U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (August 21st, 2014)


2014 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders

USJC is proud to announce the members of the 2014 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program. In its fifth year, the program will bring 12 Japanese American young professionals to Honolulu, Hawaii for the 2014 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference. The Emerging Leaders will participate in a leadership orientation program, network with high level leaders, attend all conference events and participate in the Annual Members Meeting.

Please join us in welcoming:

  • Mr. Jonathan Abbott – Director, KidArt International (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Mr. Kenneth Barron – Development Director, The National Bureau of Asian Research (Seattle, WA)
  • Mr. Brandon Marc Higa – Grants Development Specialist, University of Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii)
  • Mr. Nozomu Tim Higashide – Business Project Manager, Alvarez & Associates (Denver, CO)
  • Ms. Lynn Miyahira – Marketing Director, University of Hawaii, Shidler College of Business (Honolulu, Hawaii)
  • Ms. Mana Nakagawa – PhD Candidate, Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
  • Ms. Lauren Ohata – Health Policy Specialist, Department of Health and Human Services (Washington, DC)
  • Ms. Kira Teshima – Associate, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Ms. Stacy Uchida – Director of Operations, Market Track (Chicago, IL)
  • Mr. Kenshiro Uki – General Manager, Sun Noodle New Jersey, LLC (Teterboro, NJ)
  • Mr. Taiki Wakayama – President, W&E Hospitality, Inc. (New York, NY)
  • Ms. Mio Yamamoto – Managing Director, World in Tohoku (Cambridge, MA)

For more information, see the TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program webpage, where their full bios will be uploaded soon!

Register Now for the Annual Conference

Registration for the Annual Conference remains open through September 21! Don’t miss this opportunity to attend the best Annual Conference yet in beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii.

(click here for a bilingual flyer)

Featured Breakout Session in this Newsletter

Capitalizing on Business Growth Opportunities Abroad

This session will explore growth strategies between the United States and Japan in the context of encouraging companies to expand activities overseas. Speakers will discuss how traditional companies with large overseas operations are capitalizing on these opportunities and new ways to globalize their business. Special attention will be given to Japanese monetary and fiscal policies designed to stimulate economic growth.


  • Mr. Tab Bowers, Executive Vice President, Marketing, Business and Product Development, American Savings Bank (moderator)
  • Mr. Norihiko Ishiguro, Vice-Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan
  • Mr. Richard Lim, Director of the Department of Planning, Economic Development & Tourism, State of Hawaii
  • Mr. Takeshi Niinami, President, Suntory Holdings Ltd. (invited)
  • Mr. Masaaki Tanaka, Deputy President, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.

Japanese Diet Members Visit California for Policy Event and More


On August 11, USJC partnered with the Japan America Society of Southern California and the Japan Business Association of Southern California to host “Prime Minister Abe’s Economic ‘Third Arrow’: Implications for the U.S.-Japan Alliance,” a panel discussion between Japanese and American legislators at the Miyako Hybrid Hotel in Torrance, CA. The event featured four members of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party: Mr. Taro Kono, Ms. Karen Makishima, Mr. Jun Matsumoto and Mr. Keisuke Suzuki, as well as U.S. House of Representatives Members including Mr. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) and Mr. Mark Allan Takano (D-CA).

In addition to this event, USJC Members in Los Angeles and San Francisco had a chance to repay Mr. Kono’s years of hospitality towards the Council and the Japanese American Leadership Delegation by arranging a series of meetings with local political, business and community leaders, as well as reconnecting with various USJC Members in both areas. Special thanks to USJC Board of Directors Vice Chair Henry Ota for making the Los Angeles visit a success, and helping expand USJC’s legislative engagement to regional programming.

In Northern California, the focus shifted to themes of innovation and entrepreneurialism. Council Members James Higa, Takeo Hoshi, Kenji Kushida, Genevieve Shiroma and Tatsunori Suzuki were joined by Mr. James Kondo of Twitter in making presentations to Diet Members Kono, Makishima and Matsumoto. Finally, in recognition of Mr. Kono’s dedication to the Japanese American Leadership Delegation, 14 JALD alumni from across the region attended dinner with the politicians.

BEYOND Tomorrow Reception and Lunch in Boston

On August 8, USJC and the Japan Society of Boston hosted a reception and lunch welcoming the students participating in the BEYOND Tomorrow program in Boston and New York. Special thanks to member of the USJC Board of Directors Atsuko Fish for organizing the event! See below for a recap by Ms. Jun-Ang Ni, Intern at the Fish Family Foundation.

USJC Board Member Atsuko Fish speaking to BEYOND Tomorrow program participants

On Friday August 1st, nine students of BEYOND Tomorrow embarked on a week-long journey from Tohoku to New York and Boston. During that week, these individuals experienced, absorbed, and discovered the magic of innovation, what it has done for the American people, and what it could possibly do for the future of Tohoku.

Thus, on August 8th, at a reception co-hosted by the Japan Society of Boston and the U.S.-Japan Council within the house of renowned U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Edwin O. Reischauer, the students presented to the crowd what they had learned in the short but profound trip. New Consul General of Japan in Boston Tsutomu Himeno and U.S.-Japan Council Board Member Atsuko Fish welcomed the students and applauded them for their bravery and ability to continue marching forward away from their pasts.

With their clear words, pure and raw emotions, and blossoming minds, Masahide Chiba, Minori Endo, Hazuki Kamada, Takuya Kimura, Ryo Ninakawa, Yoshifumi Ono, Nanami Takahashi, Shuyu Takahashi and Noriko Yusa captured the hearts of their audience. They introduced their past, present, and future, sharing the hidden pain and burdens the tsunami washed upon their backs, while describing their dreams and aspirations for the future. Using Hazuki’s heartbreaking tale of losing loved ones as a transition, the audience observed their faces harden with the shadow of perseverance in the presence of great loss. As a team, the students utilized their natural charm and humor in order to describe the social climate in Japan and compared it to America’s, explaining that in their country, there is a dearth of “innovation.”

The students agreed that their trip to America has opened their eyes to the significance of forging a new route rather than defaulting to the beaten path. They have made it their own personal goals to become responsible citizens of not only Tohoku and Japan, but of the globe. Each and every one of these young adults has their eyes set on creating a world where new ideas and change are welcomed with open arms. Like the phoenix, these students and countless members of their community have made a vow to turn the disaster into the ashes from which a new generation of leaders will rise. On their wings, they will bear the entire world aloft and bring it BEYOND Tomorrow.

(TOMODACHI has a special relationship with BEYOND Tomorrow, working with them through programs like the TOMODACHI Summer BEYOND Tomorrow U.S. Program and the Global Leadership Academy.)

2014 TOMODACHI Summer Softbank Leadership Program Concludes

The 2014 TOMODACHI Summer Softbank Leadership Program came to a close with a graduation ceremony on August 10. Here is a quote from USJC Council Member Dianne Fukami, who gave remarks at the event:

For the past four years, I’ve experienced wonderful things as a result of my USJC membership, but few quite as moving as the TOMODACHI Summer SoftBank Leadership Program Graduation Ceremony at UC Berkeley on August 10, where I had the pleasure of speaking.

As I witnessed the high school participants give emotional goodbyes to their teachers, heard stories about how transformative the last three weeks have been for them and talked to Ayusa program folks who related stories of the changes they’ve seen in the students, I was filled with pride at being a small part of this via USJC. There were so many times I had to wipe my eyes because of tears.

Thank you to Kaz (Kaz Maniwa, USJC Senior Vice President) for giving me the opportunity to see this for myself. I am also thankful that Irene (Hirano Inouye) and the USJC leadership had the foresight to see the possibilities and potential of the TOMODACHI Initiative and the impact and resulting ripple effect it can have on so many. I hope all of my fellow USJC Members have the opportunity to experience what I did yesterday.

– Dianne Fukami

Other TOMODACHI Summer 2014 Updates

2014 TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program Successfully Completed!Highlights from a University of Hawaii Manoa Scholar:
As TOMODACHI Inouye scholars we are all striving to learn more about ourselves and the world. Textbooks can’t even begin to touch upon the lessons we’ve acquired on this trip. In just 10 days we have all grown, expanded, broadened our hearts and minds; I am changed. […] From the history that we have with Ehime and seeing first hand how great achievements can come from the ashes of tragedy, Sen. Daniel Inouye set an amazing example of how there is no substitute heart to heart communication.” — UH Manoa Scholar, Kelly Iwasaki

The final two groups of the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars from University of Massachusetts Boston and University of Hawai’i Manoa recently returned to the United States after completing their ten-day visit to Japan.

Scholars from University of Hawaii, Manoa traveled to Ehime Prefecture, where they met with Governor Tokihiro Nakamura, visited Matsuyama Castle, toured Ehime Beverage Company, viewed summer fireworks, rode bicycles over the Kurashima Kaikyo Bridge and participated in a cultural exchange with Matsuyama University students. They brought the Aloha Spirit by performing two Hula dances – ‘Spread a Little Aloha” and “Maunaleo” – for the students and faculty at Matsuyama University. In turn, the Matsuyama students taught them traditional Japanese dance Tanko Bushi.

UH Manoa students perform the “Maunaleo” for Matsuyama University students

In Tokyo, they attended a panel on Japanese American Working Women In Japan featuring member of the USJC Board of DirectorsRoyanne Doi, Council Member Evelyn Tokuyama, Associate Member Eriko Talleyand TOMODACHI Program Manager Miori Oka. They were also invited to visit the headquarters and tour the showroom of Fund for Exchanges donor Hitachi Ltd.On a visit to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, they attended a panel organized by TOMODACHI on Tohoku NPOs & Innovation featuring speakers from a number of organizations doing post 3-11 work in Tohoku.Read blog post reflections and haiku written by the students and view their pictures/video on their program blog.

Governor Nakamura with a TOMODACHI participant

Check out highlights from the University of Massachusetts Boston trip in the next issue of the U.S.-Japan Council newsletter.
The TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars program is carried out under the KAKEHASHI Project, a youth exchange project, promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan. The U.S.-Japan Council is supporting the implementation of this program through coordination with the Japan Foundation and the Laurasian Institution.

TOMODACHI Dance Program alumni share their experiences in Maryland

On Wednesday August 13th, the student participants of the TOMODACHI Northwestern High School Dance Exchange program gathered at their school in Hyattsville, MD to share reflections of their exchange in Fukuoka with presentations to friends, family and teachers. Faculty lead for the program, Ms. Truly Bennett, expressed thanks to the TOMODACHI Initiative for the grant and local DC staff support to making the program happen. The students recalled their feelings of excitement and anxiety before traveling to Japan, but expressed how they were welcomed by the school in Fukuoka, became fast friends with the various members of the Wakaba Dance team, and learned key principles of teamwork from the Japanese team. Nearly all the participants expressed that this was a ‘life-changing’ experience and were making plans to return to Japan, begin studying Japanese language, and already talking about the hope of a future visit to the US by the Wakaba High School Dance team.


TOMODACHI Students’ Day in Washington, DC!

On August 15th, five TOMODACHI high school students from Tohoku participating in the TOMODACHI Summer English Language Study Program in Maryland visited DC for a day of activities with the U.S.-Japan Council, TOMODACHI alumni and local student volunteers. They met U.S.-Japan Council President Irene Hirano Inouye, talking with her about their career aspirations and asking about the important qualities for leadership. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Suzanne Basalla and Director for Development Georgette Furukawa-Martinez spoke about their experiences working in U.S.-Japan relations.

Following this was a roundtable discussion with Japanese who were working or studying in the United States. Discussants included TOMODACHI alumni and first-year student at American University Atsuko Arimoto, Diplomat Kotaro Shiojiri from the Embassy of Japan, Yuta Nagasaki, a rising senior at George Washington University, and Chihiro Kawana, a rising junior in the Dual Degree program with Ritsumeikan University and American University. The speakers spoke with students about their motivations for pursuing work or study in America and offered words of encouragement with respect to considering global educational and career pathways. The students expressed interest in working or studying abroad and were excited to hear about the different kinds of opportunities available.

After the morning meeting and roundtable, the students met up with TOMODACHI alumni and local student (high school and college) volunteers from around the DC-metro area for a potluck picnic and scavenger hunt on the National Mall. This potluck gave the students an opportunity to practice their English with volunteers their own age. And, from the exchanges of contact information, it was clear that many have forged new friendships!


Japan-American Student Conference (JASC) Final Forum in Washington DC!

American and Japanese delegates of the 66th JASC completed their Final Forum presentations on August 20th in Washington, DC at the Japan Information and Culture Center. The Final Forum was the culmination of the month-long, multi-site program which brought delegates together in roundtables to discuss and explore a variety of topics in the context of U.S.-Japan relations.

At the forum, the students summarized their experiences traveling to the four program sites (Des Moines, San Francisco, New York and Washington, DC) and gave reports from their roundtable discussions covering seven distinct topics – Art and Identity, Environmental Initiative, Immigration, Historical Education, Technology, Morality and Justice, Smart Power, and Technological Advancements and Society.


Following the Final Forum, delegates attended a reception hosted by the Embassy of Japan at the Old Ambassador’s Residence. DCM Izumi gave words of welcome and former DCM Kurt Tong (US Embassy in Tokyo) gave a toast. The US and Japan Executive Committee Chairs spoke about the takeaways from the conference and what they hoped delegates learned through their participation in the conference. In addition to the delegates were representatives of supporting organizations, JASC alumni, Embassy staff and other supporters of the conference in attendance. The 2014 JASC program was partially supported by a grant from the TOMODACHI Initiative.

Thank you to all the USJC members who hosted JASCers in San Francisco and met with delegates while in New York City.

View entries from Iowa, San Francisco and New York on their program blog here.

More photos here.
Interested in Hosting an Exchange Student? Opportunities throughout the United States

International Exchange organizations AFS USA and Youth for Understanding (YFU) are seeking host families for their incoming international students from around the world, including Japan. Check out their websites for more information.


September 3-9 – USJI Week (Washington, DC)

The U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI) is pleased to invite you to the upcoming USJI Week from September 3 to 9 (//www.us-jpri.org/en/week_201409.html).

On Tuesday, September 9, USJI and USJC will co-host an event titled “Teaching the Japanese American Experience in the United States and Japan,” featuring USJC Council Member Dr. Curtiss Takada Rooks (Assistant Professor of Asian Pacific American Studies, Loyola Marymount University), Dr. Mitch Maki (Vice Provost, Academic Affairs, California State University Dominguez Hills) and Professor Yasushi Watanabe (Professor, Keio University) as speakers, and USJC Council Member Dr. Jane Yamashiro (Visiting Scholar at the University of Southern California) as moderator.

There are eleven USJI Week events this time, and these include “Opportunities and Challenges in the U.S.-Japan Alliance,” “Dynamism of Domestic Politics and Regional Integration Policy among China, Japan and the US,” “Women and Foreign Workers: New Stakeholders of Abenomics?” and “The Challenges of Japan-U.S. Relation in East Asian Community: Toward Northeast and Southeast Asia.”

Click here (//www.us-jpri.org/en/week_201409.html) to register and to see more information on USJI Week.

September 19 – GOLD Symposium (Tokyo)

USJC is proud to be a cooperating organization in the sixth annual Global Organization for Leadership and Diversity (GOLD Symposium). “The Power of Inclusion: Viewing Diversity Through Different Lenses” will allow innovative and creative business executives, social entrepreneurs and artists share best practices and describe new possibilities for building a culture of inclusion. For more information and to register, visit the GOLD website at:


U.S. and Japan in the News

  • Railways Plan Faster Access to Central Tokyo from Haneda Airport
    The Wall Street Journal, Aug 21, 2014
  • Heading to Pyongyang, Japanese Ex-Wrestler Hopes to Win Over North Korea
    The Washington Post, Aug 21, 2014
  • Hello Kitty Joins the Space Race
    NPR, Aug 20, 2014
  • Rebound in Exports Signals Hope in Japan
    The New York Times, Aug 20, 2014
  • U.S. Official Says Unified with Japan on Need for Russian Sanctions
    Reuters, Aug 20, 2014
  • Son, Nobel Laureate Tanaka Take Up Ice Bucket Challenge
    The Wall Street Journal, Aug 20, 2014
  • Schatz Beats Hanabusa in Tight Race
    Rafu Shimpo, Aug 18, 2014
  • With Eye on China, Japanese Premier Skips War Shrine
    The New York Times, Aug 15, 2014
  • Haruki Murakami’s ‘Colorless Tsukuru’ Comes Out in U.S.
    The Wall Street Journal, Aug 12, 2014
  • Horinouchi Appointed Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles
    Rafu Shimpo, Aug 12, 2014
  • BOJ Offers Bleaker Exports View, but Kuroda Stays Upbeat
    Reuters, Aug 8, 2014
  • U.S. Experts Eye Japanese Drug in Race for Ebola Cure
    The Japan Times, Aug 8, 2014
  • Showdown with China Looms at Regional Security Summit
    Japan Today, Aug 8, 2014