U.S.-Japan Council Member Newsletter (June 25th, 2015)

Third Business Advisory Board features Dr. Shinya Yamanaka

Dr. Yamanaka addressing the audience

Following the success of the inaugural Business Advisory Board (BAB) meeting in November 2014 and the second meeting last March, USJC held its third BAB meeting at the Tokyo American Club on June 11. BAB is led by Mr. Masaaki Tanaka, Vice Chair of the USJC Board of Councilors, and Mr. Paul Yonamine, Member of the USJC Board of Directors.

Nobel Laureate and Member of the USJC Board of Councilors Dr. Shinya Yamanaka keynoted the gathering. He addressed close to 100 Japanese and American business leaders, shared his personal journey and accomplishments in science innovation, and acknowledged the diverse team members who work with him to achieve groundbreaking results.

Dr. Yamanaka delivered his presentation with humor and wit, entertaining the audience while also imparting the critical and broad applications of his research. He emphasized the value of interdisciplinary studies and teamwork to drive innovation and push the boundaries of science. He reiterated the importance of research goals that aim to contribute to a higher quality of life. During the reception that followed his speech, the audience discussed and debated ethics, immortality, innovation and leadership.

Dr. Yamanaka shares a laugh with guests

Ms. Miki Tsusaka, Senior Partner and Managing Director of Boston Consulting Group, was impressed with Dr. Yamanaka’s team, which included women leaders. When Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki asked where the idea for iPS stem cell research had come from, Dr. Yamanaka explained that he was inspired by the results of another experiment that a senior researcher conducted. Mr. Akihiro Ichimura of Mitsui Chemicals mentioned that it is important for businesses, not only government, to seriously consider investing in quality research. He further stated that USJC events like Business Advisory Board meetings offer essential cross-industry and exchange opportunities for Japanese and American leaders to address vital issues such as these.

BAB meetings are supported in part by USJC interns from Japanese and American universities. Ms. Naomi Cormier, TOMODACHI alumna and senior at Wellesley College, said she was encouraged and inspired by Mr. Yonamine, who emceed this meeting. “Though many of his peers were eager to speak to him,” she said, referring to his position as President of IBM Japan, “he greeted us warmly as we approached him, and thanked us for helping at the event.”

The Business Advisory Board is comprised of business leaders in Japan with extensive experience in the United States, and American business leaders working in Japan. They are invited to advise USJC leadership on innovative programs, with the aim to diversify membership and expand the Council’s impact in Japan.

(L-R) Mr. Yonamine; Mr. Tanaka; USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye; Dr. Yamanaka; Mr. Dennis Teranishi, USJC Chairman; and Mr. Ernest Higa, Chair of the USJC(J) Board of Directors

See more photos from the meeting here.

2015 Annual Conference

Early Bird Registration Rates End on June 30!

This year’s Conference will be held from November 9 to 10 in Tokyo, Japan at the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel, with select Board Member activities taking place at The Capitol Hotel Tokyu. Early bird registration rates are in effect only through June 30. Secure your attendance now at the lowest available rate while space is still available! Follow the links below and feel free to contact Mr. Shane Graves ([email protected]), Program Manager, if you have any questions.

Registration (English):

Registration (Japanese): https://www.regonline.com/USJCAnnualConference2015JP

Two-Day Rate (Early Bird)

  • $350 – General Public
  • $250 – USJC Board of Councilors, Board of Directors, Council Members (incl. Friends of the Council), Corporate Members, Business Advisory Board Members
  • $150 – USJC Associate Members, TOMODACHI Alumni, Young Professionals (age 40 & under)

One-Day Rate (Early Bird)

  • $225 – General Public
  • $175 – USJC Board of Councilors, Board of Directors, Council Members (incl. Friends of the Council), Corporate Members, Business Advisory Board Members
  • $125 – USJC Associate Members, TOMODACHI Alumni, Young Professionals (age 40 & under)

Confirmed keynote & panel speakers include:

  • His Excellency Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister, Japan (invited)
  • Mr. Nobuyuki Hirano, President & CEO, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.
  • Mr. Andy Anderson, Co-Chair, Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund
  • Mr. Yasuchika Hasegawa, Chairman of the Board, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited: Member, USJC Board of Councilors
  • Mr. Ernest Higa, Chairman & CEO, Higa Industries Co., Ltd.; Wendy’s Japan LLC; K.K. Higa Investments; Director, JC Comsa Corporation; Member, USJC Board of Directors
  • Mr. James Higa, Executive Director, Philanthropic Ventures Foundation & Mentor in Residence, Index Ventures & Member, USJC Board of Directors
  • Ms. Kathy Matsui, Vice Chair, Goldman Sachs Japan Co., Ltd. & Member, USJC (Japan) Board of Directors
  • Hon. Norman Y. Mineta, President & CEO, Mineta & Associates, LLC & Vice Chairman, USJC Board of Councilors
  • Hon. Yasuhide Nakayama, State Minister for Foreign Affairs; Member, The House of Representatives, Japan
  • Mr. Takeshi Niinami, President, Suntory Holdings Limited; Member, USJC Board of Councilors
  • Mr. Masi Oka, Producer, Actor, Writer, and Director & President, Mobius Productions
  • Dr. Daniel Okimoto, Director-Emeritus, Shorenstein APARC, Stanford University & Chairman, USJC Board of Councilors
  • Mr. Charles Rivkin, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Amb. John V. Roos, CEO, The Roos Group
  • Ms. Susan Roos, COO, The Roos Group
  • Hon. Mark Takai, U.S. House of Representatives (HI-01); USJC Board of Councilors
  • Mr. Futoshi Toba, Mayor, Rikuzentakata
  • Ms. Jan Yanehiro, President, Jan Yanehiro, Inc. & Member, USJC Board of Directors
  • Mr. Paul Yonamine, Country General Manager and President, IBM Japan, Ltd., & Member, USJC Board of Directors

The most up-to-date Annual Conference information can be found on the USJC website.

We look forward to seeing you in Tokyo in November!

Recent Events

Dinner Reception by the Consul-General of Japan – Detroit

Consul-General Katayama (third from left) and Mrs. Katayama with Ms. Hirano Inouye, USJC Members (Council Members Dayne Kono (left), Wesley Stockstill (second from left) and Toshiki Masaki (fifth from right)) and members of the Detroit community

On June 18, Dr. Kazuyuki Katayama, Consul-General of Japan in Detroit, graciously hosted a dinner reception for USJC Members with his wife Yukari. USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye attended this reception at the Consul-General’s residence, as did several Detroit community and business leaders.

Dr. Katayama reflected on the first 18 months of his current assignment to Detroit, where he is responsible for Michigan and Ohio. USJC’s commitment to build presence in the Motor City area complements Dr. Katayama’s objective to further strengthen relations between Japan and this area of the United States.

During her stay in Detroit, Ms. Hirano Inouye also met with local USJC Members and delegates and alumni of the TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program at the downtown office of the Kresge Foundation. The 2015 American delegates of this program will travel to Tokyo and Sendai next month; the 2015 Japanese delegates are scheduled to visit Detroit and Washington, DC in September.

(L-R) Mr. Anthony Ray, 2013 alumnus of the TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program; Mr. Masaki; Mr. Anthony Askew, 2015 delegate; Ms. Hirano Inouye; Ms. Marie Alexander, 2015 delegate; Mr. Benjamin Kennedy, 2014 alumnus and Associate Member; Mr. Kono


TOMODACHI Sumitomo Scholars Welcome Back and Send-Off

(Front row L-R) Ms. Hirano Inouye; Mr. Kuniharu Nakamura, Representative Director, President and CEO of Sumitomo Corporation; Mr. Teranishi with (back row L-R) 2014 Sumitomo Scholars Ms. Ayaka Ogita, Mr. Kazunari Tanabe and Ms. Yukako Hirakawa

On June 12, USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye and Chairman Dennis Teranishi attended the TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholars Post-Presentation and Award Ceremony in Tokyo. This event brought together the 2014 and 2015 scholars and the sponsors of the TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship Program at Sumitomo Corporation’s Headquarters.

Click here to see more details of the event, or to read messages that the 2014 Scholars have shared with the 2015 Scholars.

Host Families Needed in Bay Area

Host families are needed for a TOMODACHI program in the San Francisco/Bay area! The TOMODACHI Summer 2015 SoftBank Leadership Program is looking for families to host a student (or two) overnight during a weekend of the program. The students will be staying on the campus of the University of California for the majority of the program, which runs from July 21 to August 12. One of the weekends during the program will include a homestay visit for the students. If you are interested in hosting or know someone who might be, contact On-site Coordinator David Beiser for details or additional information.

TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program News Corner

The following is part of a year-long series of articles by the 2014 class of the TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program.

Reflection from Tim Higashide (ELP 2014)

The author (second from left) at a welcome reception for the new Consul-General of Japan in Denver, hosted by the City of Denver and the Japan America Society of Colorado

The TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) offers unique opportunities to meet a group of life-long friends. By the way, it can also have a profound impact on your life . . .

There were a few things I took away from Hawaii, where I participated in the program. First, I met a group of passionate leaders who share a heritage, values, and a vision to build, support, and sustain a strong U.S.-Japan relationship. Second, it gave me a renewed understanding of my responsibilities as an emerging leader in the community. For me, the impact of the program also came in the form of a career change. Four months after the Annual Conference, I left the corporate business sector. I was presented with an opportunity to work with a team of talented individuals to revitalize Sakura Square, a place that has been the hub of Colorado’s Japanese American community for over 40 years.

The author (third from right) at a community workshop by artist Traci Kato-Kiriyama (third from left) on inter-generational communication, hosted by Sakura Foundation, Mile High JACL, and the Japanese American Resource Center of Colorado

Sakura Square occupies an entire square block in downtown Denver. It is located in one of the most actively developed areas within blocks of a baseball stadium and active nightlife scenes of the city. The square includes a 99-year-old temple, a 20-story residential building, and commercial retail spaces that include a Japanese grocery store, restaurants, and community organizations.

The local Japanese American community built the current square in the early 70s during a wave of urban redevelopment. There was already a strong Japanese American presence in the lower downtown area at the time, but the leaders had to make a decision to consolidate the business community into a square block. Over the years, it has served as a site for the annual Cherry Blossom festival and provided housing for senior members of the community.

A view from Sakura Square looking towards lower downtown and the ballpark districts

Today, the square is looking to transition: a transition that revitalizes an aging infrastructure and builds strong cultural programs that will bring the community closer together based on our culture. We already hosted two successful community workshops just in the month of June, focusing on inter-generational communication and the Asian Pacific Islander (API) LGBTQ community, both with guest speakers from California. Over 150 people attended these events, and we are looking to hold more events like these to make Sakura Square truly a community hub.

As I am going through this new chapter of my career, I am constantly reminded of the fact that I always have my ELP friends that I can rely on for support and advice. We are all over the world (literally!) but we are always connected through shared values and experiences. I strive to make a difference in people’s lives, and the TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program has given me just the opportunity I needed to achieve this goal.

Applications Open for 2015

Applications are now open for for the 2015 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program! The opportunity includes a leadership orientation and attendance to the USJC Annual Conference in Tokyo, Japan. Please visit the program webpage to see more information, including selection criteria. The application deadline is Sunday, July 12.


JALD 2015 Report Now Available

The 2015 Class of the Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) Program have completed their report! Please click on the image below to read it online. Thank you to all of our supporters who make the JALD program possible, and to the 2015 Class for their beautiful report!

Member News

Lori Matsukawa Speaks at the University of Washington

Ms. Matsukawa’s selfie with the 2015 graduates

Council Member Lori Matsukawa was named the 2015 Distinguished Alumna by the University of Washington (UW) Communication Department, and recently spoke at UW. Here are some inspiring words from Ms. Matsukawa:

“One of the honors of being named the University of Washington Communication Department’s 2015 Distinguished Alumna is getting to address the graduates at commencement (June 11). It was thrilling to see all those eager faces ready to conquer the world! I told them humanity needs its stories and its storytellers. Believe and soar!”

Margaret Cummisky to Lead Hawaiian Airlines’ Federal Relations

Council Member Margaret Cummiksy has taken a new position with Hawaiian Airlines as their new Managing Director of Federal Government Relations. Ms. Cummisky formerly worked as the Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs with the U.S. Department of Commerce, and before that was a senior staff member for Senator Daniel K. Inouye. She will open the Washington, DC office for Hawaiian Airlines on June 27.

In a press release by Hawaiian Airlines, the company’s Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications and Public Affairs is quoted as saying: “Margaret’s knowledge of Hawai’i and Washington makes her the ideal person to amplify Hawaiian [Airlines]’ voice in our nation’s Capital.” For more information, please see the release here.

Upcoming Events

July 18-19 – Japan Day Chicago 2015 (Chicago)

  • Date & Time: Saturday, July 18, 2015; 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Sunday, July 19, 2015; 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Venue: Arlington Park / Arlington International Racecourse (2200 W Euclid Ave, Arlington Heights, IL 60005)

This event, sponsored in part by USJC, is the largest Japan showcase in the Midwest. The weekend-long event will consist of various “J-Taste,” “J-Tradition” and “J-Entertainment” interactive showcases of Japanese culture.

Exhibitions include karate, judo and Shinkendo demonstrations, as well as Taiko drum and Okinawa dance performances. Several food businesses specializing in ramen and other authentic Japanese cuisines will also have booths at Japan Day. To purchase tickets and for more information, please click here.


External Communications Specialist – TOMODACHI Initiative (Tokyo)

Working under the direction of the Executive Director of the TOMODACHI Initiative in Japan, the External Communications Specialist will assist in developing and implementing a comprehensive strategic marketing strategy, and will play a critical role in creating a strategic social media plan that promotes the brand and impact of the TOMODACHI Initiative among a diverse audience, including senior corporate executives, government leaders, recipients of support, other donors and the press. The External Communications Specialist will interact closely with donors and corporate executives to market programs, while working closely with teams from the U.S.-Japan Council in the United States and Japan, and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo in the implementation of this mission. This position is offered for a one-year contract, with an option for renewal each year.

Click here to see the PDF version of this job description. Click here to see the PDF version of this job description in Japanese. Please note that it is important for the External Communications Specialist to be a native Japanese speaker.

A listing of qualifications and responsibilities is available on the USJC website.