U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (September 19th, 2013)


Time is running out to register for the 2013 USJC Annual Conference! Registration closes on September 25th, and just a few days remain to finalize your attendance at our conference, held this October 3rd-4th in Washington, DC. Please take this opportunity to view our breakout panel topics, which cover civil society, government and business sector issues. We are proud to feature dozens of high-profile, knowledgeable speakers discussing their areas of expertise. Visit our Conference website to see more about the event and a full list of speakers!


Global Citizenship and Preparing our Youth for Tomorrow:

What does it mean to become a Global Citizen? What tools do we need to navigate this complex and shrinking world? We need to think about Global Education and provide our next generation with the appropriate tools and knowledge to lead: a global mindset, language skills, cultural sensitivity, moral character and leadership skills. In order to prepare our youth for this increasingly globalized, digitalized and more complex world, it requires certain skills and tools in order to thrive in this 21st century world. We will discuss these issues, how the U.S. and Japanese education systems are evolving in this globalized context and how the U.S.-Japan Council can support our next generation’s education.

Japan’s Civil Sector in Perspective:

Japan’s civil sector played an indispensable role in mobilizing a response to the 2011 Tohoku disaster. Civil society insiders hoped that as the Kobe earthquake jumpstarted volunteerism in Japan, the Tohoku disaster might trigger a professionalization and stronger fundraising capacity among NGOs in Japan. Two years later, where does the Japanese civil sector stand? Does Japan have the civil sector it needs? How does it compare to and what might it leverage from civil society in other nations? What are its particular challenges and opportunities? Considering these questions, this session will examine the historical and contemporary contexts and provide a comparative analysis.

The Changing Face of Communications: the Digital Revolution
1 out of every 7 minutes online is spent on Facebook, according to Mediabistro. Since Twitter’s launch, 170 billion tweets have moved markets and inspired revolutions. The world of communications is rapidly changing. The internet, social media, mobile computing and web technologies have dramatically changed how people interact, communicate and share information. This panel brings together expertise from the private, public and non-profit sectors to assess the impact of these trends, discuss the generational implications of new media and explore opportunities to reach the next generation of stakeholders in the U.S.-Japan relationship.

Corporate Executive Leadership & Mentoring:

This Session will feature a conversation among four successful corporate executives from top U.S. and Japanese companies operating in both the United States and Japan.  These women have succeeded in traditional companies and sectors, bringing diversity in gender, ethnicity and nationality to their workplace.  They will discuss their experiences reaching senior positions, especially the role of mentoring throughout their careers and in their current positions.  They will also share their views on being a mentor to the next generation of diverse corporate leaders.  The moderator will engage the audience to broaden the discussion, and identify useful tips for successful mentoring in the corporate workforce.

Japan’s Presence in DC:

As U.S.-Japan relations become more important than ever in the constantly changing landscape of international politics, the role and value of Japanese interests groups in America cannot be overlooked. However, the essential question then becomes: In the bustling political hub that is Washington D.C., how do Japanese individuals and organizations ensure that Japan’s interests are advanced?  What is necessary to keep up with the dynamic, evolving political game in the Beltway?  This session allows the audience to engage in a discussion that answers these questions, evaluates how Japan’s current activities compare to past efforts and those of other countries, and proposes new ways for Japan to navigate DC to the greatest effect.


Art and Imagination of the Short Term Visit:

This session will explore innovative and imaginative approaches to engaging American students through short term visit programs to Japan emphasizing academic and professional disciplines. The session presenters will highlight successful programs, providing insights about their programs from idea to implementation.  Following the presentations and Q&A, the audience is asked to join us in brainstorming innovative ideas beyond traditional approaches for expanding the use of education to strengthen U.S.-Japan relations.

TOMODACHI Leadership Development:

How the TOMODACHI Initiative is contributing to leadership development amongst the next generation.

Culinary Diplomacy: The (Universal) Language of Food:

All over the world, people feel connected to their native cuisines. From a bowl of clam chowder in Boston to a tray of takoyaki in Osaka, something as simple as food can hold deep social and cultural significance. This session takes a look at how sharing food across borders can serve to promote cross-cultural communication and understanding. Our panel of restaurateurs and food ambassadors will delve into the people-to-people connections they have created throughout the culinary industry in both the U.S. and Japan. They will focus on their stories about the successes and challenges of introducing cuisine between the two countries and their hopes for the future relations of the Japanese and American people.

Ventures and Collaboration in the Clean Energy & Technology (R)evolution:

Given the rapidly evolving policy and market context for clean energy and clean technologies, what are today’s (and tomorrow’s) opportunities for strengthening U.S.-Japan bilateral relations, as well as economic and energy interdependence? This breakout session directly supports the Conference theme of “Risk, Reward and Innovation” through presentation and discussion of progress to date and emerging focus areas at the convergence of energy policy, clean technology entrepreneurship and emerging leadership. The session will invite attendees to engage in the exploring new opportunities in Clean Energy/Clean Tech, and feature panelist perspectives as well as an interactive roundtable discussion.

U.S.-Japan Bilateral Issues – New Opportunities:

This past year has seen a number of positive developments that have created a growing optimism and excitement about the U.S.-Japan relationship. This session will look at how political, strategic, economic, trade and technology developments have created new opportunities in the relationship. The panelists are policy experts and business leaders who will offer insights into potential areas of growth and the steps needed to reach that potential to benefit both sides of the Pacific. Looking at financial markets, trade relations, security partnerships and technology cooperation in areas such as cyber security, the session will explore avenues for closer cooperation between the two countries.


  • Thursday, October 3rd (5:30 pm – 7:00 pm):  Opening Reception on Capitol Hill
  • Friday, October 4th (8:30 am – 7:00 pm):  Annual Conference and Closing Reception at the Capital Hilton



The 2013 TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program is a bicultural experience providing ten outstanding young leaders from the U.S. and Japan with unique access and opportunities to create a professional network among rising business and government leaders throughout the two countries. 

The American delegates traveled to Tokyo and Hiroshima earlier this summer (July 26th – August 3). Their week-long trip culminated with a dinner reception hosted by Deputy Chief of Mission Kurt Tong, which was attended by 100 guests that included Ambassador John V. Roos, the Japanese delegates and several USJC Members. 

The Japanese delegates traveled to Seattle and Washington, DC from September 8 to 16. In Seattle, they visited Boeing and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and met individuals like Ms. Kristina Hudson, Executive Director and Chip Hallet, Strategic Director of the Washington Interactive Network (WIN), an organization that promotes Seattle as a hub for interactive media. They also saw a game with the Mariners. 

In Washington, DC, they visited organizations that include the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and met people like Board of Councilors Member Glen S. Fukushima and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. They had breakfast with Irene Hirano Inouye and other USJC staff members, joined by 2012 JALD participant Mark Mitsui. They also participated in a joint reception with Japanese Diet members who were in Washington, DC for a visit hosted by USJC: Mr. Taro Kono, Mr. Keisuke Suzuki and Mr. Akihisa Nagashima (Mr. Seiji Kihara, who was not present at the reception, was also part of the visit). Executives of sponsor Mitsui & Co. showed their support, and a few of the American delegates who happened to be in DC also joined the breakfast and the reception, gushing about their positive experience with the program. 


On September 5, 2013, the Washington Center (TWC) and the U.S.-Japan Research Institute (USJI) hosted the launch reception for “Building the TOMODACHI Generation,” an educational exchange program between Japanese and American university students on the potential of civil society and social problem solving. The reception was held at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. and had over 200 esteemed guests from across all sectors in attendance, including The Honorable Kenichiro Sasae, Japanese Ambassador to the United States, and representatives from corporate sponsors including Toyota Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Hitachi, Ltd. and Morgan Stanley.

For more info about these TOMODACHI programs and others, visit the TOMODACHI website and be sure to check out September’s Update from Team TOMODACHI.



Applications for the Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) program will be accepted until September 30, 2013! JALD 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. Upon their return, delegates collaborate with program alumni, local consulates, the U.S.-Japan Council and local and national community organizations to continue strengthening ties between the U.S. and Japan.

Since the program began in 2000, a total of 156 delegates have participated. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), represented in the United States by the Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C. and seventeen consulate general offices, is the sponsor of JALD. The U.S.-Japan Council provides administration and organization for the program.

Click here to download an application.

Visit the USJC web site for more information on JALD.


On September 25, USJC and Asia Society Texas Center will host “The U.S.-Japan Relationship in Energy Security and Policy,” a discussion with Mr. Jeffrey Miller, Energy Attaché at the United States Embassy in Tokyo, Japan and Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Japan Office. Mr. Miller’s primary responsibility is to sustain and enhance the bilateral and multilateral energy, policy, security, science and environmental programs and common interests between our two countries.

For more information and to register, visit the Asia Society Texas Center online here.


After nearly 30 years, new audiences in California are able to attend screenings of a film profiling the first generation of Japanese Americans in California. ISSEI: THE FIRST GENERATION is a documentary film about the Japanese who, at the turn of the century, immigrated to the West Coast of the United States. These pioneering men and women tell their own stories of struggles and triumphs in a new land.

  • Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, 2:30 pm
    Walnut Grove Buddhist Temple, Walnut Grove, CA
  • Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013
    New People Cinema, Japan Town, San Francisco, CA
    (Showtime to be announced)
  • Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014
    Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, CA
    (Showtime to be announced)
  • (54 minutes, Color, Japanese with English Subtitles and Narration, 1984)
    Free Admission



“I saw the power of public-private partnerships to leverage involvement and results, and, if confirmed, I look forward to building upon those experiences to strengthen the ties between young people in Japan and the United States.”

Ms. Caroline Kennedy, nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Japan, during confirmation hearings in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.