: NYC U40 Mixer at Sakagura; Right: Flood Relief Fundraiser at OKA in New York

Congratulations to the 2018 Class! Looking forward to meeting you all in Tokyo, and welcoming you to the ELP Family!

2018 ELP Bios Now Online

The biographies of the 2018 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders are now online here. Come to the 2018 Annual Conference to meet these accomplished young individuals in person!


Supporting Those Affected by the Japan Floods


Japan recently experienced what is considered the worst weather disaster the country has faced in 36 years. The floods and landslides in western Japan in July led to severe damage, most notably in the Ehime, Hiroshima and Okayama Prefectures. Hundreds of people lost their lives, many suffered damages to their homes, and many more were left without water.

The U.S.-Japan Council (USJC) and our friends at other U.S.-Japan related organizations offer heartfelt thoughts to all who are affected. Many in the U.S. have strong ties to the Ehime, Hiroshima and Okayama communities through people-to-people programs and exchanges. Many Japanese Americans also have family ties or personal connections to the region.

USJC, the Japanese American Citizens League, the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC), the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i and the United States-Japan Foundation have established the Japan Flood Friendship Fund (JFFF) to aid those who are affected. 100% of the contributions will go to relief efforts through our network of nonprofit organizations that are working on the ground.

Thank you to those who have donated. Over the past seven years since the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, we have worked with a number of local nonprofits in Japan. Based on this experience and our research about their current activities in the flood-affected regions, we have selected three organizations to disburse these funds to: Civic Force, Japan Platform and Peace Boat. The fund will remain open, and we thank you again for considering a donation to JFFF.

Please consider donating through the form here. If you would prefer to pay by check, please make your check payable to the U.S.-Japan Council and mail to:

U.S.-Japan Council
Attn: Japan Flood Friendship Fund
1819 L Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036

If you have any inquiries or would like to partner with us, please write to [email protected] or call 202-223-6840.

Upcoming Events

Finding Your Voice – Empowering You!

When: October 29, 2018
Where: USJC Sol Price, School of Public Policy (Sacramento, CA)

USJC’s Regional Women in Leadership program, with funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is pleased to present a free-of-charge panel discussion, workshop, and reception. Hear from State of California Governor Appointees, leaders and experts in higher education and business women, who will share their personal journeys into leadership while taking risks along the way. Expert facilitators will then lead breakout groups towards fashioning personal next steps whether it is choosing a mentor, seeking further training or expressing your ambition.

Click here for more information and to register.

Advocating for an Inclusive Society

When: October 30, 2018
Where: CIC (Cambridge, MA)

Fellows of the Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI) and participants of the TOMODACHI Disability Leadership Training Program in America will provide insight into some of the social issues Japan faces today, the lessons they’ve learned during their time in Boston, and the ways in which these advocates plan to take action when they return to Japan.

Click here for more information and to register.

Japan Premiere of An American Story: Norman Mineta and His Legacy


When: November 9, 2018
Where: Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel (Tokyo, Japan)

Presented by Mineta Legacy Project, the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and the U.S.-Japan Council, the documentary film, An American Story: Norman Mineta and His Legacy, chronicles the life and career of Secretary Norman Mineta (Vice Chair of the USJC Board of Councilors), an Asian American pioneer who rose to the highest levels of public service. Join us for the Japan premiere of An American Story: Norman Mineta and His Legacy and panel featuring Secretary Norman Mineta and filmmakers and Council Leaders Dianne Fukami and Debra Nakatomi. There will be a light reception following the panel. This screening is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Click here for more information and to register and here to see the film trailer.

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II


When: Ongoing through December 8, 2018
Where: National Museum of American History (Washington, DC)

Last year, the National Museum of American History opened an exhibit to mark 75 years since Executive Order 9066 authorized the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. On display are artifacts, photographs and stories collected from Japanese American families. There will also be public programming throughout the year related to this exhibit.

For more information on the exhibit, please visit the official website.


Membership Engagement & Regional Coordinator

The Membership Engagement & Regional Coordinator will have primary responsibility for the administrative and operational support of activities relating to the engagement of members, including membership and regional activities. Duties will include leading operational membership activities, database management, monthly reconciliation of membership and donor contributions, and supporting the Director of External Relations in the implementation of regional events and activities.

Click here for more information about the position.

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.

TOMODACHI Marketing & Communications Manager (Tokyo)

The Marketing & Communications Manager is responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive strategic communications program to develop the profile and brand of the TOMODACHI Initiative among a diverse audience and stakeholders, including senior corporate executives, government leaders, program participants, donors, press and the general public. The Marketing & Communications Manager will work closely with teams within the TOMODACHI Initiative in the implementation of this mission, as well as with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

Click here for more information about the position.