U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (September 17th, 2015)

Council Member Dr. Susumu “Sus” Ito Captivates Audience at AJC-USJC Reception

On September 9, the American Jewish Committee Asia Pacific Institute and the U.S.-Japan Council jointly held a private reception at the Manhattan home of AJC President Stanley Bergman and Dr. Marion Bergman. The reception featured Dr. Susumu “Sus” Ito, a 442nd Regimental Combat Team veteran who was a Second Lieutenant of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion (FAB) (U.S.).

Dr. Ito shares stories of his youth

The 522nd FAB, composed entirely of Japanese Americans, was part of the U.S. forces that discovered and liberated the Dachau concentration camp system from the Nazis during World War II, freeing thousands of Jewish survivors.Dr. Ito, who is 96 years old, is a member of USJC and a professor emeritus of Harvard Medical School. During the event, he shared many of the thousands of photographs he took during the war. His story captivated the audience of over forty leaders of Japanese American, Japanese and Jewish American communities in New York City, including the Consulate-General of Japan in New York.

(L-R) Board Member Gary Moriwaki, Director of the AJC Asia Pacific Institute Shira Loewenberg, AJC Executive Director Dr. Marion Bergman, AJC President Stanley Bergman, Dr. Ito, and USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye

The following afternoon, USJC convened a luncheon with a few Council Members and friends, where Dr. Ito expanded on his stories and personally engaged with those who were present. The reception and the luncheon reflect USJC’s commitment to strengthen the diversity of leaders involved in the U.S.-Japan relationship.

(L-R) Ms. Hirano Inouye; Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, Consul General of Japan in New York; Dr. Ito; and Council Member Julie Azuma reflect during the luncheonTo learn more about Dr. Ito, see this Los Angeles Times article and this CNN article. His photos were recently exhibited at the Japanese American National Museum.


TOMODACHI Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program participants visit Washington, DC

Friend of the Council Peter Kelly (left) exchanging business cards with Ms. Rika Yoshikawa, Social Relationship Manager at Mitsui & Co. (right),while USJC Development Director Georgette Furukawa-Martinez looks on

On September 17, USJC Members, TOMODACHI sponsor company representatives, special guests and USJC staff welcomed the Japanese delegates of the TOMODACHI Mitsui & Co. Leadership program to Washington, DC. The breakfast featured remarks by a Mitsui & Co. Tokyo office representative and Director of the Office of Japanese Affairs and the U.S. Department of State, Joseph Young. Each of the delegates spoke about their impressions and experience on the program so far. After a visit to Detroit, where they met leaders involved in the revitalization of the city, the delegates were excited to share their experience with their professional and personal communities.

(L-R) USJC Senior Vice President Kaz Maniwa with program delegate Shina Miyagi, Hitachi Ltd. representative (and 2015 TOMODACHI Emerging Leader) Rei Tsuchiya and DC Staff Member Sonoko Plummer

Sumitomo Corporation Visits USJC in Tokyo

On September 16, staff members of the Sumitomo Corporation New York office visited the USJC Tokyo office. This included Council Member Jewelle Yamada (back row, right), as well as others who work on the TOMODACHI Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship Program. Yukako Hirakawa (front row, left), an alumna of the program and current USJC intern, greeted them with other USJC staff, and joined a dinner hosted by Sumitomo for alumni of the program.



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

Reflection from Stacy Uchida (ELP 2014)

As a fourth-generation Japanese and Chinese American in my mid 20’s, I became curious about my identity and family history. I began asking more questions of my grandfather, who shared stories from his time in internment camp (both of my grandparents were incarcerated), his army days in Korea and what life was like resettling in Chicago. Around the same time, my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s disease accelerated, making these memories ever more precious.

Grandpa’s stories inspired me to give back. With the help of a few remarkable partners, we created JASC Connect, an arm of the Japanese American Service Committee, whose mission is to connect younger generations to the Japanese American community in Chicago. One of the many programs in the works is StoryShare, a cooperative program with StoryCorps that captures stories and preserves the recordings in JASC’s Legacy Center historical archive. You might even hear one of these stories on NPR.

The author receiving the Illinois State Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger’s leadership award during the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebration at the James R. Thompson Center (May 11, 2015)

My volunteerism was met with overwhelming support from four Chicago USJC members, who championed my candidacy for ELP. When I arrived in Hawaii for the Annual Conference, I was blown away by the devotion, generosity, professionalism and energy of USJC sponsors, members, ELP alums and staff. I also had the privilege of serving on this year’s ELP selection committee. USJC has strengthened one of my core beliefs in the power of connecting people.

Born and raised in Chicago, I naturally dedicated my volunteer time at the local community level, but USJC has shown me boundless global opportunities. I had never thought enough about pertinent topics such as national security in the Pacific and the economy of Japan, which hinge on a peaceful and thriving U.S.-Japan relationship. Connecting the dots from local to global helped me better understand what can be incorporated here in Chicago to facilitate positive change.

This year, Chicago hosted its inaugural USJC Culinary Diplomacy Event. We are also in the midst of USJC’s three-part Womenomics in the City that Works networking series funded by the Embassy of Japan. So far, Chicago’s women leaders have explored how Japanese businesses in the United States respond to Abe’s womenomics initiative; how to create mentorship opportunities for women; and how to bridge and share experiences between women in Japan and the United States.

Part I of the Womenomics in the City that Works networking series at historic Kamehachi, co-hosted with fellow USJC Member Marion Friebus-Flaman (August 4, 2015)

I would coin myself the “rookie” among the 2014 Emerging Leaders. I was the only class member who has never set foot in Japan and could not speak the language. Because of this, I have learned ways to engage by leaps and bounds. I cannot wait to continue the journey and hear great stories from all of you on my first trip to Japan for the Annual Conference in November.

The 2015 ELP Class has been chosen! Full biographies of 2015 TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders are now online! Click here for more information!


Apply Today for the 2016 JALD!

The Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program provides the opportunity for a select group of Japanese American leaders from across the U.S. to travel to Japan to engage with Japanese leaders in the business, government, academic, non-profit and cultural sectors. The trip also allows Japanese leaders to gain a greater understanding of multi-cultural America through the experiences of a diverse group of Japanese Americans. Upon their return, delegates collaborate with program alumni, the local consulates, the U.S.-Japan Council and local and national community organizations to continue strengthening ties between the U.S. and Japan.

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), represented in the U.S. by the Embassy of Japan in Washington, DC and 16 consulate general offices, sponsors the program. The U.S.-Japan Council provides administration and organization for the program. JALD began in 2000 and 176 delegates have participated to date.

Apply today! The deadline is tomorrow September 18, 2015.

  • For more information about the program and eligibility criteria, please read the fact sheet.
  • To apply, please download the instructions and form.
  • A list of the Embassy and Consulates of Japan is available here.

For more information, please contact:
Mr. Kaz Maniwa: [email protected](415) 230-0886
Ms. Allison Murata: [email protected](310) 500-2873

Upcoming Events

September 19 & 20 – ICU President visits Los Angeles

  • Date & Time:
    September 19, 2015 at 5:30pm – 8:00pm
    September 20, 2015 at 1:00pm – 3:00pm
  • Venue:
    (September 19) Japanese American National Museum
    (September 20) Doubletree by Hilton in Little Tokyo

Courtesy of the Japan ICU Foundation:

Dr. Junko Hibiya, President of the International Christian University (ICU), will be in Los Angeles this month for a special program visit. She will give a dinner speech at the JANM (with a special Taiko drumming performance) on September 19 and then host an ICU Information session at the Doubletree By Hilton in Little Tokyo on September 20.

For more information, please click here. Please RSVP to: [email protected].

September 26 & 27 – Japan Fair 2015 (Los Angeles)

  • Date & Time: September 26 (10am – 8pm) and 27 (10am – 5pm), 2015
  • Venue: 244 S. San Pedro St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Come attend the Japan Fair in Los Angeles! Held on September 26 and 27, this event will host a variety of entertainment, food and activities. The entertainment schedule includes everything from J-Pop to ukulele performances and kimono fashion shows. Food will be provided by global and local vendors including traditional Japanese festival food and drinks, like okonomiyaki, ramen and sake. The Fair will also include a film festival with five different movies.

USJC is proud to support this celebration of Japanese culture. To learn more about the festival, please visit its website. To purchase tickets to the festival or the movies, please visit this page.

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.


October 1 – Northern California Culinary Diplomacy Event (San Francisco)

  • Date & Time: October 1, 2015 at 6:30pm – 9:30pm
  • Venue: Private Residence in Pacific Heights

Please join USJC Members from Northern California for a Culinary Diplomacy Event showcasing the culinary flavors of Tohoku. Proceeds from the event will benefit the continuing recovery efforts in Japan.

The event will also feature a raffle of Kenzo wines and top sake from the Tohoku area. Proceeds from the raffle will be used to benefit organizations involved in the rebuilding of Tohoku. USJC appreciates the Consulate-General of Japan in San Francisco for their strong support, as well as sponsors of this event!

To learn more and to register, click here.