U.S.-Japan Council Newsletter (September 27th, 2018)

Fifteenth Business Advisory Board Discusses the Future of Cryptocurrency

On September 11, the fifteenth U.S.-Japan Council Business Advisory Board (BAB) was held at the Tokyo American Club, welcoming Mike Kayamori, CEO and co-founder of QUOINE, as the featured speaker.

Mr. Kayamori (center) with USJC Board Members: (L-R) Scott Sato, Ernest Higa, Irene Hirano Inouye, Masaaki Tanaka, Kathy Matsui and Dennis Teranishi

The meeting began with welcome remarks from Scott Sato, Member of the USJC Board of Directors, and Masaaki Tanaka, Chairman of the Business Advisory Board. USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye offered updates on recent USJC activities, including the 2018 TOMODACHI Generation Summit in September, Japanese Heritage Day led by TOMODACHI Emerging Leaders Program alumni in August, and the upcoming 2018 USJC Annual Conference to be held in Tokyo in November.

Prior to the keynote speech, four honorable guests were given the opportunity to introduce themselves to their fellow BAB members. Shaun Lawson, Hidetsugu Nonaka, Eriko Talley and Koichiro Ue all stressed their close ties to both the United States and Japan and their desire to build even stronger relations between the two countries, underscoring the mission of USJC and BAB.

Council Leader Eriko Talley discusses her work in U.S.-Japan relations

Mr. Kayamori then introduced himself, explaining the inspiration behind his desire to make financial services available to all through cryptocurrency. When Mr. Kayamori was working in Southeast Asia, he realized that not many people had wallets, but everyone had smartphones, proving that digital currency was the future. He co-founded QUOINE in 2014 with Mario Gomez-Lozada. The company now has over 300 staff representing 28 nationalities, and in 2017, became the first global crypto FinTech company to be licensed by Japan. Most users are millennials who see cryptocurrency as the future.

Mr. Kayamori addressing the audience

Mr. Kayamori then elaborated on the concepts of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, explaining the significance of this emerging sector. Blockchain is a digital record of bitcoin transactions implemented as a chain of blocks created by bitcoin miners, generating a large distributive database that cannot be altered. For customers, cryptocurrency is convenient and secure. Mr. Kayamori believes that it can become a global currency, and is inspired by its social impact. He said that cryptocurrency needs to have greater scrutiny and regulation (there have been some hacking incidents), but remained very positive about its future overall.

Click here to see more photos from the 15th BAB event.


Japanese Mitsui Delegates Visit Boston and Washington, DC

Posing with a robot at Mass Robotics

The Japanese delegates of the 2018 TOMODACHI-Mitsui & Co. Leadership Program learned about innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership while visiting Boston and Washington, DC earlier this month.

In Boston, they visited the Massachusetts State House, where they met State Legislator Keiko Orrall (Council Leader) and members of the Asian American caucus to discuss leadership. They also visited Babson College, which is known for entrepreneurship education, through the support of alumnus Patrick Baird (Mitsui ’15 and USJC Associate); and Takeda Pharmaceuticals, meeting Director of Public-Private Partnerships Akiko Otani (Council Leader). Through visits to organizations that include the Barr Foundation, Mass Robotics, Greentown Labs and CIC (Cambridge Innovation Center), they learned about the strong culture of entrepreneurship in Boston. They also attended a reception that Consul General Rokuichiro Michii hosted at his residence, and met many USJC members in the Boston area.


Delegate Yui Hara introduces herself as Consul General Michii (right), and USJC supporters including (L-R) Donald Wong (AALD ’14), member of the Legacy Council Paul Niwa and Council Leader Eric Nakajima look on

In Washington, DC, they heard about security issues from USJC Board Member Dave Boone, learned about journalism from Council Leader Yuka Hayashi and Jay Sapsford of The Wall Street Journal, and took a tour of the Pentagon that was led by Council Leader Bruce Hollywood. ​Others they met included Jun Aketa, General Manager of Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A), Inc. in Washington, DC; Julie Chung, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Japan in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the State Department; and Sachiko Kuno, CEO & President of the S&R Foundation (through the support of Senior Program Director at S&R, Danielle Reed (Mitsui ’18)). They also met with officials from Congressman Joaquin Castro’s office, CSIS and FEMA.

Delegate Miki Sakata with Ms. Hayashi and Mr. Sapsford

During a breakfast with DC-based members, staff and alumni of the program, the delegates gushed about their trip. Kanako Ishikura (Operating Officer and Pasona Tohoku Sousei Inc.) who works on social entrepreneurship in Kamaishi, Iwate prefecture, shared how this trip has inspired her to innovate and collaborate further with others to create a better future. Yosuke Suzuki, staff at the Tourism and Convention Division of the Shizuoka Prefectural Government, said that his takeaway from both cities is that external cooperation is important for entrepreneurship and leadership, be it between innovators or between Japan and the United States. Katsunori Hosokawa (Deputy General Manager, Global Citizenship Department, Environmental/Social Contribution Division at Mitsui & Co.), who accompanied the delegates throughout their trip, said that leadership training like this program is impactful, since a good leader brings together and influences many others.

Carrie Kagawa (Mitsui ’16 and Associate; talking with Ms. Sakata) and Danielle Reed (center) were two of the many DC-based members and program alumni who attended the breakfast

Click here to see more photos from the breakfast.


The following article is part of a year-long series by participants of the 2018 Japanese American Leadership Delegation.

Reflection from Denise Moriguchi (JALD ’18)

I have traveled to Japan many times before—as a student, a tourist and a business person—but my visit as part of the Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) was an experience unlike any other. Not only did the visit give me a much better understanding of the challenges modern Japan faces and just how critical strong U.S.-Japan relations are to international stability, it also reinforced my interest in and commitment to strengthening people-to-people relations between the two countries through my work and community. I am very grateful to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S.-Japan Council, especially Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye, for providing me with this amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

With members of the Japanese Parliament and Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Kono (front row, third from left)

We began our trip in Tokyo, like many of my prior visits, but this time in addition to visiting famous sites like Meiji Shrine, Ginza and the Tsukiji fish market, I had the opportunity to sit down face-to-face with several key leaders in government and business who are helping to shape Japan’s future. My takeaway is that while Japan is a strong and mighty nation, partnerships and collaborative efforts on many levels with the United States will be mutually beneficial and critical to both countries’ continued growth.

(Left) With Forum 21; (Right) With Prime Minister Abe

We then traveled to beautiful Yamaguchi, which is not only the home prefecture of Prime Minister Abe, but a prefecture with a long history and connection to the United States, as one of the first to send emigrants to Hawaii 150 years ago. Learning more about the journeys and struggles of the first Japanese emigrants reminded me not only of my family’s emigration story, but of the courage and contributions immigrants from all countries have brought to the United States.

(Left) The delegates at the Museum of Emigration to Hawaii; (Right) The delegates at the Rurikou Temple in Yamaguchi City

While there were so many amazing aspects about the trip—the interactions with such fascinating and accomplished people, the sightseeing, the visit to the Hagi studio and drinking from a stunningly beautiful teacup created by a Hagi master, the delicious meals and the karaoke visits—the most special part of the trip was creating lifelong friendships with my fellow delegates. We may come from different cities with different pasts and experiences, but our trip together, as well as our shared commitment to give back to our community and serve as a bridge to strengthen U.S.-Japan relations, have bonded us forever.

(Left) The author (center) and fellow delegates making fishlips at the Tsukiji fish market; (Right) JALD farewell dinner

I am very thankful for my JALD experience and am so honored to become part of such an illustrious network that is the U.S.-Japan Council. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.


Register Now for the 2018 USJC Annual Conference in Tokyo!


U.S.-Japan Council 2018 Annual Conference
Partnering for Impact Today, Investing in a Sustainable Tomorrow
Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel, Tokyo, Japan
November 8-9, 2018

*Register now before rates increase on September 30!*

This year, USJC returns to Tokyo to discuss how the United States and Japan can build a sustainable future together, and strengthen philanthropy in Japan. The Conference will explore ways to collaborate towards mutual goals like supporting women leaders, and face common challenges like aging populations and security issues in Asia. We will also discuss regional ties among various cities in both countries, as well as the impact the midterm elections will have in the United States.

Featuring a Kabuki Performance by:

Kabuki Actor Ebizo Ichikawa

歌舞伎俳優 市川海老蔵

Speakers Include:

Yoichi Funabashi

Asia Pacific InitiativeSony Corporation

Keiko Ihara

Race Car DriverGeodesic Capital

Kanetsugu Mike

President & CEO,
MUFG Bank, Ltd.Board of Directors,
Toyota Motor

Takeshi Niinami

Suntory Holdings, Inc.Future Today

Other Speakers Include:

  • Laura Winthrop Abbot, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, U.S.-Japan Council
  • Toshio Arima, Chairman of the Board, Global Compact Japan Network
  • Xavier Briggs, Vice President, Inclusive Economies and Markets, Ford Foundation
  • Chris DeGroot, Vice President – International Sales, American Airlines
  • Martijn Dekker, VP of Strategy, Shell Oil Company
  • Makiko Eda, Chief Representative Officer, Japan, Member of the Executive Committee, Tokyo Office, World Economic Forum Tokyo
  • Peter Fitzgerald, President, Google Japan G.K.
  • Dianne Fukami, President, Bridge Media, Inc.; Director & Co-Producer, An American Story: Norman Mineta and His Legacy
  • Todd Guild, Senior Director, McKinsey & Company, Inc.
  • Fran Heller, Founder & CEO, Good2Go
  • Leona Hiraoka, President & CEO, Keiro
  • Ryuta Ibaragi, Governor of Okayama Prefecture, Japan
  • Yuuko Iizuka, General Manager, CSR Department, Sumitomo Forestry Co., Ltd.
  • Yuki Isogai, International Development, Sustainability Partner, PwC Japan
  • Katsuji Imata, Board Chair, CSO Network Japan; Vice Chairperson, Board of Directors, Japan NPO Center
  • Yuko Kaifu, President, JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles
  • Heita Kawakatsu, Governor of Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
  • Jesper Koll, CEO, WisdomTree Japan
  • Mari Kuraishi, Co-Founder & President, GlobalGiving
  • Peter Landers, Tokyo Bureau Chief, The Wall Street Journal
  • Kathy Matsui, Vice-Chair, Goldman Sachs Japan Co., Ltd.
  • Norman Mineta, President & CEO, Mineta & Associates, LLC; Former Secretary of Transportation, U.S. Department of Transportation; Former Secretary of Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Debra Nakatomi, President, Nakatomi & Associates, Inc.; Co-Producer, An American Story: Norman Mineta and His Legacy
  • Daniel Okimoto, Director-Emeritus, Shorenstein APARC; FSI Senior Fellow and Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stanford University
  • Alan Oshima, President & CEO, Hawaiian Electric
  • Lata Reddy, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Inclusion & Impact, Prudential Financial, Inc.; Chair and President, The Prudential Foundation
  • Yuka Tanimoto, Deputy Editor in Chief, Forbes JAPAN
  • Hidehiko Yuzaki, Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan

Networking Dinners:
This year’s conference will offer a limited number of optional small dinners and outings in the local Tokyo area. The key purpose for the dinners is to promote cross-cultural understanding and build connections among conference attendees through shared meals. Dinners will be scheduled on both Wednesday, November 7 and Friday, November 9. Click here for a full list of hosts, venues and descriptions and to sign up for a networking dinner! *You must be a registered conference attendee to participate.

Optional Offsite Trips:
This year’s conference agenda includes a limited number of optional offsite trips to a few destinations in the local Tokyo area and beyond. Signup is now available! Click here for a full list of destinations, trip leaders and descriptions of each offsite trip. *You must be a registered conference attendee to participate (with the exception of the WIT Tohoku Trip featured below).

Inside Tokyo2020
November 10, 2018


Are you interested in learning about and/or attending the Tokyo 2020 Olympics? The Tokyo 1964 Games completely transformed Japan. The 2020 Games are set out to be one of the most innovative in history. Join us on an intimate, insider pre-Games tour that will showcase the technologies, culture and preparation for the Games. Tour locations are currently being finalized. RSVP is limited to the first 25 people. Hosted by ZI—Zelek International, a travel company specializing in Japan.

WIT Tohoku Trip 2019: U.S.-Japan Collaboration for a Resilient Civil Society
November 10-12, 2018


Are you interested in making a difference and contributing to the U.S.-Japan relationship? In the Tohoku Trip hosted by WIT - World in Tohoku, a Japanese nonprofit - you can spend a weekend to meet with mission-driven entrepreneurs who are tackling social issues, and exchange ideas and resources to solve and overcome challenges. Join us to get inspired by how local communities and entrepreneurs have been transforming adversity into opportunity seven years after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Click here for more information and to sign up. Signup closes on October 7.

Supporting Those Affected by the Japan Floods


Japan recently experienced what is considered the worst weather disaster the country has faced in 36 years. The floods and landslides in western Japan in July led to severe damage, most notably in the Ehime, Hiroshima and Okayama Prefectures. Hundreds of people lost their lives, many suffered damages to their homes, and many more were left without water.

The U.S.-Japan Council (USJC) and our friends at other U.S.-Japan related organizations offer heartfelt thoughts to all who are affected. Many in the U.S. have strong ties to the Ehime, Hiroshima and Okayama communities through people-to-people programs and exchanges. Many Japanese Americans also have family ties or personal connections to the region.

USJC, the Japanese American Citizens League, the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC), the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i and the United States-Japan Foundation have established the Japan Flood Friendship Fund (JFFF) to aid those who are affected. 100% of the contributions will go to relief efforts through our network of nonprofit organizations that are working on the ground.

Thank you to those who have donated. Over the past seven years since the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, we have worked with a number of local nonprofits in Japan. Based on this experience and our research about their current activities in the flood-affected regions, we have selected three organizations to disburse these funds to: Civic Force, Japan Platform and Peace Boat. The fund will remain open, and we thank you again for considering a donation to JFFF.

Please consider donating through the form here. If you would prefer to pay by check, please make your check payable to the U.S.-Japan Council and mail to:

U.S.-Japan Council
Attn: Japan Flood Friendship Fund
1819 L Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036

If you have any inquiries or would like to partner with us, please write to [email protected] or call 202-223-6840.

Member News

Masa Tanaka becomes Head of Japan Investment Corporation

Congratulations to Vice Chair of the USJC Board of Councilors Masaaki Tanaka, who is now the President and CEO of Japan Investment Corporation (JIC). JIC is supervised by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and replaces the former Innovation Network Corporation of Japan. It will invest in new businesses and technologies including IoT and AI, and will also work with investors and companies to promote and encourage open innovation in Japan. Click here to learn more about JIC, which was just launched earlier this month; click here to read about the announcement of Mr. Tanaka’s appointment in July.

Upcoming Events

Four Future Scenarios for North Korea: What Are the Implications for the United States and Japan, and How Should We Respond?

When: October 16, 2018
Where: JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)

Join Dr. Narushige Michishita, Professor of International Studies, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), for a lecture on the potential future for North Korea. Dr. Michishita is a specialist in Japanese security and foreign policy as well as security issues on the Korean Peninsula. This event is presented by the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan, the Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles and JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, along with cooperating organizations Japan America Society of Southern California and USJC.

Click here for more information and to register.

Going Global: The Future of Auto Tech Opportunities for U.S.-Japan-Israel Cooperation


When: October 17, 2018
Where: Japan Society (New York, NY)

Co-organized by the American Jewish Committee (Asia Pacific Institute), The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and USJC, this panel discussion will focus on pioneer nations in auto tech: the United States, Japan and Israel. The expert speakers on the panel will address areas of trilateral cooperation, as well as major innovations that are sure to surface in the coming years. Admission is free but registration is required.

Click here for more information and to register.

“Product of Japan and Hawaii” with Paul Yonamine

When: October 24, 2018
Where: The Pacific Club (Honolulu, HI)

Join the Japan-America Society of Hawaii (JASH) for their Fall JASH Talk with Paul Yonamine (Chair of the USJC Board of Councilors). He will share stories of life growing up in Japan, his rise in corporate leadership to become the President and Country General Manager of IBM Japan, and his career promoting the globalization of Japanese corporate management and operations. Find out about Mr. Yonamine’s ties to Hawaii, and what Hawaii and Japan can mutually capitalize on with their very strong ties to each other.

Click here for more information and to register.

JWLI x TOMODACHI Disability Leadership Training Program
~Visions for an Inclusive Japan: Presentations by Japan’s Next Generation of Leaders~

When: October 30, 2018
Where: CIC (Cambridge, MA)

Fellows of the Japanese Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI) and participants of the TOMODACHI Disability Leadership Training Program in America will provide insight into some of the social issues Japan faces today, the lessons they’ve learned during their time in Boston, and the ways in which these advocates plan to take action when they return to Japan. Registration info will be posted soon on the JWLI Facebook page.


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.



 Membership Engagement & Regional Coordinator

The Membership Engagement & Regional Coordinator will have primary responsibility for the administrative and operational support of activities relating to the engagement of members, including membership and regional activities. Duties will include leading operational membership activities, database management, monthly reconciliation of membership and donor contributions, and supporting the Director of External Relations in the implementation of regional events and activities.

Click here for more information about the position.

Intern (Washington, DC)

The intern will provide support for Programs and Communications on a part-time or full-time basis. Duties will consist of program and event coordination and support, website/social media support, organization of and attendance at special events, outreach and communication, writing and translation (if able). This is an excellent internship for those hoping to gain experience in the programmatic, digital and strategic marketing and/or nonprofit fields. USJC’s internship program offers outstanding opportunities for college students, graduate students and graduates who are interested in U.S.-Japan relations.

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.