U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (February 6th, 2014)


From January 24 to 25, the 2014 delegates of the Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program participated in an orientation in Los Angeles. They spent a packed two days at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center, with briefings from USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye and Senior Vice President (and delegate of the first JALD program in 2000) Kaz Maniwa, Consul General Jun Niimi and Consul Izuru Shimmura of Los Angeles, as well as Ms. Rei Suzuki, Deputy Director of The Japan Foundation in Los Angeles. Council Member and past delegate Ms. Debra Nakatomi discussed key messages, and past delegate Dr. Mitchell Maki gave a tour of the Japanese American National Museum. Chairman of the USJC Board Tom Iino and Vice Chair Henry Ota shared their experience as Japanese Americans, and Friends of the Council Professor Takeo Hoshi and Ms. Yuko Kaifu gave presentations on economic and social issues.

The 2014 delegation is composed of senior leaders from the new technology, clean energy, entrepreneurial and local, state or regional government sectors, including appointed and elected officials. Four of the ten delegates have not visited Japan prior to the program, and shared their excitement on traveling there for the first time, particularly with media that took part in a press briefing. The delegates also networked with past delegates at a dinner hosted by Consul General Niimi at his residence, and met Japanese and Japanese American business leaders at a dinner hosted by the Japan Business Association of Southern California.

The delegates will visit Tokyo and Fukoka from March 7 to 15. For more information, visit: JALD webpage



February is an important month for many reasons. There’s Black History Month, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday and of course, Groundhog Day.  However, there’s one day in particular during the shortest month of the year that single-handedly shaped the landscape of Japanese America. On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized the Secretary of War to prescribe military areas. Specifically, this single piece of paper allowed the United States government to forcibly detain and incarcerate nearly 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry in some of the most desolate areas in the continental United States. 

Now, Japanese American communities around the country come together every year to take part in various Day of Remembrance programs that cause us to reflect on how this collective experience has rippled through the generations. But for me personally, it is a time that makes me truly appreciate the struggle of the previous generations of Japanese Americans and the community’s ability to rebuild itself in spite of overwhelming prejudice and fear-mongering.  

When I think about weathering the sometimes brutal conditions of the camp experience, the bravery of the individuals who served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the resisters who refused to have their loyalty questioned, the multiple Japanese American plaintiffs who made their way to the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as the many individuals who took part and succeeded in the Redress and Reparations movement, I realize how rich and unique our community is. It also makes me proud that I am a member of so many different Japanese American organizations, like the U.S.-Japan Council, that continue to carry on the torch for our community and light the way for future generations.   

In short, February, while short on days, is certainly not short on historical significance as it touches the lives of so many Americans of all different backgrounds, including Japanese Americans.

– Brandon Mita



Join Team TOMODACHI! The U.S.-Japan Council is seeking a talented, dynamic, bilingual individual for the position of TOMODACHI Alumni Coordinator in our Tokyo offices. The Coordinator will be responsible for the development and oversight of TOMODACHI alumni programming throughout Japan and, in coordination with U.S.-based staff, on programs in the United States, with the goal of building upon short-term exchange experiences to promote continued alumni engagement with the United States (or Japan, in the case of American alumni). For more information, visit //usjapantomodachi.org/get-involved/opportunities/Applications will close on February 15.



Mid-career academics or professionals interested in U.S.-Japan relations are encouraged to apply to the six-month Sasakawa Peace Foundation Fellowship at Pacific Forum CSIS. Applications, available here, must be submitted by March 1.

This prestigious fellowship opportunity supports a mid-career academic or professional by providing the cost-of-living and institutional support to allow him or her to explore a security-related issue that concerns the alliance. Fellows are provided with the following:

  • A $3,000 stipend per month for six months
  • A four-week research and interview trip to either Washington, DC (for the Japanese fellow) or Tokyo (for the U.S. fellow)
  • The ability to participate in relevant U.S.-Japan dialogues under the auspices of the Pacific Forum Young Leaders Program
  • Access to Pacific Forum’s global network of senior security specialists

To be considered, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • PhD or master’s degree with relevant work experience
  • Fluency in spoken and written English
  • Late 20s to 30s
  • Be a U.S. or Japanese citizen

Applicants should be available for a six-month fellowship in Honolulu between May 2014 and April 2015. For any questions regarding the program or the application process, please contact Brooke Mizuno, Director of Grants Management and Institutional Support, at [email protected].


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