Fred Katayama (JALD ’23)
USJC Executive Vice President
The delegates of the 2023 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program met a star-studded lineup of Japanese movers and shakers that would be the envy of any visiting Senator. The ten members returned home on March 11 after a week of meetings, discussions and networking opportunities. JALD aims to strengthen U.S.-Japan relations by connecting top leaders from both sides of the Pacific.
Under the glare of media flashbulbs, the group met Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio. The Prime Minister mentioned that he had learned about the history of Japanese Americans when he toured the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, and he expressed his gratitude for the contributions Nikkei have made in strengthening ties between the two nations.
The delegation thanked Kishida for recognizing the important role of the Japanese American community. Members told him the trip deepened their understanding of Japan through the people-to-people connections they had made.
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Among the other leaders the delegates met were Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel and Digital Transformation Minister KONO Taro, who has met each of the past 19 delegations. The delegates also held talks with representatives from the Japan-U.S. Parliamentary Friendship League, Japan Foundation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shizenkan University, USJC members in Japan and big business groups Keidanren and Keizai Doyukai. They also enjoyed a special treat: tea with Princess Takamado at the Akasaka Palace.
Later that week, the delegates participated in a symposium where they talked about their personal experiences that made them strong advocates for diversity and inclusion. The roughly 100 individuals who attended learned about the social justice movements spawned during the pandemic and what they can personally do to promote diversity and inclusion. (For more information, click here.) The delegates capped off the week by attending a “Future of Food” conference organized by Pasona Group and the U.S.-Japan Council and one last night of karaoke. (For more information about the event, click here.)
The trip started with a two-day swing through Shizuoka Prefecture, where the delegates toured a tea museum and participated in a tea ceremony before visiting Governor KAWAKATSU Heita.
The JALD program is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and organized by USJC.
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~Fred Katayama, USJC Executive Vice President (JALD ’23)