U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (February 20th, 2014)

We hope you’ve all had a pleasant Presidents’ Day weekend and have safely made it through our wintry weather (in both countries)!


Special thanks to Associate Members Kei Ashizawa and Ginger Vaughn for the following report:

While the shale gas revolution has made the United States a net energy exporter, Japan still grapples with secure supplies and stable energy solutions following the Fukushima nuclear accident of 2011. “New Channels: Reinvigorating U.S.-Japan Relations,” launched by Stanford University’s Japan Studies Program at Shorenstein APARC and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation in association with the U.S.-Japan Council, is part of a three-year project started in 2013. This project aims to create new channels of dialogue between experts, entrepreneurs, business leaders and policy makers from the United States and Japan and to develop mutual understanding and effective communication. The event helped to reinvigorate the bilateral relationship through the dialogue on 21st century challenges faced by both nations.

A full-day public conference on Feb. 13 included panel discussions structured to examine the world’s changing energy picture along with the challenges Japan faces in terms of its energy.energy systems, such as the case of Palo Alto, California, were also discussed. A wide array of energy topics were covered to address post-Fukushima issues and reforming Japan’s energy industry including: increasing energy demand in Asia and energy innovation; nuclear program nationalization; the shale gas revolution’s impact on Japan; and innovative technologies including renewables, smart grid, on-site energy generation, and energy storage.  Feb. 14 featured closed discussions between a select group of panelists and participants, as well as a fuel cell manufacturing facility tour.

On Feb. 13, a private dinner was hosted by USJC Board of Councilors Member Hiromitsu Ogawa (Chairman, CAI International) and his wife, Betty. Other USJC members who engaged in the events included: Board of Councilors Chairman Daniel Okimoto (Director-Emeritus, Shorenstein APARC, Stanford University); Council Members Gerald Hane (President & CEO, Battelle-Japan), Yoriko Kishimoto (Former Mayor, City of Palo Alto), Kenji Kushida (Research Associate Fellow, Shorenstein APARC, Stanford University) and Genevieve Shiroma (President of the Board of Directors, SMUD); and Emerging Leaders Program alumni Kei Ashizawa (Attorney at Law) and Ginger Vaughn (Journalist, CCTV America).



On February 8, the TOMODACHI MUFG International Exchange Program class of 2013 was invited to a reunion and a screening of a television program featuring their trip to Japan. The program, entitled “Gift for the Future,” was aired in Japan nationwide late last year, and English subtitles were added for this screening.

The Los Angeles office of the Japan Foundation generously offered its facilities for this event. The auditorium was filled with approximately 100 students and family members. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) hosted a traditional Japanese lunch for attendees. The students enjoyed reconnecting with their friends, reminiscing about their shared experience in Japan.



On February 13, the Japan America Society of Southern California and Japan Business Association of Southern California presented the JAPAN in 2014 Symposium. The event gathered leading experts from across the United States and Japan to take an in-depth look and “forecast” the coming year in Japanese domestic affairs, the U.S.-Japan bilateral economic and security relationship and U.S.-Japan cooperation in international affairs.

USJC is a proud cooperating sponsor of the symposium, which featured Ambassador John V. Roos, former ambassador of the United States to Japan, and Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, former ambassador of Japan to the United States. The symposium was supported by a generous grant from the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA.



Council Member Yumi Kuwana, Founder of the Global Citizens Initiative, invites qualified students to apply for the Global Citizens Summit for Youth (GCSY). GCSY brings a select group of international youth scholars and faculty together around a roundtable to investigate the idea of global citizenship and the themes of freedom and fairness in the world today. Through the summit and collaborations that follow, GCI hopes to nurture our next generation of global leaders. 

The first round application deadline is March 1. Students can apply by clicking here. In addition, you can nominate a student by clicking here.


The U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI) is pleased to invite you to the upcoming USJI Week from February 24 to 28. Session topics include “Building the TOMODACHI Generation: Engaging U.S. and Japanese University Students in Social Problem-Solving,” “‘Abenomics’ and U.S.-Japan Relationship,” “Sino-Japan Dynamics and Implications for the U.S.-Japan Alliance” and many more. For a complete schedule of events and the opportunity to register, visit: //www.us-jpri.org/en/week_201402.html

About USJI:
The U.S.-Japan Research Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Washington, D.C., is jointly operated by Doshisha University, Keio University, Kyoto University, Kyushu University, Ritsumeikan University, The University of Tokyo, University of Tsukuba and Waseda University.


In 2006, Council Member Atsuko Fish founded the Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative to empower Japanese women to become leaders in the emerging nonprofit sector and an agent for social change in Japan. In partnership with Simmons College, the nation’s leading educational institution for women, the JWLI Fellows Program in Boston offers unique, hands-on training in Boston on nonprofit management and strategic leadership for women. After their training, JWLI graduates go on to share and disseminate the knowledge and experiences with women and leaders in Japan. This year, four women from Japan will be selected for the program, tentatively scheduled from September 8-October 3. Applications are due by April 15.
Click here for more information and application requirements.