U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (January 18th, 2018)

Sumitomo Scholars Visit Washington, DC and New York

In early January, four 2017 TOMODACHI Sumitomo Scholars—Japanese undergraduate students studying abroad and participating in the TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship Program—traveled to Washington, DC and New York for a week-long visit that was sponsored by the Sumitomo Corporation of Americas.

The scholars with Irene Hirano Inouye (left) and other USJC staff

Highlights of the trip to DC included a group discussion with USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye and other USJC staff, where the students learned about the work involved in starting and managing a nonprofit organization, characteristics of a good leader and ways to contribute to society. Other highlights included a dinner with young professionals and a tour of the U.S. Capitol.

The scholars, accompanied by Council Leader Jewelle Yamada (back row, left), Vice President of Corporate Communications at the Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, with young professionals in DC

In New York, they met with Professor Hugh T. Patrick, Director of the Center on Japanese Economy and Business at the Columbia Business School. They enjoyed a dinner with USJC members, including Member of the Legacy Council Susan Onuma and Associates Kenshiro Uki, Jaime Sugino and Jona Higa. The students also participated in policy workshops and social events, where they tapped into the vast network of people affiliated with the TOMODACHI Initiative.

(From left) USJC Associate Erik Fromm; Tim Sander, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Legal, at the Sumitomo Corporation of Americas; Sumitomo Scholar Kiyoka Oyabu; and Associate Jona Higa enjoy dinner in New York

One of the TOMODACHI Sumitomo Scholars, Kiyoka Oyabu, who is currently studying at Linfield College, said that the professionals she met during this trip have given her inspiration and motivation to study harder to pursue her goals. Another scholar, Kazunori Kasahara, who is studying at the University of Washington, said that he enjoyed learning about how NPOs like USJC are managed, as well as how members’ identities as Japanese and American leaders play an important role in USJC’s activities.


2018 Class Bios Now Available

The delegates of the 2018 Japanese American Leadership Delegation program, who will travel to Tokyo and Yamaguchi from March 2 to 10, are now preparing for their orientation in Los Angeles in a couple of weeks (February 2-3). Their full biographies are now available here. JALD provides the opportunity for a select group of Japanese American leaders to travel to Japan to engage with Japanese leaders in the business, government, academic, nonprofit and cultural sectors. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sponsors the program. The U.S.-Japan Council provides administration and organization for the program.


​JWLI Spring Application Deadline Extended!

Applications for the ​Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative (​JWLI​)​ Spring Program are still open! JWLI​​ looks forward to reviewing applications from enthusiastic women leaders in Japan. Applications are due January 25. For more information, please visit this page. ​JWLI is led by USJC Board Member Atsuko Fish and supported by USJC​​.

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

Duane Kurisu Leads Efforts to Build Affordable Housing with Homes from Tohoku

​Council Leader Duane Kurisu​, Chairman and CEO of the aio Group, is the driving force behind Kahauiki Village, a community of affordable housing units in Hawaii. The first families moved in last week.

Japan played a role in making this possible: the prefabricated, modular homes come from Tohoku, and previously housed those who were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Earlier this month, Japanese dignitaries paid a visit, praising the initiative.

Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Iwao Horii (left) was among the Japanese dignitaries who visited the community. Mr. Kurisu is third from right.

Inspired by the plantation community culture, Kahauiki Village provides family-friendly services like child care and preschool facilities, and keeps utility costs low through a microgrid that stores solar energy in batteries. It is meant to provide long-term housing and opportunities for homeless families in transitional housing. (Read more about Mr. Kurisu’s vision here (Hawaii Home + Remodeling is published by aio.)) When completed, the community will include 153 homes, with rents about 50% below the market rate, and nearby employers will provide jobs within walking distance.

This large-scale public-private partnership is the result of collaboration among government entities (including the State of Hawaii, the City & County of Honolulu, the U.S. Navy and the Hawaii Army National Guard) and dozens of companies, including several led by or affiliated with USJC members, such as ​aio, iQ 360, Hawaiian Electric Company, HPM Building Supply and Y. Hata & Co., Ltd.

The community has received extensive media coverage, including Hawaii News Now, Honolulu Magazine, and KITV. Congratulations to Mr. Kurisu and everyone involved in the project!

Daniel Okimoto Reflects on His Journey in Five-Part Interview


A five-part interview with Dr. Daniel Okimoto, Co-Chair of the Silicon Valley Japan Platform and Member of the USJC Board of Councilors, was recently published in Japan Forward, a Sankei Shimbun-affiliate. The series, written by editor-in-chief Yasuo Naito, discusses Dr. Okimoto’s passion for supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in Japan; his childhood during World War II and the incarceration of Japanese Americans; his youth in academia; his wife, Council Leader Michiko Okimoto; and the future of U.S.-Japan relations.

John Onoda Receives Page Center Award


Congratulations to Member of the USJC Board of Councilors John Onoda, who will receive the 2018 Larry Foster Award from Pennsylvania State University’s Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication! Mr. Onoda is recognized for his distinguished career in communications, and for being an ethical leader in the corporate communications field. See this page for more details.

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.

U.S.-Japan-Israel Innovation Summit: Emerging Partnerships & Opportunities


When: February 5, 2018
Where: Plug and Play Tech Center (Sunnyvale, CA)

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) Asia Pacific Institute and USJC, in partnership with The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP) and IJ Advisors Ltd. (IJA), will hold an event to discuss U.S.-Japan-Israel trilateral opportunities in emerging technology sectors, venture capitalist investment and public-private partnerships. Japanese and Israeli government and business speakers will share their stories of successful partnerships, as well as the opportunities and innovation in Silicon Valley that have led to breakthrough technologies and services. Industries may include AI/robotics, cybersecurity, FinTech and more. A networking reception will follow the event.

For more information and to register, please visit the event page.

U.S.-Japan-Israel on the Global Stage: Opportunities for the Olympic and Paralympic Games


When: February 6, 2018
Where: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, CA)

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) Asia Pacific Institute and USJC, in partnership with The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP), will hold an event to discuss U.S.-Japan-Israel trilateral collaboration in connection to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. With Japan hosting the Games in 2020 and Los Angeles hosting shortly after in 2028, existing partnerships and future ones will shape the success of both events. Speakers will include government officials and industry experts from all three countries who will explore areas of collaboration in emerging technology, security, public-private partnerships and more. A networking reception will follow the event.

For more information and to register, please visit the event page.

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.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit this page.

Registration Open 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.


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 beginning in January 2018. 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.