Sessions and Program Descriptions

(Topics subject to change)

Global Leadership through Business Innovation and Integration

The 21st century presents a world of growing connectivity and more open borders, and gives companies numerous opportunities and challenges in becoming more competitive and globally-oriented. This panel will feature a group of senior business executives who share insights into how innovation has been a driver of successful global expansion. They will also discuss how the integration of Japanese and American business culture, markets and practices can be harnessed to strengthen global operations.


  • ModeratorMs. Kathy Matsui, Vice-Chair, Goldman Sachs Japan Co., Ltd.
  • Mr. Takeshi Niinami, President, CEO, and Representative Director, Suntory Holdings Limited
  • Mr. Paul Yonamine, Country General Manager and President, IBM Japan, Ltd.

The Japanese American Experience: From Internment to Leadership, A Seventy-Year Journey


  • ModeratorMs. Jan Yanehiro, President, Jan Yanehiro, Inc.
  • Featured SpeakerHon. Norman Y. Mineta, President & CEO, Mineta & Associates, LLC; Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation; Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Ms. Donna Fujimoto Cole, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cole Chemical & Distributing, Inc.
  • Mr. Ernest Higa, Chairman & CEO, Higa Industries Co., Ltd.
  • Mr. Masi Oka, Hollywood Actor, Producer and Entrepreneur

Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) Celebration

This session will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Japanese American Leadership Delegation program, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Thus far, it has brought 176 Japanese American delegates to Japan, to become acquainted or re-engaged with Japan in transformational ways. Supporters of the program will share their experiences with JALD, and a panel of program alumni will showcase the impact the program has had on U.S.-Japan relations.

  • Moderator: Ms. Aiko Doden, Senior Commentator for International Affairs, NHK; Senior Producer for “NEWSROOM Tokyo,” NHK World TV
  • Mr. Terry Hara, Deputy Chief, Los Angeles Police Department (Retired)
  • Dr. Emily Murase, Executive Director, San Francisco Department on the Status of Women
  • Dr. William Tsutsui, President, Hendrix College

Strengthening Regional Economies: A Dialogue among Governors

The USJC Governors’ Circle Initiative brings together governors from Japan and the United States to promote bilateral economic collaboration at the state-prefecture level. This panel will feature several of these Japanese governors, as well as a visiting U.S. governor, who will highlight economic challenges and commercial opportunities facing prefectural and state governments, discuss opportunities for regional economic integration between public and private sectors, and encourage innovative partnerships moving forward.


  • Moderator: Dr. Daniel Okimoto, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University
  • Hon. Shuichi Abe, Governor, Nagano Prefecture
  • Hon. David Y. Ige, Governor, State of Hawaii
  • Hon. Heita Kawakatsu, Governor, Shizuoka Prefecture
  • Hon. Hidehiko Yuzaki, Governor, Hiroshima Prefecture

The American Economy: Trends in the U.S. Investment Environment

Japanese companies have shown a renewed interest in the United States as an investment destination. This panel will bring together business leaders and economic analysts to explain why, forecast trends, and offer insights into the evolving and dynamic investment opportunities in the United States. This discussion will encourage new avenues for U.S. and Japanese investors to collaborate and benefit from the United States’ position as a strong, viable economic power for foreign investment.


  • ModeratorMr. Frederick H. Katayama, Anchor and Producer, Thomson Reuters
  • Mr. Daniel Fujii, President & CEO, Trust Capital Co., Ltd.
  • Mr. R. David Kelly, Chairman and CEO, Croesus and Company (USA)
  • Mr. Sreenivas Ramaswamy, Senior Fellow, McKinsey Global Institute
  • Mr. Masaaki Tanaka, Senior Advisor, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.

Successful Models for Political Leadership in U.S.-Japan Relations

Bringing together active political leaders from Japan and the United States, this panel will explore the future of political leadership in the relationship. Prominent elected officials will share their personal journeys, suggest ways to broaden political leaders’ engagement in the relationship, and offer advice on how to strengthen this pillar of U.S.-Japan connections. While focusing on elected leaders, the dialogue will also consider the role of an interested and engaged public.


  • Moderator:Mr. Colbert M. Matsumoto, Executive Chairman, Island Insurance Company, Ltd.
  • Hon. Michael B. Hancock, Mayor of Denver, Colorado
  • Hon. Yasuhide Nakayama, Former State Minister for Foreign Affairs; Member, House of Representatives, Japan
  • Hon. Ayaka Shiomura, Member, Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly
  • Hon. Glenn Wakai, Hawaii State Senator; Chair, Economic Development and Environment Committee

Silicon Valley & Japan: Building a ‘Kakehashi’ Bridge

This panel will feature a group of renowned entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and Japan, who will discuss what makes the Silicon Valley Way successful and what is needed to strengthen cooperation between Japan and Silicon Valley. The speakers will explore how to harness the tremendous potential of collaboration between diverse and dynamic innovators, funders and entrepreneurs across the Pacific, and provide insights into USJC’s Silicon-Valley Japan Project, which was launched in conjunction with Prime Minister Abe’s visit in April 2015.


  • Moderator: Mr. James Higa, Executive Director, Philanthropic Ventures Foundation & Mentor in Residence, Index Ventures
  • Amb. John V. Roos, Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan
  • Ms. Liz Wessel, Co-Founder & CEO, WayUp
  • Mr. Tadashi Yanai, Chairman, President and CEO of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd.

Next Steps for Women’s Leadership in Japan

Government and corporate experts will take stock of the progress made in Prime Minister Abe’s “Womenomics” policies, and offer concrete suggestions of how Japan can overcome hurdles to achieve its goal of advancing women’s leadership in the economy and society. The panel will also explore how companies can align with the “Womenomics” policies passed by the Diet in August 2015, assisted by collaboration among corporations, government and NPO leaders across the United States and Japan.


  • Moderator: Ms. Margot Carrington, Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy Tokyo
  • Mr. Takayuki Kawashima, Board Member, Fathering Japan (NPO) & President, Mitsui & Co., Logistics Partners Ltd.
  • Ms. Susan Morita, Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP
  • Ms. Merle Aiko Okawara, Chairman, JC Comsa Corp.
  • Mr. Yukihiro Otsuka, Deputy Director-General for Gender Equality Policy, Cabinet Office, Japan
  • Hon. Kelly R. Welsh, General Counsel, U.S. Department of Commerce

Philanthropy in the 21st Century

The 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 3/11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster have both transformed philanthropy. This panel will look at how approaches to philanthropy have evolved in the wake of these disruptive crises. Speakers from Japan and the United States will discuss various models of philanthropy, providing perspectives from both funders and non-profit organizations. What innovations have made an impact in recent years, and what ideas are there for the future of philanthropy?


  • Moderator: Mr. Todd Guild, Director Emeritus, Senior Advisor, McKinsey & Company, Inc.
  • Mr. Andy Anderson, Co-Chair, Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund
  • Ms. Junko Chano, Executive Director, Sasakawa Peace Foundation; President, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA
  • Mr. Yasuchika Hasegawa, Chairman of the Board, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd.
  • Mr. Tim Latimore, Country Executive for Japan, Bank of America Group

Strengthening U.S.-Japan Relations through Cultural Diplomacy

Bringing together prominent figures from sports, art and the movies, this panel showcases the role cultural leaders have played to strengthen U.S.-Japan relations. The panelists will share how their individual achievements have allowed them to serve as bridges between the United States and Japan, connect diverse people and communities through art and sports, and inspire others to find non-traditional ways to use their talents to advance U.S.-Japan relations.


  • Moderator: Ms. Susan H. Roos, Chief Administrative Officer, Geodesic Capital
  • Ms. Yoko Narahashi, President of United Performers’ Studio; Producer, Director, Casting Director, Lyricist
  • Mr. George Nishiyama, Managing Editor, The Wall Street Journal Japan
  • Mr. Hiroshi Senju, Artist
  • Mr. So Taguchi, Baseball Commentator

Shibuya Offsite Program: Immersion into Japan’s Start-Up Culture

This offsite excursion offers a visit to Tech Lab Paak Shibuya, which bills itself as a Confluence and Innovation Hub for IT Creators. Japanese entrepreneurs representing various stages of business formation will share their experiences and provide insights into the challenges and keys to success in Japan’s start-up culture, as well as potential for U.S. connections with Japan’s new businesses. IBM will also present information on its BlueHub Incubator as a key way to support start-up businesses in Japan. Participants must be prepared to depart the Cerulean for the excursion immediately following the luncheon program. We apologize that venue has limited accessibility.

Kyogen (Comic Theater)

Kyogen is a prayer to the gods for bountiful harvests, and has been passed down in Japan for over 650 years. The first performance, Sanbaso, is a ritual dance where the performer wears a mask and dances spectacularly to the music in a prayer for peace. In the second performance, Fukurou, the main character, whose younger brother falls ill, visits a mountain priest to seek treatment for his brother. Will the younger brother recover? We hope you enjoy the traditional Japanese performing art of kyogen.


  • Mr. Yoshinobu Shigeyama, President, Chuzaburo Kyogenkai

Networking & Information Session

Join us on the 39th floor for various networking and informational activities. This is a new conference feature based on requests for networking opportunities from attendees of past conferences. This space will offer participants the chance to connect with each other through structured or informal engagements, and share business, investment and other opportunities, all while enjoying the dramatic Shibuya skyline.

Tastes of Tokyo

Tokyo is arguably the culinary capital of the world, and we are pleased to offer a unique dining experience for this year’s Conference attendees.  “Tastes of Tokyo” dinners are being organized for small groups of 8 – 15 individuals in restaurants across the city on Tuesday evening, November 10 beginning at 7:00 pm.  There is nothing better to promote friendship and people-to-people exchange than sitting across a table and sharing a meal with a fellow USJC colleague. For more information and to register, please visit the event page.

This event will be filmed, videotaped, recorded, photographed and covered by the media. By attending this event, you are consenting to the taking and use, without compensation, of photographs, digital images, videotapes, audio recordings or quoted remarks of you in USJC’s website, news releases, promotional materials, social media and other media outlets. You are also consenting to the possible disclosure of your name and identity in the descriptive text or commentary in connection with the aforementioned uses, and acknowledge that all negatives, positives, prints, videotapes, audiorecordings and digital reproductions shall be the property of USJC.