On March 11 – 12, 2022, the 2020 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) met in Los Angeles in lieu of their scheduled trip to Japan. Despite the trip’s postponement, the meeting was an opportunity to update the delegates on current affairs in Japan. Topics included Japanese politics, regional security, social justice, and the impact of COVID-19 on Japan.
The two-day meeting kicked off with welcome remarks from U.S.-Japan Council (USJC) Board Chair Paul Yonamine and organizational updates from CEO Suzanne Basalla.
The meeting included presentations from guest speakers who provided current information on Japan and Japanese American communities. Speakers included Yasuko Uchida, The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles; Glen S. Fukushima, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; Yuki Tatsumi, Japan Program, Stimson Center; Ann Burroughs, Japanese American National Museum; and David Ono (JALD ‘18), ABC New7 Eyewitness News.
A panel was moderated by USJC board member Yuko Kaifu of the JAPAN HOUSE, Los Angeles. Panelists included Hironori Kobayashi, All Nippon Airways; Stan Koyanagi (JALD ’08), ORIX Corporation; and Debra Nakatomi (JALD ’09), Nakatomi & Associates. The panel discussed current trends relating to companies transitioning from the pandemic to an endemic and the business challenges they face in Japan and the United States.
Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles Akira Muto provided a briefing on the current geo-political situation in the Indo-Pacific. Consul Mayumi Tsubakimoto and Jennifer Usyak, Advisor, Policy and Partnerships also provided useful insight on the weekend’s discussions.
Prior to the meeting in Los Angeles, delegates met with their respective Consuls General to discuss regional affairs. Among various themes discussed were climate change and the challenges of transitioning to clean energy, the influx of Japanese businesses to the United States, Asian hate crimes and initiatives in support of the AAPI community, and the importance of mentoring the next generation of leaders. The delegates were encouraged to have consistent communication and relations with their respective Consulates regarding the Japanese American Leadership Delegation.
USJC board members Dr. Curtiss Rooks (JALD ’04) and Sachi Hamai also contributed to the discussions, while Alan Nishio (JALD ’00) provided a walking tour of Little Tokyo which included a visit to the Grand Opening of the Terasaki Budokan.
Special thanks to the Japan Business Association of Southern California (JBA) and Consul General of Japan, Los Angeles Akira Muto for hosting two separate dinners for the delegates and special guests.
To see more photos from the event, please click here.
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, nonprofit 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 program alumni, the local consulates, the U.S.-Japan Council and local and national community organizations to continue strengthening ties between the U.S. and Japan. The trip was postponed in the last several years due to the pandemic. The JALD Class of 2020 is expected to visit Japan in Spring 2023.