Japan Prime Minister Aso Meets with Japanese American Delegation
March 1 1, 2009
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso welcomed the Japanese American Leadership Delegation at his office on March 3, 2009. Prime Minister Aso, having just returned from travel to Washington DC where he met with U.S. President Barack Obama expressed to the delegation the importance of the U.S. and Japan alliance as a cornerstone of security for all of East Asia. He further expressed the unique role of Japanese Americans in strengthening Japan and U.S. relations.
The Japanese American Leadership Delegation program promotes the value of sustained people- to-people relationships as a critical factor in assuring the long-term success of U.S. - Japan relations. The delegation, arriving at Japan on Feb. 27th, was on a 10-day trip to Kyoto, Tokyo and Okinawa where they met with Japanese leaders from the Parliament, the Foreign Ministry, the U.S. Embassy, and business. Addition to the meeting with the Prime Minister, delegation members met with Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado, Yohei Kono, Speaker of the House of Representatives, leading Parliamentarians from the Upper and Lower House, and Hirokazu Nakaima, Governor of Okinawa. Three members of the delegation presented, "Building New Networks: An Era of Change in Japanese American and Japan Relations" at a Japanese American Leadership Symposium in Okinawa on March 5.
The thirteen-member 2009 delegation was comprised of individuals from diverse regions of the country including Northern and Southern California, Seattle, Portland, Honolulu, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Chicago, New York and Boston and are active Japanese American leaders in their communities. They represented a wide range of professional backgrounds including business, law, government, higher education, healthcare, film production and communications. The Japanese American Leadership Delegation, which began in 2000, is led by Irene Hirano, Executive Advisor to the Japanese American National Museum. The Japanese American Leadership Delegation is an official trip sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership in collaboration with the Japanese American National Museum.
From New York, Dr. Marianne R. M. Yoshioka was selected as this year’s delegate. She is an associate professor and dean of academic affairs at the Columbia University School of Social Work. Her grandparents immigrated to the west coast of Canada in 1915-1917. Dr. Yoshioka immigrated to the United States more than 20 years ago to pursue her professional career.
- Members of the 2009 Japanese American Leadership Delegation and their state of residence:
- Wendy Akemi Abe, Hawaii
- Dianne Fukami, California
- Michael H. Hirai, Hawaii
- Elaine, Ikoma Ko, Washington
- Robert W. Kumaki, Illinois
- Kenneth D. Miyagishima, New Mexico
- Debra Nakatomi, California
- Ted Tetsuya Namba, Arizona
- Patricia Akemi Neilson, Massachusetts
- Peter Sakai, Texas
- Edward Kiyoshi Shikada, California
- Kirk Hiroyuki Tambara, Washington
- Marianne R. M. Yoshioka, New York