USJC AND U.S. EMBASSY IN TOKYO HOLD JOINT RECEPTION IN HONOR OF TOMODACHI INITIATIVE
On December 13, USJC and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo held a reception in honor of the TOMODACHI Initiative. This was the first major TOMODACHI event since Caroline B. Kennedy has become the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, and celebrated the continued partnership between USJC and the U.S. Embassy.
The event also announced six new strategic partner companies joining the TOMODACHI Initiative: Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Metlife Alico Life Insurance K.K., Prudential Financial, Inc., Sumitomo Corporation, Suntory Holdings Limited and Toshiba Corporation. Through these corporate contributions, the TOMODACHI Initiative is creating unique new exchange programs; supporting and mentoring young female leaders; offering further support to our program alumni to allow them to continue their connections with the United States and with each other; supporting academic study abroad scholarships; launching scholarship programs at top music schools in the United States; and supporting education and collaboration in science and technology.
During the reception, which was held at Ambassador Kennedy’s residence, USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye thanked all the donors. “Two years ago, in this very room, we launched the TOMODACHI Initative,” she noted in the main hall, and continued that she could not have imagined the generous amount contributed by the donors. “We are fortunate to have an incredible new partner,” she said of Ambassador Kennedy, “With her dedication to education and passion to support young people, she is the perfect Ambassador for TOMODACHI.”
“I am so grateful for the generous support of the new strategic partners,” Ambassador Kennedy said. “I look forward to working with all of you during my time as Ambassador to bring our nations even closer through the connections between our young people.”
“The mutual understanding between the American and Japanese ‘TOMODACHI Generation’ continues to deepen,” said Japanese Foreign Minister Fumihiko Kishida, who also delivered remarks at the event. He said that with the support of so many people from various fields, he believed the further development and success of TOMODACHI was guaranteed.
The program included a speech by Haruna Shiraiwa, a high school student who is from Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture. After participating in the TOMODACHI Summer SoftBank Leadership Program in 2012, Ms. Shiraiwa founded TOMOTRA, a company which provides tours to Iwaki to boost tourism in the city. Her remarks were followed by a performance by Reiko Watanabe, a violinist who graduated from The Julliard School, one of the schools with which Suntory established the new TOMODACHI Suntory Music Scholarship Fund.
The more than two hundred guests included: Hakubun Shimomura, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; Itsunori Onodera, Minister of Defense; Yasuo Fukuda, former Prime Minister; Akitaka Saiki, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs; Former Ambassadors to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki, Ryozo Kato and Yoshio Okawara; Takuya Tasso, Governor of Iwate prefecture; Diet Members and the representatives of the six new strategic partners, as well as representatives of existing donor companies and prospective donors. Several USJC members also attended.
Prior to the event, Ambassador Kennedy also held a roundtable discussion with nine TOMODACHI alumni who represented the three Tohoku prefectures, and had traveled to the United States on a variety of TOMODACHI programs. Two students representing an Iwate Prefecture Governor Tasso youth exchange program also joined the roundtable.
The reception was a true embodiment of the public-private partnership that is the TOMODACHI Intiative, serving as an occasion for TOMODACHI alumni, Japanese Americans, officials from both the U.S. and Japanese governments and representatives from American and Japanese companies to meet each other and deepen the U.S.-Japan relationship on a person-to-person level.
2014 JALD PARTICIPANTS ANNOUNCED
The ten delegates of the 2014 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) Program have now been decided. They are:
- Ms. Elisa Dozono (Portland, OR) Partner, Miller Nash LLP
- Ms. Leona Hiraoka (Washington, DC) Vice President, Communications, Points of Light
- Ms. Yoriko Kishimoto (Palo Alto, CA) Former Mayor of Palo Alto and Director, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
- Mr. Brad Miyake (Bellevue, WA) Acting City Manager, City of Bellevue
- Ms. Carrie Okinaga (Honolulu, HI) Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary, First Hawaiian Bank
- Mr. Derek Okubo (Denver, CO) Executive Director, Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships, City and County of Denver
- Ms. Keiko Orrall (Boston, MA) State Representative, House of Representatives, State of Massachusetts
- Judge Toko Serita (Queens, NY) Criminal Court Judge, New York City Criminal Court, Queens County
- LTC Keith Walters (Santa Monica, CA) Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army
- Mr. Gary Yamashiroya (Chicago, IL) Detective Commander, City of Chicago, Department of Police
More information, including detailed bios of the 2014 delegates, will be coming soon!
SENATOR INOUYE AWARDED PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM
On November 20, the late Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. On behalf of the Senator, USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye accepted the award from President Obama at a ceremony at the White House.
President Obama said during the ceremony that he himself had been inspired by the late Senator: “As the second-longest serving senator in American history, he showed a generation of young people–including one kid with a funny name growing up in Hawaii who noticed that there was somebody during some of those hearings in Washington that didn’t look like everybody else, which meant maybe I had a chance to do something important, too.” President Obama continued, “He taught all of us that no matter what you look like or where you come from, this country has a place for everybody who’s willing to serve and work hard,” touching upon the Japanese American legacy that the Senator carried.
Established by President John F. Kennedy, the Medal of Freedom has been presented to more than 500 individuals so far who have made especially “meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
The 15 other recipients of the 2013 award included former President Bill Clinton and media mogul Oprah Winfrey. See the White House blog post and President Obama’s remarks for further details.
USJC MEMBERS FEATURED IN NIKKEI BUSINESS SERIES ON JAPANESE AMERICANS
Nikkei Business, a weekly Japanese publication affiliated with Nikkei Shimbun, has begun a series of articles profiling Japanese Americans. A long, two-part article was published in the print magazine in Japanese on November 18 and 25. Under the title “Japanese-Americans: Personal Networks Across the Pacific,” several interviews are also being published in the English online edition of the publication.
The fact that Japanese Americans are featured so prominently show their growing importance to U.S.-Japan relations. The individuals come from various backgrounds, spanning academia, business, science and technology, politics and more. Read the interviews in English or Japanese(Note: Registration is required (at no cost) for the Japanese website) as the content is continually updated.
USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye and Daniel Okimoto, Chairman of the USJC Board of Councilors, are central to the success of the series, having introduced to Nikkei Business dozens of influential Japanese Americans to be interviewed. USJC Members featured so far include: Council Member James Higa; Ms. Hirano Inouye; Secretary Norman Mineta, Vice Chairman of the Board of Councilors; Hiro Ogawa, Member of the Board of Councilors; Dr. Okimoto; USJC Secretary Susan Onuma; Masaaki Tanaka, Vice Chairman of the Board of Councilors; and Paul Terasaki, Member of the Board of Councilors.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN MENTIONS TOMODACHI IN REMARKS WITH PRIME MINISTER ABE
During his visit to East Asia, Vice President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Abe on December 1. Topics included U.S.-Japan partnership in the future, with TOMODACHI highlighted as a movement developing the next generation of Japanese and American leaders. Below is an excerpt from his remarks to the press:
…Mr. Prime Minister, I’m not sure there is a more resilient nation on Earth than yours. I was proud that we were able to play a small part to help save lives — not only with U.S. troops, but with American volunteers who know and love Japan; many of whom are still here rebuilding.
As a consequence, Mr. Prime Minister, we’ve created an initiative named after the Japanese word for friendship that is going to bring together young Japanese and young American leaders.
[Mr. Prime Minister], it’s not only our alliance, it’s the friendship between our countries and our people. It’s tried and it’s true. It’s been tested by time and tragedy, and it still grows stronger to the benefit of both our countries, the region and I would suggest to the world…
You can read the rest of Vice President Biden’s remarks here.
HOLIDAY TOYS FOR TOHOKU PROJECT
USJC Board Member Paul Yonamine has introduced the Council to the “Holiday Toys for Tohoku Project,” which is supported by the American School in Japan (ASIJ). ASIJ is partnering with Toy Card Group to deliver JPY 2,000 per child for Toy Card coupons to bring holiday cheer to children in Tohoku. All money collected will be converted into Toy Card gift coupons and distributed to Tohoku children through NPOs in the region. Donations will be collected through December 18.
To make a contribution, please go to https://community.asij.ac.jp/give-online
Please select “Holiday Toys for Tohoku” in the designation field of the online giving form.
If you are in the holiday spirit and would like to donate to USJC, we would greatly appreciate your support!
U.S. & JAPAN IN THE NEWS
- ‘No Easy Way Out’ for South Korea-Japan Feud, Despite Biden’s Efforts
The Wall Street Journal, December 13, 2013
- China Focus as Japan Hosts ASEAN Leaders
BBC News, December 13, 2013
- SDF to Acquire 17 Osprey Aircraft Over 5 Years from FY 2014
Mainichi Daily News, December 13, 2013
- Japan Should Embrace Nuclear Power, Government Panel Says
Reuters, December 13, 2013
- English Education Set to Get Serious
Japan Times, December 13, 2013
- Weaker Yen Sen Driving Japan’s Nikkei up 16 Percent in 2014
Reuters, December 12, 2013
- An Unpopular New Secrecy Law Dents the Prime Minister’s Popularity
The Economist, December 14, 2013
- Draft of Security Plan Calls for a Muscular Japan
The New York Times, December 11, 2013
- Record Tourism in Japan Despite Islands Spat, Nuclear Fallout
The Los Angeles Times, December 11, 2013
- U.S.-Japan Alliance Sparks Korean Grand Strategy Debate
The Diplomat, December 11, 2013
- Pitcher Tanaka’s American Future Uncertain
The Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2013
- Waterworld: How Worried Should We Be About Fukushima?
The Diplomat, December 09, 2013
- Farm Ministry’s Efforts Key in ‘Washoku’ Being Added to UNESCO List
Asahi Japan Watch, December 07, 2013
- No Stranger to Asia, Biden Deploys Political Experience
The New York Times, December 06, 2013
- Japan Parliament Approves Contentious Secrets Law
The Washington Post, December 06, 2013
- U.S. Senators to Chinese Ambassador: Senkakus Under Japanese Control
Japan Times, December 06, 2013
- Japan Approves $182 Billion Economic Package, Doubts Remain
Reuters, December 05, 2013
- Japan Launches U.S.-Style NSC with Eyes on China
Mainichi Daily News, December 04, 2013
- Researchers in Hawaii Find Lost Japanese WWII Mega-Sub
CNN, December 04, 2013
- Kathryn Korematsu Dies at 92
Rafu Shimpo, December 03, 2013
- Biden Greeted by Caroline Kennedy
The Wall Street Journal, December 03, 2013
- Japan in a Post-Growth Age
The New York Times, December 02, 2013
- Between Dreams and Discrimination, Japanese Build New Lives in the City by the Bay
Japan Times, December 02, 2013
- Joe Biden to Visit Japan, China as Air Zone Dispute Smolders
CNN, December 02, 2013
- Japan, U.S. to Urge China to Drop ADIZ
The Japan News, November 30, 2013
- Japanese Prime Minister Abe Appoints Japan’s First Female PM Secretary
The Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2013
- Japanese-Americans: Personal Networks Across the Pacific
Nikkei Business, November 29, 2013
- Japan’s Nikkei Index Hits Six-Year High
BBC News, November 28, 20113
- Japan and South Korea Fly Military Planes in Zone Set by China
The New York Times, November 28, 2013
- LDP’s Okinawa Chapter Decides to Accept Contentious U.S. Base Relocation Plan
Mainichi Daily News, November 28, 2013
- Hirono: Medal of Freedom for Inouye Well Deserved
Rafu Shimpo, November 27, 2013
- Editorial: Why are Japan’s Apologies Forgotten?
The Diplomat, November 25, 2013
- 5 Okinawa LDP Lawmakers Back Henoko Relocation
The Japan News, November 26, 2013
- China Slams ‘Inappropriate’ U.S. Remarks on Island Dispute with Japan
CNN, November 25, 2013
- Kennedy Makes First Visit to Tohoku
Japan Times, November 25, 2013
- Tokyo Education Board to Send English Teachers to Study Abroad
Mainichi Daily News, November 25, 2013
- Bureaucrats Seek to Pick Winners with $1 Billion ‘Cool Japan’ Fund
Reuters, November 24, 2013
- A Growing Chill Between South Korea and Japan Creates Problems for the U.S.
The New York Times, November 23, 2013
- Inouye Posthumously Honored with Presidential Medal of Freedom
Rafu Shimpo, November 22, 2013
- Saluting Firms That are Fairer to Women
The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2013