U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (January 22nd, 2015)

2015 U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference

“Beyond 2020 Vision: Going Global with the U.S.-Japan Partnership”

USJC is pleased to announce our Sixth Annual Conference, to be held in Tokyo, Japan from November 9 to 10, 2015. The venue details are as follows:

  • November 9-10, 2015
    Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel
    B2F Cerulean Tower Ballroom
    26-1 Sakuragaokacho, Shibuya
    Tokyo 150-8512, Japan

(There will be additional TOMODACHI Initiative and special programming on Nov. 8 and Nov. 11.)

Online conference registration and hotel reservations will open in the coming months. For more information and the full conference schedule, please visit the USJC website here.

The 2015 USJC Annual Conference is made possible by our generous sponsors. To learn about sponsorship opportunities for the Annual Conference and other USJC events, please contact Development Director Georgette Furukawa-Martinez at gfurukawa-martinez[at]usjapancouncil.org.

2015 Japanese American Leadership Delegation Program

The delegates of the 2015 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program, who will travel to Tokyo and Hiroshima from March 6 to 14, are now preparing for their orientation in Los Angeles next weekend (January 30-31). We are excited to work with these ten talented individuals (their full biographies are now available here):

  • Ms. Lynn Hashimoto (Seattle, WA), Senior Attorney, Microsoft Corporation
  • Ms. Yoshie Ito (New York, NY), Assistant Director, Global Initiatives, Asia Society
  • Mr. Toshiki Masaki (Detroit, MI), Manager, Government Affairs, Ford Motor Company
  • Dr. Richard I. Morimoto (Chicago, IL), Bill and Gayle Cook Professor of Biology, Northwestern University
  • Ms. Priscilla Ouchida (San Francisco, CA), Executive Director, Japanese American Citizens League
  • Ms. Linda Taira (Los Angeles, CA), Senior Manager, Internal & CEO Communications, Boeing Defense, Space & Security
  • Ms. Sach Takayasu (Washington. DC), President & CEO, Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship
  • Mr. Tyler Tokioka (Honolulu, HI), Vice President, External Affairs, Island Insurance Companies
  • Dr. Tracy Tsuetaki (Chapel Hill, NC), Senior Vice President, PAREXEL International
  • Dr. Robin Yasui (Denver, CO), Director of Geriatrics, Denver Health

The Japanese American Leadership Delegation program 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, non-profit and cultural sectors. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs sponsors the program. The U.S.-Japan Council provides administration and organization for the program.

To learn more about the program, please see the JALD webpage, where information on past trips, like the JALD 2014 Report (click on the image below to read), are posted.


Upcoming TOMODACHI Programs

Here are a few TOMODACHI programs coming to the United States:

International Academic Opportunities

Here is some information for study abroad opportunities in Japan for American college students.

  • Bridging Scholarship program awards stipends of $2,500 (for students on semester-long programs) or $4,000 (for students on academic year programs) to U.S. college students planning to study abroad in Japan.
    Deadline: April 8, 2015, More information available here: https://www.aatj.org/studyabroad/scholarships
  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship aims to diversify the kinds of students who study and intern abroad and the countries and regions where they go. Online application and more information available here: https://www.iie.org/gilman
    Deadline: Summer 2015 & Fall/Academic Year 2015-2016 online applications are due March 3, 2015 by 11:59pm (Central)

TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program News Corner

This is a year-long series of articles by the 2014 class of the TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program.

Reflection from Ken Barron (ELP 2014)


Being born in a home where my father is from South Carolina, and my mother from Nagasaki, you could say that my life-long dream of becoming a cross-cultural bridge builder started the very minute I was born. To truly achieve this goal personally and professionally is no easy task. Needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled when I met fellow 2014 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders and learned that we all shared the same enthusiasm and passion for the important role of connecting two cultures. It was a true blessing to have the opportunity to learn from amazing global leaders during the U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference. Hearing their stories of precisely what it has taken to successfully construct their various ‘bridges’ was both inspirational and affirming.

Upon the completion of the Annual Conference, I returned with much excitement to my work as the Development Director of the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). NBR is a think tank that provides ideas and information that guide policymakers and business executives through the extraordinary challenges and opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. It has been a wonderful place to practice and refine the art of “bridge building.” One of my favorite current projects at NBR that truly defines this idea of “cross-cultural bridge building” identifies the policies, capabilities and strategies necessary for enhancing U.S.-Japan cooperation and coordination on human assistance and disaster relief in the Asia-Pacific. It is led by Senior Advisors Admiral Thomas B. Fargo and Lieutenant General Noboru Yamaguchi, and our own USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye was recently a captivating keynote speaker for the project workshop in Tokyo.

Perhaps the greatest takeaway for me at the Annual Conference was the importance of fellowship. Since my return to Seattle, I have continued to experience this in many ways. The USJC group in Seattle has graciously taken me under their wings, offering advice and counsel through meetings and email correspondence. Whether it is my fellow ELP cohorts, the sponsors of the ELP program, people who invested their time in teaching us Emerging Leaders about leadership, or Ms. Jill Hashimoto and the Seattle USJC members, I am grateful to be a part of a generous, dedicated, innovative and bridge-building community.

Ken Barron (back row, left) with his fellow 2014 Emerging Leaders at the Annual Conference in Honolulu


Jan. 22 – Innovation: Silicon Valley and Japan

The Japan Program at Shorenstein APARC, Stanford University is continuing the “New Channels” dialogue with support from the Sasakawa Peace Foundation today, January 22. This year’s theme is innovation and entrepreneurship, and the conference features many USJC members (registration is now closed but details are available here). Stay tuned for post-event reports in the future!

Jan. 25 – Japanese New Year Celebration in Washington

The Japan Commerce Association of Washington, DC (JCAW) will hold a Japanese New Year Celebration on Sunday, January 25. Details are as follows:

  • Date & Time: Sunday, January 25, 2015 11:00am~3:30pm
  • Location: Washington Marriott Wardman Park
  • 2660 Woodley Road NW, Washington D.C. 20008

The festival will include traditional Japanese performances as well as a food court and a variety of family-friendly activities. To see more information and to buy advance tickets, see this page on the JCAW website.

Member News

Emily Murase Elected to San Francisco School Board President

The wonderful news continues! On January 13, USJC Council Member Emily Murase was elected to serve as President of the San Francisco School Board. She became the first President of Japanese ancestry in the San Francisco School Board’s 160+ year history.

Read more in this press release from the San Francisco School Board.

U.S. and Japan in the News

  • Time is running out for Japanese hostages held by Islamic State
    The Washington Post, Jan 22
  • Japan, Britain agree closer on security cooperation
    The Japan Times, Jan 22
  • Dollar firmer around ¥118 amid buzz over ECB monetary policy decision
    The Japan News, Jan 22
  • Possibility of negotiations to free hostages still unclear
    The Japan News, Jan 21
  • Plan OK’d for dumping Fukushima’s water into ocean after treatment
    Mainichi Shimbun, Jan 21
  • It’s a hoot hanging out with owls at this Tokyo cafe
    The Washington Post, Jan 21
  • Islamic State threatens to kill Japanese hostages, demands $200 million
    Los Angeles Times, Jan 20
  • Itochu, Thai firm eye ¥1 tril. investment in CITIC Group
    The Japan News, Jan 20
  • Coming Off the Bench, a Basketball Ambassador
    The New York Times, Jan 20
  • Defense in Japan: Up in arms
    The Economist, Jan 19
  • BOJ Beat: Bank Lending Program Up Next?
    The Wall Street Journal, Jan 19
  • Okada edges Hosono in run-off, will lead opposition DPJ for second time
    The Asahi Shimbun, Jan 18
  • First e-campaigns heavily ignored by voters during snap election
    The Japan Times, Jan 18
  • Man, 53, to debut as a bullet train driver on new Hokkaido line
    Mainichi Shimbun, Jan 18
  • In Egypt, Abe pledges support for Mideast countries battling Islamic State jihadis
    The Japan Times, Jan 17
  • Government considers 20% target for nuclear power output in 2030
    The Japan News, Jan 17
  • Japan Marks 20th Anniversary of Kobe Earthquake
    The Wall Street Journal, Jan 17
  • Analysis: Why Cheap Oil Helps Japan’s Industries More Than Consumers
    The Wall Street Journal, Jan 16
  • METI eyes lowering solar energy buying rate under feed-in tariff system
    Mainichi Shimbun, Jan 16
  • Abe urges Seoul to respect press freedom, let journalist leave country
    The Asahi Shimbun, Jan 16
  • Abe wants maritime liaison talks accelerated
    The Japan News, Jan 15
  • 900 billion yen allocated for women’s empowerment in fiscal 2015 budget
    Mainichi Shimbun, Jan 15
  • Want to discuss cats or novels? Haruki Murakami will answer
    The Washington Post, Jan 15
  • Japan Cabinet OKs record military budget with eye on China
    The Washington Post, Jan 14
  • Bonds to fund nearly 40% of record budget in fiscal 2015
    The Asahi Shimbun, Jan 14
  • State secrets law could constrain researchers
    The Japan Times, Jan 14
  • Ministry doubles funding for research to produce ‘power semiconductor’
    Mainichi Shimbun, Jan 13
  • Robots to Greet Customers at Japanese Bank
    The Wall Street Journal, Jan 13
  • The Changing Workplace / Internet creates new ways of working
    The Japan News, Jan 13
  • Park says she is open to ‘meaningful’ summit with Abe
    Mainichi Shimbun, Jan 12
  • Government projects 1.5% real GDP growth for FY15
    The Japan News, Jan 12
  • LDP to seek multiparty project team to draft revised Constitution
    The Japan Times, Jan 12
  • Ruling bloc may push back security legislation talks
    The Japan Times, Jan 11
  • Japan in Depth / Hosono, Okada seen leading tight DPJ race
    The Japan News, Jan 11
  • Sara Takanashi of Japan wins 2nd straight ski jumping World Cup event on home soil
    Los Angeles Times, Jan 11
  • OUTLOOK 2015 / Will Abe’s growth strategy make our cups flow over?
    The Japan News, Jan 10
  • Most prefectures, major cities acquire more disaster-prevention staff after 2011 quake
    Mainichi Shimbun, Jan 10
  • Kishida to visit India, Europe, eyes talks on terrorism in France
    The Japan Times, Jan 9
  • Japanese Whalers Leave for Antarctic Mission–Without Harpoons
    The Wall Street Journal, Jan 9
  • Snow monkeys to Washingtonians: You’re doing it wrong.
    The Washington Post, Jan 9