U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (March 5th, 2015)

Building the TOMODACHI Generation Program successfully concludes in Washington, DC

At the reception at TWC on February 26 (Photos courtesy of TWC)

The Building the TOMODACHI Generation program has concluded successfully. During the two-week program, U.S.-Japan Council members, TOMODACHI sponsors and guests celebrated the Japanese and American participants with several events.

During the two-week program, participants took part in team-building exercises in addition to lectures and discussions

On February 26, a reception was held at The Washington Center (TWC). TWC President Michael Smith, U.S-Japan Research Institute (USJI) President Katsuichi Uchida and USJC Program Manager Mya Fisher offered brief remarks, congratulating the participants on their success and hard work during the program, and wishing them luck on their presentations the following day. This program is generously supported by Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation and Hitachi, Ltd. through the TOMODACHI Fund for Exchanges, as well as by Morgan Stanley.

Five groups took turns presenting on projects to address issues in Tohoku

On February 27, the students took part in a group presentation competition. The 35 participants of this year’s program (20 Japanese and 15 American college students) were divided into five teams and were tasked with developing and presenting an idea for a project to address a specific need or issue of people in the Tohoku region. Projects ranged from cross-generational community gardens in Ishinomaki and small gardens for orphanages, to training for young entrepreneurs in Miyagi. Teams Fuku Mirai (Happy Future) and Itadaki (Above the Clouds) were awarded the top prize for: their educational programs on PTSD in Iwate and Miyagi (Fuku Mirai) and digital education program for seniors in Rikuzentakata (Itadaki). The presentations were judged by a panel comprised of USJI President Katsuichi Uchida, TWC’s Pilar Mendiola Fernandez, Christopher Cook of Keel Point Advisors, and USJC Associate Member Brandon Mita. The judges were impressed by the teams’ ideas and their detailed plans on how to implement their proposals. American students of the two winning teams will travel to Japan this summer, visiting Tohoku to participate in community and service projects.

Judges of the final presentations included Associate Member Brandon Mita (second from left)

The Japanese students returned to Japan on February 28 and made their presentations to representatives of Morgan Stanley and the Fund for Exchanges companies. The American participants will continue their semester interning in the Washington, DC area before returning to their universities across the United States this summer. “The Building the TOMODACHI Generation program . . . allowed my teammates and myself to create a bond and commitment to the betterment of our communities and to lasting international friendships,” said Jacob C. Mackey, a participant from the University of Tampa. We look forward to seeing Teams Fuku Mirai and Itadaki again in the summer!

Fuku Mirai is one of the winning teams that will reconvene in Tohoku this summer

Click here to see more photos from the Building the TOMODACHI Generation Program.

Recent USJC Events

JAPAN in 2015 Symposium – Los Angeles

A scene from the second panel discussion, which focused on Japan’s economy (Photos courtesy of the Japan America Society of Southern California)

The JAPAN in 2015 Symposium, held in Los Angeles on February 19, gathered leading experts on Japan from across the United States and Japan. The speakers took an in-depth look and “forecast” the coming year on Japanese domestic affairs, U.S.-Japan bilateral economic and security relationships and U.S.-Japan cooperation in international affairs. Mr. Larry Meyer, Chief Executive Officer of UNIQLO USA, was the keynote speaker. USJC Member Yuko Kaifu, who is Executive Vice President of the Japan Business Association of Southern California (JBA), also spoke.

Keynote speaker Mr. Larry Meyer, Chief Executive Officer of UNIQLO USA

This event was presented by the Japan America Society of Southern California with JBA. USJC was a co-sponsor. Click here for more details about the event.

Hawaii Membership Event – Honolulu

On February 24, USJC members in Hawaii organized a membership event. About forty people gathered at the Waialae Country Club.

The program included several speakers, including Board Member Bobby Ichikawa, who gave welcome remarks. USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye thanked the Hawaii members for an incredible Annual Conference last year, and discussed the upcoming Sixth Annual Conference that will be held in Tokyo in November.

Lynn Miyahira and Aki Marceau, both Associate Members and alumnae of the TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), spoke about their experience with the program and how much they benefited from expanding their national and international network. They shared input from various ELP Alumni about how their careers have grown and how they remain engaged with USJC and the Japanese American community.

ELP alumni and Associate Members in Hawaii: (L-R) Kent Walther, John Rankin, Brandon Marc Higa, Lynn Miyahira, Kay Fukunaga, Aki Marceau, Nate Gyotoku

Council Member Dennis Ogawa, one of the faculty members leading the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program, briefly spoke about the upcoming Hawaii visit of Matsuyama University students, including a March 11 event (see the TOMODACHI News Corner below for details).

New Chairman of the Board of Directors Dennis Teranishi made concluding remarks, discussing the important role that Hawaii plays in USJC.

Several USJC sponsors also attended the event, including Mr. Jeff Watanabe of HEI Industries (HECO, American Savings) and Ms. Donna Eustaquio of American Airlines (shown below with Vice Chair of the USJC Board of Directors Mike Hirai, who led development for the Annual Conference in Honolulu). Ms. Eustaquio flew in from Los Angeles to attend!

(L-R) Mr. Watanabe, Ms. Eustaquio and Mr. Hirai

We thank the Hawaii members for organizing this event!


There are a number of regional TOMODACHI events and activities coming up across the United States. Find out what’s happening near you. Get involved! Come out and support!

Application information and other updates


2014 program participants at a USJC Womenomics event in Washington, DC last year

  • We are now accepting applications for the 2015 TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program. We are seeking applicants from Chicago, Detroit, Nashville, Portland, Texas (U.S.) and Kyoto, Miyagi, Oita, Okinawa, and Toyama (Japan). Program information, deadlines and application information can be found here.
  • High school students in Southern California: apply for the 4th TOMODACHI MUFG International Exchange Program! This program invites 20 American high school students from southern California to visit Kyoto, Hiroshima, Tokyo and Miyagi. The deadline is March 30. Application information and materials can be found here.

Upcoming TOMODACHI Events in the United States

  • Mar. 10, 11:00a.m. (Boston)
    Come meet the students from Showa Women’s University in Tokyo and their hosts at University of Massachusetts Boston, who are all part of the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program! For full event details contact Paul Watanabe.
  • Mar. 10, 5:30p.m. (Chicago)
    DePaul University will host an event for students of Ritsumeikan University, who will be visiting DePaul as part of the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program. See details here.
  • Mar. 10, 7:00p.m. (Los Angeles)
    Loyola Marymount University (LMU) will host a reception welcoming the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars of Sophia University, who will be visiting LMU. See details here.
  • Mar. 11, 4:00 – 5:00p.m. (Honolulu)
    Students from Matsuyama University, who will be in Hawaii as part of the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program, will present to a broad audience at Campus Center at the University of Hawaii. Contact Hiroyo Nonoyama (Director of U.S. and Japan Programs at USJC) to learn more.
  • Apr. 11, 6:00 – 7:30p.m. (Silicon Valley)
    Reception for participants of the TOMODACHI Daiwa House Student Leadership Conference at Hotel Cypress Cupertino
    This is a save-the-date; a formal invitation will follow. For additional information, contact USJC Senior Vice President Kaz Maniwa at [email protected].

Please also be sure to see the “Upcoming Events” section below, which lists further events related to TOMODACHI!

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 Lauren Ohata (ELP 2014)

Lauren (front row, center) at a Southern California members event in February

Laughter, warmth and a shared commitment to furthering U.S.-Japan relations . . . Last month, I had the pleasure of attending my first Southern California USJC chapter meeting as a recent DC transplant. I felt welcome, energized and eager to contribute to U.S.-Japan relations from the left coast. Five months have passed since my experience as a TOMODACHI Emerging Leader at the USJC Annual Conference in Honolulu, HI. I have since changed jobs and swapped coasts. After over four years implementing health care reform for the federal government in Washington, DC, I am now on the other side, implementing health care reform for Kaiser Permanente’s health insurance plan.

On both coasts, in both chapters, I am struck by the shared commitment to promote a strong and positive U.S.-Japan relationship. In all regions, USJC is working hard to strengthen U.S.-Japan relations, including efforts to build the next generation of TOMODACHI leaders. I am motivated by the cross-sector experience and diverse backgrounds of the USJC membership. The Emerging Leaders cheer each other’s successes, and more importantly, collaborate on ideas to help the TOMODACHI Initiative foster the next generation of leaders. We’ve worked together to propose programming for the youth summit this fall as a part of the Annual Conference in Tokyo, with the aim to encourage cross-border team building, leadership development of the TOMODACHI generation, and intergenerational mentorship opportunities.

On March 9, I will have the privilege to meet and learn from the 2015 TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars from Sophia University, Japan. Programs such as the TOMODACHI Inouye Scholars Program shape our future of stronger bilateral ties. As an Emerging Leader, I look forward to being a bridge to further U.S.-Japan relations.

Upcoming Events

Mar. 9 – JALD Symposium (Hiroshima)

  • Date & Time: Monday, March 9, 2015, 5:00 – 7:00p.m.
  • Venue: Multimedia Studio, 6th floor of Hiroshima City Plaza for Town Development through Citizen Exchange
  • Cost: Free

Ten Japanese American leaders will be in Japan from March 7 to 14 on the annual Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program. On March 9, the delegates will participate in a ​symposium in Hiroshima titled, “Aging and Dementia: Cooperation between the U.S. and Japan, from Research to Health Care.” This symposium is sponsored by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and USJC, and is open to the public​.

Please see the flier for more information. The registration deadline is TODAY (March 5).​​ ​(Further information is also available online here (Japanese only).)

Mar. 13 – New York Culinary Diplomacy Event (New York)

  • Date & Time: Friday, March 13, 2015, 6:30 – 10:30p.m.
  • Venue: Home Studios (873 Broadway, New York, NY 10003)
  • Cost: $150.00 per person
  • *Only 150 tickets are available. Attendees must be ages 21+ to attend.*

With kind support and donations from several Japanese restaurants and organizations, USJC will celebrate Japanese cuisine and the spirit of the U.S.-Japan relationship. There will be a soba demonstration as well as food stations, an open bar and a silent auction. The event will also commemorate those who lost their lives during the Great East Japan Earthquake.

New Consul General to New York, Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, will be in attendance. We look forward to welcoming him to New York City.

Please view the event flyer for more information. We ask that you kindly register here by March 7.

Mar. 16 – Womenomics: An Economic and Social Roadmap for Japan (New York)

  • Date & Time: Monday, March 16, 2015, 6:30 – 8:00p.m.
  • Location: Asia Society (725 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021)
  • Cost: $15 for non-Asia Society members

Asia Society is hosting a program on March 16 titled “Womenomics: An Economic and Social Roadmap for Japan.” The program, a panel discussion moderated by Henny Sender, chief correspondent of international finance for the Financial Times, will welcome as speakers Joanna Barsh, Director Emeritus at McKinsey & Co.; Naoko Ogawa, Senior Manager of Women’s Empowerment division at Keidanren; and Carol Gluck, George Sansom Professor of History and Professor of East Asian Language and Cultures at Columbia University. They will discuss the cultural, social and political challenges in “Womenomics.” Please see further details on the Asia Society website.

Mar. 17 – Partnerships for Effective Disaster Management: Lessons from Multi-Sectoral Leaders in the U.S. and Japan and Beyond (Sendai)

  • Date & Time: Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 12:00 – 2:00p.m.
  • Location: Sendai Civic Auditorium Meeting Room 7
  • Cost: Free

This is R3ADY Asia-Pacific’s side event at the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR). This is the follow-up to a R3ADY roundtable and breakout session that was conducted in conjunction with the USJC Annual Conference in Honolulu. Please see further details on the R3ADY website.

Mar. 19 – U.S.-Japan Council Prospective Members Reception (Seattle)

  • Date & Time: Thursday, March 19, 2015, 6:00 – 8:00p.m.
  • Venue: Japanese Cultural & Community Center (1414 South Weller, Seattle, WA 98144)
  • Cost: Free

USJC invites you to an informal reception to hear from USJC leaders and Seattle-based members to learn more about USJC membership and our programs. We will be joined by special guests from Japan–young, emerging social leaders and entrepreneurs–who are in Seattle on a TOMODACHI Initiative/iLEAP leadership training program. You are welcome to contact USJC Senior Vice President Kaz Maniwa at [email protected] with any questions.

Mar. 19 – Hawaii as an Innovation Test Bed (Honolulu)

  • Date & Time: Thursday, March 19, 2015, 8 – 9:30a.m. (Registration and breakfast at 7:30a.m.)
  • Venue: The Pacific Club, Card Room (1451 Queen Emma St, Honolulu, HI 96813)
  • Cost: $25 for JASH members, $35 for non-JASH Members

Hawaii has the research, technology, and geographic advantages to be a leading test-bed of international innovation. Join the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) for a panel discussion to learn about an extraordinary collaboration between Japan and Hawaii–the multimillion-dollar JUMPSmartMaui project. This demonstration project will incorporate Smart Grid, renewable energy, and all-Electric Vehicle (EV) solutions to achieve a cleaner future for Maui, and to serve as an exemplar for all of Hawaii and beyond.

Featuring Takashi Hatchoji (Chairman, Hitachi America, Ltd.) as speaker. Moderated by USJC Friend of the Council Tab Bowers (Executive Vice President, Marketing and Business Development, American Savings Bank).

Please register here by March 11, 2015.

Mar. 24 – Very Young Composers from Fukushima and New York (New York)

  • Date & Time: Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 5:00 – 6:00p.m.
  • Venue: Lincoln Center – David Rubinstein Atrium (61 W 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023; see directions here.)
  • Cost: Free

Please join USJC and participants of the TOMODACHI New York Fukushima Very Young Composers Program on March 24 for a special performance by a chamber ensemble of New York Philharmonic musicians at the Lincoln Center. Please see more information about the event on the New York Philharmonic website.

Since October 2014, children ages 10-15 from Fukushima and New York City collaboratively composed short “musical postcards” based on the Japanese folksong “chou-cho” (butterfly), evoking a conceptual theme of “rebirth,” for a performance by musicians of the New York Philharmonic. This TOMODACHI program promotes meaningful cultural exchanges through the exploration of music, providing a way for youth to communicate on a person-to-person level that goes beyond country borders and language issues.

The TOMODACHI New York Fukushima Very Young Composers Program is made possible by the generous support from the TOMODACHI Fund for Exchanges. We hope you will join us in supporting our future musical ambassadors of U.S.-Japan relations!

Mar. 31 – Updates from Tohoku: A Journey to New Life (Boston)

  • Date & Time: Tuesday, March 31, 2015, 6-8p.m.
  • Venue: The Red Room at Café 939, Berklee College of Music (939 Boylston Street, Boston, MA)
  • Cost: Free

“Updates from Tohoku, a journey to new life” is a commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the disaster that occurred on March 11, 2011. It is hosted by the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston, Berklee College of Music, Fish Family Foundation, Japan Society of Boston, and the U.S.-Japan Council / TOMODACHI Initiative. With the purpose to not let Tohoku be forgotten, the event will celebrate the friendship between Boston and Tohoku, and showcase individuals and projects working on the disaster ground, including Shun Kanda of the MIT Japan 3/11 Initiative, Anne Nishimura Morse of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Megumi Ishimoto of Women’s Eyes. Two Berklee students, recipients of the TOMODACHI – Suntory scholarship program, will also perform short pieces as tributes to Tohoku.

Please see this flier for more information and click here to register.

Apr. 17 – Stories from Tohoku screening and Portland Membership Event (Portland)

  • Date & Time: Friday, April 17, 2015, 6:00p.m. (Light refreshments from 5:30p.m.)
  • Venue: Mercy Corps Aceh Room (45 SW Ankeny St., Portland, OR 97204)
  • Cost: Free

Please join USJC for this screening of Stories from Tohoku (produced by Council Members Dianne Fukami and Debra Nakatomi), which captures the strength, resilience, grace and acceptance of the survivors of the March 11, 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Tohoku. Following the film, a short discussion will be held with the filmmakers and local members who visited Tohoku. Please click here to register.

Member News

Aimee Sueko Eng elected to Oakland Unified School District Board of Education

We just learned that Associate Member and TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program alumna Aimee Sueko Eng was elected to the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education District 2 this past November–with an overwhelming 75% share of the vote! A fifth-generation Oaklander and the granddaughter of Oakland’s first Asian-American elected official, Amy has devoted her professional career to expanding educational opportunity for children in the East Bay. She is the Senior Program Officer at the Thomas J. Long Foundation and was a member of the inaugural class of the TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program. Read more about her in this Rafu Shimpo article.


Executive Director, TOMODACHI Initiative

The U.S.-Japan Council is seeking a talented, dynamic individual for the position of Executive Director, TOMODACHI Initiative. The Executive Director of the TOMODACHI Initiative is responsible for the implementation of the goals and objectives of the initiative, providing leadership and oversight of program development and management, fundraising, communications and operations for TOMODACHI. The Executive Director will be based in Tokyo and manage the TOMODACHI staff in Japan (currently 8 people), and will work closely with the Senior Vice-President and U.S.-Japan Council staff in the United States. The Executive Director will have the primary responsibility for day-to-day liaising with the U.S. Embassy leadership and staff.

The preferred start date is April 1.

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

Sasakawa Peace Foundation Resident Fellowship at Pacific Forum CSIS

The Pacific Forum is seeking one U.S. and one Japanese Resident Fellow for a six month fellowship program. The fellowship provides an opportunity to research and gain further insight into the U.S.-Japan alliance, as well as to work with Pacific Forum’s global network of government, business and academic contacts in developing concrete policy solutions.

The application deadline has been extended to March 31. Selected fellows will begin their residency in the summer or early fall 2015. For more information and to apply, visit //csis.org/program/spf-fellowship.

U.S. and Japan in the News

  • Bill To Lower Voting Age Submitted to Parliament
    The Wall Street Journal, Mar 5
  • Japan, China to hold first security talks in four years
    Reuters, Mar 5
  • Fukushima fears no longer a drag on tourism
    The Japan Times, Mar 5
  • Japanese World War II Battleship Musashi Found, Billionaire Paul Allen Says
    NPR, Mar 4
  • Born In 1898: World’s Oldest Living Person Celebrates Birthday
    NPR, Mar 4
  • U.S. honors Japanese activist fighting against ‘maternity harassment’
    The Japan Times, Mar 4
  • Michelle Obama to visit Japan
    The Wall Street Journal, Mar 3
  • Japan negotiator: TPP trade deal with US do-able by spring
    The Washington Post, Mar 3
  • U.S. researchers criticize Japanese gov’t for pressure over history textbook
    Mainichi Shimbun, Mar 3
  • Oregon family hopes to free daughter jailed in Japan
    The Washington Post, Mar 2
  • From Sulu to Spock
    Rafu Shimpo, Mar 2
  • Top WSJ Stories on Japan: Lowering Voting Age, BOJ’s Nakaso, Suzuki Motor
    The Wall Street Journal, Mar 2
  • Educator brings fresh learning opportunities to Tohoku youths
    The Japan Times, Mar 1
  • Park urges Japan to resolve ‘comfort women’ issue
    Mainichi Shimbun, Mar 1
  • Prince William meets Japan tsunami survivors who handwrote newspaper
    BBC, March 1
  • Volcano grows Japanese island
    CNN, Feb 28
  • Reforming Japan: Just do it
    The Economist, Feb 28
  • Britain’s Prince William visits Fukushima with Abe
    Japan Times, Feb 28
  • A prime opportunity to turbo-charge our economy
    CNBC (Commentary), Feb 27
  • Top WSJ Stories on Japan: Prince William Visit, Nissan Infiniti, Taco Bell
    The Wall Street Journal, Feb 27
  • LDP, DPJ to face off in just 2 gov. polls / Joint support of incumbents eyed in 6 races
    The Japan News, Feb 27
  • Gov’t aims to expand ship inspections as support for foreign forces
    Mainichi Shimbun, Feb 27
  • Japan’s Household Spending and Retail Sales Decline
    The New York Times, Feb 26
  • Japan’s tug-of-war over World War II statement
    Los Angeles Times, Feb 26
  • Kennedy thanks woman who gave ‘hina’ doll set to her father
    The Japan Times, Feb 26
  • Big 3 gas turbine makers eye thermal plant orders
    The Japan News, Feb 25
  • Okinawa governor likely to halt seabed survey for Futenma relocation
    The Asahi Shimbun, Feb 25
  • Secondary exams for national, public universities start across Japan
    Mainichi Shimbun, Feb 25
  • Opposition assails Abe over Nishikawa resignation
    The Japan Times, Feb 24
  • A Caregiver Robot With a ‘Gentle Touch’
    The Wall Street Journal, Feb 24
  • Tokyo police to station ex-officers at banks to prevent money transfer scams
    Mainichi Shimbun, Feb 24
  • Honda’s President Resigns, After A Troubled Year For Carmaker
    NPR, Feb 23
  • Nishikawa resigns as minister over funds
    The Japan News, Feb 23
  • Defense Ministry eyes law change to loosen civilian grip on SDF
    Mainichi Shimbun, Feb 22
  • Japan Inc. sees no need for 2 percent inflation or more easing: Reuters poll
    Reuters, Feb 22
  • Vision not yet clear for security legislation / LDP, Komeito remain apart over policy
    The Japan News, Feb 21
  • Yutaka Katayama dies at 105; auto exec led Japan’s rise in U.S. market
    Los Angeles Times, Feb 21
  • Japan, France to hold security talks in mid-March
    The Japan Times, Feb 21
  • Japan-led group to win Qatar subway order
    The Japan News, Feb 20
  • Gov’t picks for war anniv. panel designed to emphasize body’s neutrality
    Mainichi Shimbun, Feb 20
  • Japan and immigration: Bad timing
    The Economist, Feb 20