Overview

The Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program provides the opportunity for a select group of Japanese American leaders from across the United States to travel to Japan to engage with Japanese leaders in the business, government, academic, non-profit and cultural sectors. The trip also allows Japanese leaders to gain a greater understanding of multicultural America through the experiences of a diverse group of Japanese Americans. Upon their return, delegates collaborate with JALD alumni, the local consulates, the U.S.-Japan Council and local and national community organizations to continue strengthening ties between the United States and Japan.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) represented in the United States by the Embassy of Japan in Washington, DC and seventeen consulate general/consular offices is the sponsor of the program. The U.S.-Japan Council provides administration and organization for this program. The program began in 2000 and 227 delegates have participated to date.

2024 Delegation

Congratulations to the following individuals, who were selected to participate in the 2024 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD). After attending a pre-trip orientation in Los Angeles from January 29 to 30, they will visit Tokyo and Osaka from March 1 to 9. Welcome, 2024 JALD delegates!

NAOMI OTSWALD KAWAMURA (Seattle, Washington)
Executive Director, Densho

YOH KAWANAMI (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Director, Hawaiian Electric Company

DEREK KENMOTSU (San Mateo, California)
Head of Partnerships, AI/ML and Indo-Pacific, Defense Innovation Unit

DARIN MANO (Salt Lake City, Utah)
City Council Member, Salt Lake City Council

SUSAN MIYAGI McCORMAC (New York, New York)
Founder & Editor-In-Chief, JapanCulture-NYC

TOMOKO HOSAKA MULLANEY (Washington, DC)
Executive Director, U.S.-Japan Business Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce 

ANNA NINOYU (Chicago, Illinois)
Owner & Principal Architect, METIS Design

ROB OHNO (Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida)
President and CEO, ANNIKA Foundation 

GEORGE TANAKA (Los Angeles, California)
Managing Director, U.S. Bank

DAVID YOSHIMURA (Des Moines, Iowa)
Partner, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Background

The relationship between the U.S. and Japan is considered by many as the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and Japanese Americans are uniquely positioned to help shape it. The connections between Japanese and Japanese Americans are complex. While World War II played a major role in severing ties between Japanese Americans and Japan, today’s opportunities for collaboration and mutual benefit are great and demand a renewed commitment to involving Japanese Americans in U.S.-Japan relations. In their May 2022 Joint Statement, Prime Minister Kishida and President Biden “paid tribute to the history, contributions and cultural heritage of Japanese Americans and concurred to engage next generation Japanese American leaders in the future Japan-U.S. cooperation.” (Joint Statement of the United States and Japan)

The Japanese American Leadership Delegation provides Japanese American leaders with the opportunity to become acquainted or further engaged with Japan and participate in discussions related to the role that Japanese Americans can play in addressing key issues that face both countries, now and in the future.

The first delegation was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to visit Japan in 2000.  It included third and fourth generation Japanese Americans selected from various professional fields including the educational, cultural, philanthropic, legal and political sectors.  Since the initial trip, delegations of Japanese American leaders from throughout the United States have visited Japan every year since 2002, except during the pandemic years (2020-2022).

Participants in this program have created an alumni network to ensure that the commitment to strengthening U.S.-Japan relations is maintained.  A commitment to follow-up after the trip is a required part of the program.

Program Alumni

JALD alumni have created a network to ensure that the commitment to strengthening U.S.-Japan relations is maintained. There have been JALD national reunions and several alumni groups have traveled back to Japan together to build on and sustain important relationships built on the program. Alumni of the program are invited and encouraged to join the U.S.-Japan Council’s international network of leaders and participate in Council programming and events.

Click here to read about the 2023 delegation’s trip to Japan. Click here for reports from previous classes.