U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (May 11th, 2018)

Japan-Texas Economic Summit Successfully Concludes

Summit Chair (and Member of the USJC Board of Directors) Donna Cole welcomes Japanese Ambassador Shinsuke J. Sugiyama with a cowboy hat

Thank you to everyone who supported or attended the Japan-Texas Economic Summit in Houston! The summit concluded earlier this week after bringing together approximately 400 leaders from Japan, the Lone Star State, and the rest of the United States.

A full summary and more photos will be available soon!

Recent Events

Capitol Hill Reception Welcomes Visiting Diet Members

On May 1, USJC joined the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE), The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and a coalition of other U.S.-Japan interest groups (the Japan-United States Friendship Commission, U.S. CULCON, and the Congressional Study Group on Japan) in hosting an annual reception on Capitol Hill.

The reception welcomed 10 Japanese Diet members—including Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Yoshimasa Hayashi—who were visiting Washington, DC during Japan’s Golden Week to meet with key officials of Congress, especially to discuss upcoming meetings with North Korea. Over 150 leading figures in U.S.-Japan relations attended, including current and former Congressional members, business leaders, senior government officials and many USJC members. Congressman Mark Takano (Member of the USJC Board of Councilors) made remarks, and the recently appointed Japanese Ambassador Shinsuke J. Sugiyama gave a toast to celebrate the occasion.

(L-R): Jun Aketa of Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc.; Irene Hirano Inouye; Diet Member Naokazu Takemoto; Congressman Takano; Diet Member Yukihisa Fujita

Click here to see JCIE’s album for more photos from the event.

DC Members Enjoy Spring Cocktail Reception

Irene Hirano Inouye (center) addresses the guests along with Regional Chair Edson Mori (right)

USJC hosted its Spring Cocktail Reception on May 3 at the office of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer. Thanks to the tireless work of Regional Chair Edson Mori, as well as Vice Chair of the USJC Board and Partner of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Susan Morita, the guests enjoyed a spectacular view of Washington, DC while catching up with each other. Attendees included a very nice mix of approximately 40 guests, including officials from the Embassy of Japan, staffers from Congress, Japan Commerce Association Board members, and Council Leaders and Associates. Quite a few new corporate representatives and members were present, making this a great opportunity to welcome new faces to Washington, DC and the USJC network.

Council Leader Mark Uyeda with Board Member Susan Morita, who graciously provided space for the reception

Japanese American Leader to Serve in Key Security Role

​On May 4, ​Gen. Paul Nakasone ​became​ Commander, U.S. Cyber Command and Director, National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service.​ ​He previously commanded ​the ​U.S. Army Cyber Command.​ His army assignments during his career has included the United States, the Republic of Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan.​ He is the cousin of USJC board member Norman Nakasone.​

​For more information, please see the NSA press release and his bio. A recent Washington Post article also touched upon issues that he will handle as the head of NSA. ​


Many thanks to the University of St. Thomas for the following article and photos!

Students from the University of St. Thomas and Fukushima University Visit Each Other on the TOMODACHI KAKEHASHI Inouye Scholars Program

UST students learned about daily life in Japan by spending two days with a host family

The University of St. Thomas (UST) in Houston, Texas and Fukushima University participated in the 2017-18 TOMODACHI KAKEHASHI Inouye Scholars program earlier this year. This was the second year the two universities partnered with each other. In addition to promoting friendships and student learning, the universities grew closer together to continue student exchanges in the future.

Fukushima University students visited UST in February. While on campus, the visitors received a full introduction to Texas culture and the City of Houston’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey last August. UST students in turn learned about Japan, Fukushima, and the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. The shared experiences of disaster and communities recovering together brought students from both countries closer. For lunch, students enjoyed Texas style barbeque, with plenty for second and third helpings. After a short rest, UST students taught the Fukushima students line dances that are popular in Texas.

UST students teaching line dances in Texas

UST students visited Fukushima in March. Lauryn Ferguson, an International Business major at UST, commented that “the friendship of the Fukushima University students is one that I will cherish for years to come. The students we encountered opened their hearts and their homes to us, by planning events and activities that displayed the beauty of Fukushima.” Together, the students planted cherry trees as a symbol of their friendship.

Another student stated that “One of the biggest eye-opening subjects I learned in Japan was the heartbreaking story of the earthquake in March 2011. Driving through the evacuation zones to get to Namie … [I saw] the extensive effort the Japanese government put in to re-stabilize and provide comfort to their people.” Recognizing that “the warm welcoming nature of the Japanese people are all rooted in the idea of putting their community’s concern before their own,” she said that she plans to do the same. UST students developed a better appreciation of their own community “blossoms” as a result.

Planting cherry trees together

The UST students remain in touch with their new Fukushima University friends and host families to further solidify relationships, sense of community, and sense of service to the bigger world around them.

Click here to see a short video that a UST student, Adrian Fonseca, made about the TOMODACHI KAKEHASHI Inouyue Scholars Program:


ELP News

The following article is part of a year-long series by participants of the 2017 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program (ELP).

Reflection from Kevin Otsuka (ELP ’17)

It’s been almost half a year since meeting my ELP class at the USJC Annual Conference last November. It feels like I’ve gained a whole new family. The opportunity to discuss Japanese American identity amidst other young leaders from the private and public sectors, and to hear, meet and learn from the current generation of USJC members has moved and inspired me throughout the months since then.

This year kicked off with my company, ABC Coffee Club, a coffee social enterprise in Japan, hosting the U40 Tokyo group at our cafe in February. It was a pleasure to share our space with this amazing group.

The U40 group in Tokyo at ABC Coffee Club

I was also humbled to be recognized by Forbes as 30 Under 30 for ABC Coffee Club’s work supporting people with intellectual disabilities in Japan. Most of that is really the tireless work of my co-founder, staff and partners.

I also decided to physically relocate back to Silicon Valley this year, and the amazing ELP community here has made it such a smooth transition. I enjoyed meeting and getting to know incredible California ELP alumni like Ellen Kamei, who always encourages me to leave the house while always inspiring me with her words of wisdom, and Jaden Risner, with his heroic rescue response stories and inspiring work starting Family Proud to support veterans. I would name everyone else I’ve met too, but I would hit my word limit.

With Sachi Siegelman (ELP ’16), Jaden Risner (ELP ’13) and Ellen Kamei (ELP ’15)

Finally, a highlight in March was helping to host Japanese university students who visited Silicon Valley after winning the TOMODACHI Social Entrepreneurship Award. TOMODACHI was the first USJC program I got connected to while living in Tokyo. It was a pleasure to see this come full circle, in both a metaphorical and geographical sense.

With TOMODACHI participants and USJC Associates in Silicon Valley

I look forward to an exciting future and hope to continue to grow and engage with the inspiring USJC and ELP community. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!

USJC Chicago Region Welcomes ELP Steering Committee

Many thanks to Associate Lauren Ohata (ELP ’14) for the following article and photos!

ELP alumni brainstorming their future goals

On April 28, the USJC Chicago Region hosted a pizza and panel session to welcome the ELP Steering Committee, who were in town for a planning retreat.

Organized by Stacy Uchida (ELP ‘14), the night kicked off with welcome remarks from Evelyn Tokuyama (ELP ‘15 and 2018 ELP Steering Committee Chair) and an overview of the Chicago community provided by Council Leader Bob Kumaki. Council Leader Marion Friebus-Flaman facilitated an engaging panel discussion on how generations can work together and make the most of cross-generational opportunities. We had robust discussions among panelists (Ellen Kamei (ELP ’15), Nate Gyotoku (ELP ’13), Council Leader Mike Tanimura and member of the Legacy Council Dayne Kono) and attendees alike. Attendees were reminded that we have much to learn from each generation, and that we are one community committed to the U.S.-Japan relationship (and after this gathering, Chicago deep dish pizza too).

ELP alumni enjoying Chicago

Following the warm Chicago welcome, the ELP Steering Committee spent the next two days having productive discussions, affirming the values of ELP alumni and our commitment to building a strong network of next generation Japanese Americans. We generated new ideas on how ELP alumni can be the bridge between the United States and Japan, and contribute to USJC’s efforts to strengthen our communities.

Many thanks to the USJC Chicago Region, Stacy Uchida, USJC staff and the ELP supporters who made the weekend possible. Our activities are possible because of you.

Chicago-based USJC members and ELP alumni


Staffing Update: Farewell from USJC Director of Partnerships & Development Akiko Otani

Dear Friends,

As some of you may know by now, I will be leaving the U.S.-Japan Council as its Director of Partnerships & Development to pursue a new opportunity as Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ first Director of Public Private Partnerships.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Irene and the Council for the opportunity to contribute to the important work the Council engages in. The very positive feedback I have heard from the participants of the recent Japan-Texas Economic Summit is a testament to how the Council continues to deliver unique, quality programs to further strengthen U.S.-Japan relations. I am honored and proud to have served alongside the many wonderful, dedicated members and friends of the Council.

Since joining the Council as a Council Leader in 2016, I have felt that I finally found a community to which I belong. I am most grateful for the strong support and friendship I have been so fortunate to receive from each and every one of you.

While I will be relocating from Washington, DC to Boston, I will remain committed to the mission and vision of the Council and look forward to continuing to support and contribute to the Council’s important activities via the U.S.-Japan Council’s New England region.



Member News

USJC Welcomes New Board Members

We are proud to welcome the following individuals to the USJC (US) Board of Councilors:

  • Ernest M. Higa
    Chairman, President & CEO, Higa Industries Co., Ltd.

  • Noriyuki Inoue
    Chairman of the Board, Daikin Industries, Ltd.

  • Tsuyoshi Nagano
    President and Group CEO, Tokio Marine Holdings, Inc.

  • His Excellency Kenichiro Sasae
    Former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the U.S.

We welcome the following individuals to the USJC (Japan) Board of Directors:

  • Royanne K. Doi
    Chief Compliance Officer, Prudential International Insurance, Prudential Financial, Inc. (Japan Representative Office)
  • Gary Moriwaki
    Partner, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP

We thank Ernest Higa, who completed his chairmanship on March 31.

We also welcome Merle Aiko Okawara, Chairman of JC Comsa Corporation, to the USJC (Japan) Board of Councilors. 

Bruce Hollywood Featured in The Washington Post


Council Leader Bruce Hollywood (JALD ’16) was featured in The Washington Post. In the article, he shares the story of how a chance meeting with Admiral Harry Harris (who was a keynote speaker at the 2014 USJC Annual Conference) led to him reuniting with his birth mother and finding his Japanese American identity. Mr. Hollywood also shared this touching story during Members Day at the 2017 USJC Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

Paul Terasaki Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame

​On May 3, the ​late Paul Terasaki (Member of the USJC Board of Councilors) was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) ​for his invention of Tissue Typing for Organ Transplants, the “Terasaki Tray.” ​Dr. Terasaki​, Chairman​ of the Terasaki Foundation,​ was​ one of USJC’s co-founders and​ ​earliest benefactors, and continued to​ ​give the Council generous support over​ ​the years. In 2014, USJC presented him​ ​with a Lifetime Achievement Award for​ ​his contributions to U.S.-Japan relations.

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)

Last year, 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.

The Japan America Society of Southern California’s 109th Anniversary Dinner & Gala

When: May 16, 2018
Where: The Queen Mary (Long Beach, CA)

USJC is proud to be an honoree of the Japan America Society of Southern California’s Kokusai Shimin Sho “International Citizens Award” at the 109th Anniversary Dinner & Gala Celebration. This award recognizes individuals, businesses or organizations who have significantly enhanced the U.S.-Japan relationship and are committed to strengthening bonds between the two nations.

For more information, please visit this page.

Paper Lanterns Film Screening

Where: Asian Art Museum (San Francisco, CA) and Community School of Music and Art (Mountain View, CA)

Paper Lanterns, a documentary film about Hiroshima, will be shown on May 24 and 25 in Northern California. Directed by Barry Frechette (who spoke at the 2016 Annual Conference in Silicon Valley) and produced by Council Leader Nobuko Saito Cleary, the film follows Shigeaki Mori, a Japanese historian and atomic bomb survivor, and his 35-year journey to find the families of 12 American POWs that perished during the Hiroshima bombing. Mr. and Mrs. Mori will travel from Japan to attend the film screenings.



 Director of Partnerships & Development (Washington, DC)

USJC’s DC office seeks a candidate who is committed to the goals of the organization and can bring experience in development and in building and maintaining effective partnerships with donors, sponsors and other stakeholders. The Director of Partnerships & Development would work closely with corporate and individual donors that have a vested interest in U.S.-Japan relations. We seek a candidate who will serve as a key member of the leadership team to develop mid- to long-term strategies in development and work closely with staff and board leadership in the implementation of development plans.

Click here for more information about the position.

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.

Click here for more information about the position.