U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (February 15th, 2018)

U.S.-Japan-Israel Collaboration: Innovation in Silicon Valley and Cybersecurity at the Olympics

On the evenings of February 5 and 6, USJC co-organized two events in California with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Asia Pacific Institute (API). This is part of an ongoing series that highlights the opportunities for trilateral partnership and collaboration among the United States, Japan and Israel.

Feb. 5: Council Leader Andrew M. Saidel (left) moderates a discussion with Toyota AI Ventures Managing Director Jim Adler (right) and Intuition Robotics CEO & Co-Founder Dor Skuler (middle)

The event on February 5 was titled the “U.S.-Japan-Israel Innovation Summit: Emerging Partnerships & Opportunities.” It was held at the Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, CA, and was organized with the support of The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP), IJ Advisors Ltd., the Jewish High Tech Community, and Plug and Play Tech Center. The program focused on success stories and opportunities for partnerships between Japanese corporate investors and Israeli startups in fields such as AI/robotics and cybersecurity. It also discussed how the innovative ecosystem in Silicon Valley can bring about and bolster these partnerships.

Attendees heard from Jun Yamada, Japan’s Consul General in San Francisco; Shlomi Kofman, Israel’s Consul General to the Pacific Northwest; Zvi Hauser, Managing Director at IJ Advisors Ltd. & Former Israeli Cabinet Secretary; and panel speakers that include industry experts, investors and entrepreneurs. USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye and AJC API Director Shira Loewenberg also gave remarks. Council Leaders Andrew M. Saidel (Managing Director at IJ Advisors Ltd.) and Kenta Takamori (Executive Director of the Silicon Valley Japan Platform) moderated different portions of the evening, which was emceed by Matt Kahn, San Francisco Regional Director at AJC. The event concluded with a networking reception that connected diverse leaders, including Silicon Valley investors and entrepreneurs, as well as government and business people from the local Japanese and Israeli communities.

Feb. 6: Akira Chiba, Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles, delivers welcome remarks

The event on February 6 was titled “U.S.-Japan-Israel on the Global Stage: Opportunities for the Olympic & Paralympic Games.” It was held at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Los Angeles, and was organized with the support of CGP. The program featured remarks and a panel discussion on the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Games, with a focus on the value of a Japan-Israel partnership in cybersecurity. It also discussed potential cybersecurity challenges and opportunities for the 2028 Los Angeles Games. Attendees heard from Akira Chiba, Japan’s Consul General in Los Angeles; Ann Burroughs, President & CEO of JANM; Cliff Goldstein, AJC API National Board Member; and a panel of government and private sector cybersecurity experts from all three countries (a full speaker list can be found here). Mr. Hauser, Ms. Loewenberg and Irene Hirano Inouye also spoke. This event was attended by USJC and AJC leadership and members, the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles, and representatives from the Japanese, Japanese American, Israeli and Jewish American communities.

These two events demonstrated the unique potential and success that comes from trilateral partnership among three innovative and entrepreneurial societies. USJC looks forward to continuing to explore this topic and build diverse and impactful people-to-people relationships.


Orientation for JALD 2018

On February 2 and 3, members of the 2018 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) gathered in Los Angeles for an intensive, two-day orientation. The meetings were held at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) and were facilitated by USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye, Senior Vice President Kaz Maniwa and Consul Shigeru Kikuma of the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles. The annual orientation introduces delegates to the program, host organizations and each other; provides an overview of issues important to Japan and the U.S.-Japan relationship; and begins to prepare them for their trip to Japan.

JALD delegates (L-R) David Ono, Darcy Endo-Omoto and June Taylor

On February 2, Mitch Maki (JALD ’02) led the group on a tour of JANM’s permanent exhibition, Common Ground, the Heart of Community. Hideki Hara, Director of the Japan Foundation Los Angeles, welcomed the delegates, and USJC Board Member Yuko Kaifu presented on social issues and Japanese business etiquette. In the evening, Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles Akira Chiba and his wife Yuko hosted the delegates, along with several local JALD alumni, for a welcome dinner at their residence. The dinner allowed current and former participants to meet, and for alumni to share stories and advice with the new class.

On February 3, Consul General Chiba provided a briefing on U.S.-Japan relations and Japan’s current political issues. USJC Board Member and 2017 JALD alumnus David Boone followed with a presentation on security in the Asia Pacific region. Along with Mr. Boone, program alumni Stan Koyanagi and Leslie Ito spoke about the impact of JALD on their lives and their engagement with USJC.

JALD delegates (L-R) Sheri Bryant, David Inoue and Denise Moriguchi

In the evening, the Japanese Business Association of Southern California (JBA) hosted a networking dinner at the Miyako Hotel in Little Tokyo. The reception concluded the orientation and provided an opportunity for the delegates to network with JBA members in a casual setting. We would like to offer our thanks to the Los Angeles Consulate and JBA for their gracious hospitality and continued friendship.

The 2018 delegation comprises 10 leaders in business, communications and media, government and politics, and nonprofit sectors from Los Angeles and San Francisco, California; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; Mangilao, Guam; Honolulu, Hawaii; Oakland County, Michigan; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Washington, DC who are active in their communities, engaged in U.S.-Japan relations and committed to furthering relationships between Japanese Americans and Japan.

The 2018 JALD delegation with Irene Hirano Inouye (left) and Consul Kikuma (right) at JANM

The group will travel to Tokyo and Yamaguchi from March 2 to 10, where they will meet with top business and government officials and participate in a symposium co-sponsored with the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.

More information and delegate biographies can be found here and more photos from the orientation can be viewed here. To read Rafu Shimpo‘s article on the 2018 JALD delegates and the JALD orientation, please click here.

Reflection from Lynn Nakamoto (JALD ’17)

The following article is part of a year-long series by participants of the 2017 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD).

Over a year has passed since my fellow delegates in the 2017 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) and I gathered in Los Angeles for our pre-trip orientation. We traveled from near (right in the city) and far (from the Eastern seaboard to Hawaii). The eleven of us arrived at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo on a sunny Friday morning, had our photos taken to accompany our biographies, and met as a group for the first time. We knew that we would travel to Tokyo and Kanazawa from March 3 to 11, 2017. What we did not yet know was how enlightening and transformative the trip would be for each of us.

With fellow delegates in Kanazawa

In newsletters from April 2017 until now, you’ve read articles from the remarkable Japanese American community, business, political and judicial leaders who were with me in our delegation: Roy Hirabayashi, Michael Takada, David Boone, Judge Patrick Oishi, Gary Yamashita, Leslie Ito, Judge Sawako Gardner, Jason Fujimoto and Wendy Takahisa. They recounted and reflected on our travels and experiences in Japan.

At the Ohi Pottery Museum in Kanazawa

I’d like to use this opportunity to add my congratulations to the delegates in the 2017 JALD class, who have introduced their own journey to Japan. I’d also like to offer a few thoughts of my own about my trip to Japan last year as the 2018 class gets underway. First, the network of delegates is itself important. Second, the opportunities I had to interact with leaders and to talk with people about social, political and economic issues gave me a sense of Japan that reading about those issues or visiting Japan as a tourist does not complete. Third, you can’t take enough photographs—especially because it will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Speaking at the luncheon hosted by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership

I continue to appreciate the privilege I had as a delegate. I thank the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S.-Japan Council for this valuable program and for allowing me to be a part of the 2017 delegation.

With Prime Minister Abe

Recent Events

USJC and Japanese Business Association of Southern California Discuss AI


On January 24, USJC and the Japanese Business Association of Southern California (JBA) jointly hosted an event titled “In the Era of Artificial Intelligence What Do Businesses Need to Know?” The guest speaker was Jan Perry, General Manager of the Economic & Workforce Development Department for the City of Los Angeles. The event was also a gathering to kick off the new year with networking and a sake tasting generously sponsored by Mutual Trading. Special thanks to USJC Board Members Dennis Sugino and Yuko Kaifu and Council Leaders Sandy Sakamoto and Marcia Suzuki for a successful event with JBA.

USJC and the Japan America Society of Hawaii Ring in the New Year

(L-R) Mr. Miwa; Roy Amemiya, Managing Director of the City and County of Honolulu; Mr. Teranishi; Admiral Harry Harris; Governor Ige; Consul General Koichi Ito, Consul General of Japan in Honolulu; and Ms. Hirano Inouye. Photo courtesy of Ray Tabata.

On January 24, USJC and the Japan America Society of Hawaii (JASH) co-hosted a New Year celebration. The event was held at the official residence of Governor David Ige of Hawaii. The event was attended by both USJC and JASH members, where mutual friendship and camaraderie were enjoyed by all.

Three of Hawaii’s most respected chefs, Keiji Nakazawa of Sushi Sho, Jason Ichiki of Roy’s Waikiki, and Chris Kajioka of Senia provided cuisine for 150 guests. Several USJC members and JASH leaders joined the festivities, including Irene Hirano Inouye, Dennis Teranishi, Susan Eichor, Norman Nakasone, Atsuko Fish, Governor and Mrs. George Ariyoshi, Tab Bowers and Bobby Ichikawa.

Members from Multiple Regions Gather in Chicago


On February 13, members gathered at the home of USJC Board Member Tomoko Kizawa for a reception to welcome USJC members to Chicago. Members who were in town for the Annual Meeting of the Ambassador, Consuls General and Japanese American Leaders included Irene Hirano Inouye (Washington, DC), Jose Fuentes (Miami, FL), Georgette Furukawa-Martinez (Washington, DC), Yuko Kaifu (Los Angeles, CA), Eric Takahata (Honolulu, HI) and Ann Teranishi (Honolulu, HI). Thank you to Ms. Kizawa and Midwest region leaders for the Chicago hospitality!

Japanese Students Tour Hawaii with ELP Alumni

Last November, USJC Associates Nate Gyotoku (ELP ’13), John Toru Rankin (ELP ’10) and Jonathan Abbott (ELP ’14) teamed up to create a unique Hawaiian experience for nine students from an English language school in Japan. The students spent three nights and four days in Honolulu. The school initially contacted Mr. Abbott, who tapped into his ELP network to collaborate with Mr. Gyotoku and Mr. Rankin. Using his contacts in Hawaii, Mr. Gyotoku showed the students places most tourists do not have the opportunity to see, and Mr. Rankin handled all events and transportation.

Mr. Rankin (left) and Mr. Abbott (right) enjoy dinner with the students
Mr. Abbott (left) with the students in front of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

The goals of the trip were to increase understanding between Japanese and American businesses, show the students different sides of American culture and introduce them to Japanese American culture. It was the first trip to the United States for many of the students, and they had a memorable time seeing the beauty of Hawaii and learning about Japanese American history. The trip was a success for all of the participants, as well as for the English school, which now plans to make these trips to the United States a regular event.


Applications Open for the 2018 TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program

2017 U.S. Mitsui delegates in Japan

We are now accepting applications for the TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program. Generously funded by Mitsui & Co., Ltd., and entering its sixth year, this exchange program provides participants with unique access to leaders in the U.S.-Japan arena, and the opportunity to broaden their perspectives to enhance work or initiatives in their professional fields. Selected through a competitive process, participants represent professional, geographic, and gender diversity.

Ten (10) American and ten (10) Japanese young professionals from a mix of public and private sectors will travel to each other’s country for one week to engage as a group and meet with established and up-and-coming leaders from business and government. The American delegation will travel to Miyagi Prefecture and Tokyo, and the Japanese delegation will travel to Seattle, Washington and Washington, D.C.

The deadline for the American delegation is April 5, and the deadline for the Japanese delegation is April 19. Click here for more information.

Watanabe Scholarship: 2018 Applications Due Today!

Applications for the 2018-19 U.S.-Japan Council Toshizo Watanabe Endowed Scholarship Program are due today! This program provides financial assistance to undergraduate and graduate students for a semester or year-long study abroad program in either the United States or Japan. A generous endowment gift of $10 million from Mr. Toshizo (Tom) Watanabe to USJC makes it possible to award scholarships to students for whom study abroad would not be possible without financial support. Beginning this year, scholarships will be awarded to both American and Japanese undergraduate students who are pursuing international study in the United States or Japan.

For information on eligibility, timeline and application requirements, please see the FAQ sheet. To apply, please visit this page.

Member News

Allen Okamoto and Gary Mukai Honored by the Government of Japan

This month, Member of the Legacy Council Allen Okamoto and Council Leader Gary Mukai each received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays from the Government of Japan. Their decorations were part of the 2017 Autumn Conferment. Many USJC members in Northern California attended the ceremonies that San Francisco Consul General Jun Yamada held for each of the leaders.

Mr. Okamoto was recognized on February 14 for his contributions to the promotion of friendship and mutual understanding between Japan and the United States, including his work as co-chair of the San Francisco Osaka Sister City Association, co-chair of the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival and President of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California.

Consul General Yamada with Mr. Okamoto

Dr. Mukai was recognized on February 8 for his contributions to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening U.S.-Japan relations through education, especially as Director of the Stanford Program on International & Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE). Member of the USJC Board of Councilors Dr. Daniel Okimoto (who is also Stanford Professor Emeritus of Political Science) made remarks at the ceremony, and USJC members including Associate Rylan Sekiguchi (who wrote this article for SPICE) were in attendance.

Irene Hirano Inouye Honored by Ford Foundation

Consul General Yamada pinning the ribbon on Dr. Mukai

On February 7, USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye was honored by the Ford Foundation, where she previously served as trustee and Chair. She was honored as one of two outgoing trustees at an event held at the United Nations in New York. Several USJC members were in attendance, including Legacy Council members Gary Moriwaki and Susan Onuma, and Council Leaders Kiyo Matsumoto and Akiko Otani (who is also USJC Director of Development).

(L-R) Ms. Ko Chin; Irene; Darren Walker (center), President of the Ford Foundation; Ms. Sasaki; and Mr. Ferris

Leaders of other organizations in which Irene is involved also came to celebrate her. This included Kathy Ko Chin, Trustee at the Kresge Foundation; Lisa Sasaki, Director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center; and James M. Ferris, Director of the Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at the University of Southern California (USC). (Irene is Chair of the Smithsonian Institution Asian Pacific American Center, member of the Advisory Board at the USC Center on Philanthropy & Public Policy and a former Trustee and past Chair at the Kresge Foundation.)

Upcoming Events

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II


When: Ongoing through December 8, 2018
Where: National Museum of American History (Washington, DC)

In February, the National Museum of American History opened an exhibit to mark 75 years since Executive Order 9066 authorized the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. On display are artifacts, photographs and stories collected from Japanese American families. There will also be public programming throughout the year related to this exhibit.

For more information on the exhibit, please visit the official website.

Allegiance (Los Angeles Premiere)


When: February 21 – April 1, 2018
Where: Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (Los Angeles, CA)

Broadway musical Allegiance, created by Member of the USJC Board of Councilors George Takei, is set to premiere in Los Angeles, CA. Allegiance is a musical inspired by Mr. Takei’s own experience, and tells the story of a family upended by the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII.

The Los Angeles premiere of Allegiance is a special engagement and co-production of East West Players and Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, by special arrangement with Sing Out, Louise! Productions and ATA. Click here for more information.

Hold These Truths

When: February 23 – April 8, 2018
Where: The Arena Stage (Washington, DC)

“Hold These Truths” is a play based on the true story of Gordon Hirabayashi, the American son of Japanese immigrants who defied an unjust court order to uphold the values on which America was founded.

Register Now for the Japan-Texas Economic Summit!


Registration is open for the Japan-Texas Economic Summit, to be held at the Marriott Marquis Houston from May 7 to 9, 2018. Following the highly successful Japan-Hawaii Economic Summit in 2017, the Japan-Texas Economic Summit will bring together business leaders, investors, state and local officials, and economic development organizations from across the Lone Star State and Japan. Texas is a leading destination for foreign direct investment from Japan, and we will welcome government and business representatives from the Government of Japan and prefectures throughout the country to explore further opportunities to strengthen the relationship between Japan and the state of Texas.

Join us for what will be a momentous step forward in the Japan-Texas economic partnership! Please visit the event page to see more details and to register.

The Japan America Society of Southern California’s 109th Anniversary Dinner & Gala


When: May 16, 2018
Where: The Queen Mary (Long Beach, CA)

USJC is proud to be an honoree of the Japan America Society of Southern California’s Kokusai Shimin Sho “International Citizens Award” at the 109th Anniversary Dinner & Gala Celebration. This award recognizes individuals, businesses or organizations who have significantly enhanced the U.S.-Japan relationship and are committed to strengthening bonds between the two nations.

For more information, please visit this page.


TOMODACHI Marketing & Communications Manager (Tokyo)

The Marketing & Communications Manager is responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive strategic communications program to develop the profile and brand of the TOMODACHI Initiative among a diverse audience and stakeholders, including senior corporate executives, government leaders, program participants, donors, press and the general public. The Marketing & Communications Manager will work closely with teams within the TOMODACHI Initiative in the implementation of this mission, as well as with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

Click here for more information about the position.

Administrative Assistant (Tokyo)

The Administrative Assistant will have primary responsibility for administrative and operational support to USJC. This position is in the Tokyo office and reports to the Executive Director of USJC (Japan), and also requires close communication with the USJC (U.S.) staff based in Washington, DC.

Click here for more information about the position.

Intern (Washington, DC)

The intern will provide support for programs and communications on a part-time or full-time basis. Duties will consist of program and event coordination and support, website/social media support, organization and attendance at special events, outreach and communication, writing and translation (if able). This is an excellent internship for those hoping to gain experience in the programmatic, digital and strategic marketing and/or nonprofit fields. USJC’s internship program offers outstanding opportunities for college students, graduate students and graduates who are interested in U.S.-Japan relations.

Click here for more information about the position.