U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (November 10, 2016)

2016 USJC Annual Conference

See you in Silicon Valley next week!

USJC members and USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye spoke with Robert Handa on NBC Bay Area’s “Asian Pacific America” to discuss this year’s Annual Conference. They touched upon the many topics leaders will discuss at the Conference, including women’s leadership, Japanese American millennials and U.S.-Japan relations. Click on the photos below to watch the interviews!

Irene Hirano Inouye and member of the Board of Councilors Dr. Daniel Okimoto (Co-Chair of the Silicon Valley Japan platform and Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Stanford University) talked about the connection between Silicon Valley and Japan and the opportunity the Annual Conference provides to create connections and showcase Japanese American leadership.


USJC Associate Mana Nakagawa (Women’s Diversity Program Manager for Facebook) and Council Leader Atsuko Jenks (Managing Partner at Global Vision Partners) discussed code switching, overcoming biases and finding mentors through USJC, and how this helps advance Japanese women in leadership in Silicon Valley.


USJC Associate Kyle Oura (Board Member for Kimochi Senior Center) and Jenna Zimmerman (Founder and Executive Producer at The Reiko Lab) talked about ways in which Japanese American millennials can contribute to people-to-people connections, building communities, swaying ideas and becoming leaders. This topic will also be explored during the “Building Bridges — Not Barriers” workshop during the Conference.


For more information about speakers, topics and activities, check out the USJC Annual Conference webpage. We hope to see you in Santa Clara next week!

Imagine. Innovate. Inspire. – The Silicon Valley Experience

The 2016 Annual Conference will be held in Silicon Valley—the center of high-tech startups and development—from November 14 to 15, 2016 (in addition, USJC members will have the opportunity to participate in a special Members Day program prior to the Conference on November 13). With over 60 speakers across both days, the Conference will be attended by hundreds of distinguished American and Japanese leaders from all sectors, and will be an opportunity to advance an innovative agenda in U.S.-Japan relations, exchange views about challenges and opportunities, and identify ways that the U.S.-Japan relationship can be strengthened.

Recent Events

Japan Women’s Innovative Network (J-WIN) New York Study Tour

Council Leaders Julie Azuma, Patricia Kozu, and Yoko Otani (Seated center; L-R) with J-WIN New York Study Tour participants

On November 1st, Council Leaders Julie Azuma, Patricia Kozu and Yoko Otani served as panelists during the 2016 J-WIN New York Study Tour, speaking to approximately 120 Japanese women about leadership. They explained their respective career trajectories, highlighting their search for work-life balance and strong mentorships. They also discussed how they built upon their personal hobbies and interests to develop skills they could use for career advancement, and showcased the strength and tenacity of Japanese American women.

Regional Women in Leadership Events Continue in the Pacific Northwest

USJC members in Oakland, CA and Seattle, WA hosted the most recent events in our Regional Women in Leadership Series, a program supported by the Embassy of Japan.

On November 4th, USJC Associate Dana Heatherton and Council Leader Susan Muranishi brought together members of the community and discussed leadership among millennial women. They explored the similarities and differences between millennial women in Japan and the United States, and brainstormed ways to address the challenges that these women face.

(L-R) Lori Matsukawa; the Honorable Marilyn Strickland, Mayor of the City of Tacoma; Scilla Andreen; Rita Brogran; Noel Schulz; Phyllis Campbell

Additionally, on November 7th, USJC, in partnership with the Seattle Trade Development Alliance, hosted over 100 individuals at a panel discussion featuring Board Member Phyllis Campbell, Council Leaders Rita Brogan and Lori Matsukawa, as well as Noel Schulz and Scilla Andreen. A number of topics surfaced during their discussion, including the role of women as entrepreneurs and patent holders in the new “innovation economy.” Members of the audience included the Honorable Marilyn Strickland, Mayor of the City of Tacoma, as well as Consul General Masahiro Omura.


Staffing update: New Executive Director of U.S.-Japan Council (Japan)

Junko Tsuda has joined us as the Executive Director of U.S.-Japan Council (Japan), working out of the Tokyo office. Prior to joining USJC, Ms. Tsuda worked for the Public Resources Foundation, where she was responsible for fundraising and communications since 2015. Prior to her nonprofit work, Ms. Tsuda performed communications and HR functions at international companies in Japan that included Walt Disney Co., Cartier Japan and Hilton International. She also led initiatives on women’s career advancement at GE and ING Life Insurance. Ms. Tsuda volunteered for the Tohoku reconstruction and supported social entrepreneurs after the Great East Japan Earthquake. She is a 2015 Alum of the Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI). Ms. Tsuda was born and raised in Hiroshima, and received a BA in International Studies at Tsuda College.

Member News

Laura Winthrop Abbot featured in the Other Side of Service


Former USJC Senior Vice President Laura Winthrop Abbot was featured in a series of videos by The Other Side of Service, a nonprofit for military spouses. Just six weeks after she relocated to Japan with her military spouse, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. Click here or on the photo above to hear Laura talk about her involvement with recovery efforts in the Tohoku region and the TOMODACHI Initiative.

Upcoming Events

Japanese Hidden Gems Technology Pitching & Networking Event

When: November 16, 2016, 2-6pm
Where: Plug and Play Tech Center (440 North Wolfe Road Sunnyvale, CA 94085)

At this free networking event, Silicon Valley-based companies will have the opportunity to identify and collaborate with cutting-edge technologies in Japan. Twenty-five companies from five Japanese prefectures will participate and pitch their products in five segments: ICT, healthcare, automotive, manufacturing and consumer service. Companies interested in collaborating with Japanese “hidden gems” technologies in the U.S. or expanding abroad through strategic partnerships are encouraged to attend. This event is organized by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in conjunction with Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Oita, Okayama and Shizuoka prefectures. Click here to register or to learn more.

Amending America — Immigration: Barriers and Access


When: November 19, 2016 at 10am to 4pm
Where: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, CA)

On November 19th, the National Archives and Records Administration will present a National Conversation on Rights and Justice titled “Amending America — Immigration: Barriers and Access” in partnership with the Japanese American National Museum. Irene Hirano Inouye will be moderating a discussion and delivering remarks. The event will run from 10:00am to 4:00pm. For those who are unable to attend but would like to participate, there will be a livestream available. For additional information and to register please refer to the official event page.

George Takei’s Allegiance on the Big Screen


When: December 13, 2016 at 7:30pm
Where: Select Movie Theaters

More than 600 theaters nationwide will show the cinematic version of Allegiance, created by Member of the USJC Board of Councilors George Takei, on Tuesday, December 13th. It will be shown for one night only, at 7:30 p.m. local time. The film will include an introduction from Mr. Takei, as well as behind-the-scenes footage and taped interviews with the cast and creators. Allegiance is a musical inspired by Mr. Takei’s own experience, and tells the story of a family upended by the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. Tickets can be purchased at allegiancemusical.com/movie or at participating theater box offices (theaters and participants are subject to change).