U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (July 23rd, 2015)

Business Networking Meeting in DC Brings Executives from Across the Country

On July 13 and 14, the U.S.-Japan Council hosted the Japanese and Japanese American Business Networking Initiative meeting in Washington, DC. More than thirty participants– including representatives of seven Japanese Chambers of Commerce –attended from 12 states across the country. This marked the largest occasion of this annual meeting, which included discussions and meetings with government officials, business leaders, and Members of Congress.

The Business Networking Initiative is a dialogue that brings together Japanese and Japanese American business professionals to build relationships on a regional, national and international level. It is usually held in conjunction with the USJC Annual Conference, but was made a separate event this year as USJC’s Annual Conference will be held in Tokyo this November. This allowed USJC to expand upon the discussions, in both time and content, and provided participants the opportunity to meet with prominent leaders in DC.

Dignitaries who met with the participants included Ms. Catherine Novelli, Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment at the U.S. Department of State, who discussed pressing issues in East Asia, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); Dr. Phyllis Yoshida, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy, who discussed U.S.-Japan energy initiatives; and Mr. John Getchis, Senior Vice President at the Office of Capital Markets, Ginnie Mae (part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), who spoke about Ginnie Mae’s partnership with the Japan Housing Finance Agency. During a discussion on Capitol Hill, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) shared his activities as Co-Chair of the U.S.-Japan Caucus, and Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) spoke of her appreciation for U.S.-Japan trade and Japan’s recent initiatives to support women.

Other leaders who shared their expertise with the group included Mr. Kanji Yamanouchi, Minister of Economic Affairs at the Embassy of Japan; Dr. Kent Calder, Director of Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at John Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies; and Mr. Kurt Tong, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. In between these meetings, the Japanese chambers of commerce reported on their respective growth, membership and activities from this past year, and USJC leadership, including Chairman Dennis Teranishi and Founding Chairman Tom Iino, discussed the future of USJC.

The intensive schedule also included receptions on both evenings. On July 13, Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae generously hosted a reception at his Residence, welcoming over 200 leaders and officials from Japanese and American governments and businesses. Mr. Daniel Russel, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs; Ms. Caroline Atkinson, White House Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs; and Ambassador Sasae each spoke of U.S.-Japan economic relations, voicing their strong support for TPP. “Trade is not a zero-sum game; it can lead to more productivity, higher wages, more innovation and better allocation of resources around the world,” Ms. Atkinson said. Dr. Ellen Williams, Director of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), spoke of scientific collaboration between the two countries. USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye discussed the role regional ties play in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations overall.

On July 14, USJC hosted a Capitol Hill reception welcoming several Members of Congress, in which the Members had the opportunity to meet with their corporate constituents. Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05), Democratic Whip, discussed how stronger U.S.-Japan relations benefits the United States, such as by increasing investments and creating jobs, as outlined in the House Democrats’ “Make It In America” plan (which he leads). “Working together will ensure that the 21st century is much more peaceful, productive and positive,” he said. Other Members of Congress who made remarks during the reception were Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07), Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-22), Congressman Al Green (TX-29), Congressman Mark Takai (HI-01) and Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41). In addition, Ms. Kaitlin Sighinolfi, from the office of Congressman Charles Boustany (LA-03), Co-Chair of the U.S.-Japan Caucus, attended the reception as well.

Mr. Mark Gorman, Senior Vice President of Government Relations at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), also expressed his appreciation for trade between the two countries. The program concluded with a toast to stronger U.S.-Japan relations and the importance of mutually beneficial trade between the two countries by Minister Hiroyasu Izumi, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Japanese Embassy in the U.S.

The participants of the two-day event have expressed their appreciation in meeting so many government and business leaders, and said that they look forward to sharing with their local communities what they have learned. USJC extends its sincere appreciation for the participants, the generous supporters (DISCUS, Oracle, Hitachi, Ltd. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Inc.), the leaders who met with the participants, and everyone who attended this event.

Please visit our Flickr page to see more photos.

Recent Events

Daniel K Inouye Lectures – Washington, DC

The Daniel K. Inouye Distinguished Lecture Series focuses on a topic each year that “reflects Senator Inouye’s legacy of public service and civic engagement.” The lecture was presented and held by the Library of Congress through the Daniel K. Inouye Distinguished Lecture Series, and explores how new policymakers and elected officials have dealt with foreign policy and finding common ground on issues of international relations.

Titled “Finding Shared Values for U.S. Foreign Policy”, this inaugural lecture features Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State, and Colin Powell, the first African American Secretary of State. While the event was held earlier this month, the lecture has just been added to YouTube in its entirety. The entire lecture runs about an hour, but the opening remarks can be found from 11:07 until 21:40.

To view the lecture, please follow this link.


Host Families Needed!

Host families are needed for a TOMODACHI program in the San Francisco/Bay area! The TOMODACHI Summer 2015 SoftBank Leadership Program is looking for families to host a student (or two) overnight during the weekend of July 31 to August 2. The students will be staying on the campus of the University of California for the majority of the program and only need to be hosted for those three days.

For more information, please view the Homestay FAQ.
To apply, please fill out the application form.

Questions or completed applications may be sent to On-site Coordinator David Beiser.


Staffing Update: Farewell from USJC Staff Member Emi KamemotoIt has been a tremendous three years since I first joined the U.S.-Japan Council network as a TOMODACHI & USJC Intern before officially joining the staff as the Executive Assistant.

I have been so grateful for the opportunity to work with students at TOMODACHI orientations, support the Annual Conference, work directly with our extraordinary Board Members, Members, and Staff, and– last but not least– work with Irene as her Assistant. I have learned so much from my experiences with USJC and look forward to staying involved from Los Angeles.

The USJC is truly redefining the relationships between Japan, America, and Japanese Americans, and I’m excited and honored to be a part of this community. Thank you to my colleagues, past and present, for making this an unforgettable experience.

Emi Kamemoto, Executive Assistant

Member News

New USJC Members in June 2015

Members who joined us this month are:


  • Mr. Gary Yamashita (Denver, CO)
    CEO, Sakura Square LLC


  • Ms. Marie Alexander (Detroit, MI)
    Government & Stakesholder Relations, Ford Motor Co.
  • Mr. Anthony Askew (Detroit, MI)
    Program Coordinator, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation
  • Mr. Patrick Baird (Nashville, TN)
    Associate, Lodestone Advisory Group
  • Mr. Newcombe Clark (Chicago, IL)
    Senior Manager, AIG Science Group
  • Ms. Sayaka Fujii (Kyoto, Japan)
    Chief Manager, Tourism and MICE Office, Kyoto City Office
  • Mr. Takanori Hayashi (Oita, Japan)
    Manager, Industry Accumulation Promotion Officer, Oita Prefectural Government Office
  • Ms. Minori Kato (Miyagi, Japan)
    Senior Manager, Thermal & Nuclear Power Division, Tohoku Electric Power Company
  • Mr. Keiichi Kobayashi (Toyama, Japan)
    Senior Manager, Planning and Coordination Division, Toyama City Office
  • Mr. Zach Krahmer (Portland, OR)
    Photographer and Video Producer
  • Mr. Shotaro Kurata (Fukuoka, Japan)
    Assistant Manager, Strategy Management Department, Kyushu Railway Co.
  • Mr. Jeff Madden (Austin, TX)
    Director, Committee of International Trade and Intergovernment Affairs, Texas House of Representatives
  • Ms. Shina Miyagi (Okinawa, Japan)
    Executive Assistant, Okinawa Marriott Resort & Spa
  • Ms. Daniela One (Chicago, IL)
    Economic Specialist, Consulate General of Japan, Chicago
  • Ms. Mari Orita (Toyama, Japan)
    Chief of Staff/Accounting Division, Hokuriku Electric Power Company
  • Ms. Becky Paxton (Nashville, TN)
    Development Coordinator, Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art
  • Ms. Yukiko Sato (Miyagi, Japan)
    Administrative Assistant, International Affairs Division, Miyagi Prefectural Governmet
  • Ms. Yurika Tamashiro (Okinawa, Japan)
    Sales Coordinator, Industrial Promotion Division, Okinawa Prefectural Government
  • Ms. Alisa Tobin (Houston, TX)
    JET Program & MEXT Coordinator, Consulate General of Japan, Houston


  • Mr. Edward Johnson (Tokyo, Japan)
    Partner, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
  • Mr. Wei Ku (New York, NY)
    Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Upcoming Events

September 28 – AALD Symposium (Kyoto, Japan)

  • Date & Time: September 28, 2015 at 4pm – 5:30pm
  • Venue: Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto, Japan)

As part of the Asian American Leadership Delegation program—funded by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and implemented by the U.S.-Japan Council—six Asian American state legislators, who will be visiting Japan then, will speak at a panel discussion at Ritsumeikan University. They will discuss their varied political journeys from the perspective of leadership diversification.

To learn more and to register, click here.


Administrative Assistant/Office Manager – Washington, DC

The Administrative Assistant/Office Manager will have primary responsibility for office administrative operations in the Washington, D.C. headquarters’ office including office management, executive and organizational support for the President, Board of Directors and Board of Councilors and general administrative support duties. The position requires an individual who is flexible, able to multi-task and prioritize, takes initiative, well- organized, able to plan and meet deadlines and is comfortable working independently and as part of a team.

Click here to see the PDF version of this job description.

A listing of qualifications and responsibilities is available on the USJC website here.

External Communications Specialist – TOMODACHI Initiative (Tokyo)

Working under the direction of the Executive Director of the TOMODACHI Initiative in Japan, the External Communications Specialist will assist in developing and implementing a comprehensive strategic marketing strategy, and will play a critical role in creating a strategic social media plan that promotes the brand and impact of the TOMODACHI Initiative among a diverse audience, including senior corporate executives, government leaders, recipients of support, other donors and the press. The External Communications Specialist will interact closely with donors and corporate executives to market programs, while working closely with teams from the U.S.-Japan Council in the United States and Japan, and the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo in the implementation of this mission. This position is offered for a one-year contract, with an option for renewal each year.

Click here to see the PDF version of this job description. Click here to see the PDF version of this job description in Japanese. Please note that it is important for the External Communications Specialist to be a native Japanese speaker.

A listing of qualifications and responsibilities is available on the USJC website here.