U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (February 1st, 2018)

Regional Women in Leadership Continues to Inspire Leaders

Community leaders gathered in Phoenix, AZ and Salt Lake City, UT in January for Regional Women in Leadership (RWL) events, generously funded by the Embassy of Japan. Wendy Abe, Director of External Relations at USJC, attended both events.

Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix Hosts Women’s Discussion


With the leadership and assistance of the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix, RWL Host Janice Shimokubo and Executive Director of the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix Reiko Yasui Reavis welcomed 18 people to their first RWL event. Other members of the planning committee included Ilene Takiguchi, Kiyoko Toyama and Kathy Nakagawa. Honorary Consul General of Phoenix Kelly Mouer and his wife also attended the event. Discussion topics included comparisons of human resource practices in the United States and Japan, the need for cultural changes to support policy changes, why the perceptions of young women in Japan must change, the need for male champions, and issues relating to childcare.

Phoenix welcomes USJC in its first Regional Women in Leadership series

Salt Lake City Community Leaders Gather for Regional Women in Leadership


Eleven community leaders gathered in Salt Lake City to discuss Japan’s Womenomics initiative, which also inspired discussions about current issues in the United States. Participants contributed to a lively discussion and made several recommendations for both countries. Those included conducting a public relations and advertising campaign to raise the awareness for advancing women in the workplace; developing a competition among companies using metrics that benchmark the advancement of women within companies; encouraging companies to make “advancement pledges for women” that would include best human resource practices; and working to provide childcare and eldercare at places of employment.

Dr. Robin Yasui of Denver joins community leaders in Salt Lake City to discuss Womenomics and the current state of affairs in the United States

Special thanks to Cheryl Mori who organized the event, and Dr. Robin Yasui of Denver who joined the group in Utah.


The following article is part of a year-long series by participants of the 2017 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program (ELP).

Rylan was featured in an article written by Council Leader and Director of the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education Gary Mukai.

Reflection from Rylan Sekiguchi (ELP ’17)

The Emerging Leaders Program was an unforgettable experience. Not only did it give me a chance to meet leaders in the field of U.S.-Japan relations, it reaffirmed in me the importance of the U.S.-Japan relationship and my commitment to it. Most precious to me, however, were the friendships I built. Although it’s already been three months, I still find myself reflecting on the ELP, the Annual Conference, and my new USJC and ELP friends almost daily.

I work at the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE). Our work includes educating American and Japanese youth and fostering the next generation of U.S.-Japan leaders. Fortunately, friends throughout the ELP/USJC network are now helping me amplify this work.

Having lunch with Naomi Funahashi and students at Yokohama Science Frontier High School. We toured the campus, met with faculty and worked with students for two days.

Aside from the two national programs SPICE runs on U.S.-Japan relations, we also work directly with individual prefectures and schools in Japan to promote cross-cultural learning. I had the pleasure of visiting two such schools last November with Naomi Funahashi (ELP ’11), and representatives from both schools paid us a return visit at Stanford in January! I was even able to enrich their Silicon Valley experience a bit by arranging a private tour of Facebook headquarters, thanks to my new ELP sister, Mana Nakagawa (ELP ’14).

Touring the Facebook headquarters with Mana Nakagawa, and teachers and students from Japan

The synergies continue. SPICE is now developing an educational resource to accompany the forthcoming documentary, An American Story: Norman Mineta and His Legacy. The film is produced by Council Leaders Dianne Fukami and Debra Nakatomi and, of course, explores the life and legacy of Secretary Norman Mineta, Vice Chair of USJC’s Board of Councilors. For a lesson that focuses on leadership, I am consulting with Council Leader Britt Yamamoto, who led my ELP cohort’s leadership training in November. And so on. The synergies have been wonderful, and I’m truly thankful for the warmth that people throughout the USJC network have shown me. I look forward to paying their goodwill forward.

Interviewing President George W. Bush in Dallas with Dianne Fukami and Debra Nakatomi for their forthcoming film

I am so grateful I was given the opportunity to participate in the ELP, and I feel a personal debt of gratitude to all those who’ve built it into what it is today. Thank you to our generous sponsors for their support, to USJC’s leadership for their strong vision, and to Kaz Maniwa and Allison Murata for their passion, enthusiasm and care in leading the program. Thanks to the ELP, I feel more connected and committed than ever to the U.S.-Japan relationship, and more resourced than ever to make a real contribution.

My amazing ELP cohortmates with Kaz Maniwa, Allison Murata and Britt Yamamoto


Watanabe Scholarship: 2018 Applications Open

Applications for the 2018-19 U.S.-Japan Council Toshizo Watanabe Endowed Scholarship Program are open! 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

USJC Members Commemorate “Fred Korematsu Day”

Several USJC members were instrumental in recognizing “Fred Korematsu Day” (January 30, which would have been Mr. Korematsu’s 99th birthday this year) in their communities.

Mr. Korematsu was a civil rights activist who fought against Executive Order 9066, which authorized the internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II. Several states recognize January 30 as “Fred Korematsu Day,” which is the first such commemoration for an Asian American in the United States. (Google also honored him with a Google Doodle last year, which was widely shared.)

This year, New York City held its inaugural celebration. Last December, the New York City Council passed a resolution to establish January 30th as an annual observance. Speakers at the event included Council Leader Julie Azuma (who is a Founding Member of the New York Day of Remembrance Committee) and Karen Korematsu, Founder and Executive Director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute. Several USJC members attended, including those who are affiliated with Japanese American organizations that co-sponsored the event. (Click here to read the announcement by JapanCulture-NYC.com (run by Council Leader Susan Hamaker) and here to read a post in The New York Times.)

Separately, Council Leader Ken Russell, who is Commissioner of the City of Miami, issued a proclamation that January 30th would be Fred Korematsu Day in Miami (pictured in the screenshot below with Council Leader Jose Fuentes (right of Mr. Russell)).


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.

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.

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.

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.


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.