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Press Release (November 15, 2005)



With the goal of enhancing U.S.–Japan relations, the third international meeting was held in San Francisco on November 7, 2005, that brought together Japanese American leaders (primarily Sansei and Yonsei) from ten regions in the United States, nine Consuls General of Japan and representatives from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership. His Excellency Ryozo Kato, Ambassador of Japan to the United States and the Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, United States Senator, attended the meeting.

Ambassador Ryozo Kato opened the meeting by remarking, “The Japan-US relationship is at its best now and its alliance is stronger than ever before. However, efforts should be continued to further nurture the alliance. It is thanks to the forward thinking of Senator Inouye and other leaders from the Japanese-American communities that the first meeting was held in Los Angeles in 2003, which created new optimism and momentum. Almost three years from then, the momentum is still there and various programs and meetings have been held in various regions. It is our responsibility to tend to this relationship and see it flourish. Through the exchange of ideas that we are going to have today, I hope we can make a roadmap for the future.”

Senator Daniel Inouye commented, “I would describe the current chapter in our U.S.–Japan relationship as “Future: Brilliant or Dismal.” The relationship between Japan and the US is at the highest point since the era of Commodore Perry. It is up to us now to decide if we want to sit by and do nothing or do something to ensure the continued strong U.S.–Japan relationship. We should not miss this once–in–a–life time opportunity.”

The meeting provided a forum for Japanese American and Japanese leaders to discuss issues of mutual concern related to the long–term U.S.–Japan relationship as well as develop a plan of action to strengthen future ties between the United States and Japan through the greater involvement of Japanese Americans.

Following a general discussion on key issues, the meeting was organized into three sub–groups to develop recommendations in the areas of education, tourism and business. The meeting resulted in an action plan that would be implemented at the regional and national level that included:

  • Promoting communication and connections between Japanese American and Japanese leaders, especially younger leaders. This includes such steps as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Embassy, Consuls Genera of Japan and Japanese Americans will increase information sharing with each other on issues related to U.S.-Japan relations; reciprocal visits of Japanese American and Japanese leaders with counterparts will be encouraged when visiting Japan and the U.S.; and holding regular meetings between Japanese American and Japanese leaders at the regional level.

  • Expanding utilization of existing networks of Japanese American and Japanese leaders to involve other American and Japanese leaders. This would include participants coordinating and sharing information with organizations also supporting the strengthening of U.S.-Japan relations, e.g., Japan-America societies, sister city organizations, cultural and educational organizations and encouraging utilization of the "networks" of Japanese American and Japanese leaders to introduce other leaders in each respective country.

  • Increasing public awareness about Japanese American-Japanese initiatives to inform Japanese, Japanese Americans and other Americans about these initiatives. This would include such steps as encouraging each Consulate to provide information on Japanese American initiatives with a link to appropriate websites; and encouraging Consuls General to introduce Japanese journalists to Japanese American leaders in order to foster on-going communication with Japanese media stationed in the U.S.; and encourage Japanese American participants to provide Information and regular updates about Japanese American-Japanese initiatives to media in their region.

  • Expanding efforts to educate Americans and Japanese about each other. This would include increasing existing educational events as well as introducing new pop culture topics to the younger generation; expanding and increasing efforts to translate Japanese American materials into Japanese and Japanese material into English and collaboration to mutually plan and organize more programs and activities.

  • Promoting efforts to increase travel between the United States and Japan. This would include coordination with the Japanese government’s efforts to double foreign visitors
    to Japan by 2010 and developing “Furusato/Roots” tours among Japanese American communities.

  • Expanding business networks at the regional and national level. This would include each Consul General establishing a forum between local Japanese American and Japanese for a regional business network. Similar networks have been piloted in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.

The first meeting was held in Los Angeles in February 2003 at the Japanese American National Museum. At that meeting, Japanese American leaders and seven Consuls General representing Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle were in attendance. The second meeting, held in Washington, D.C. in January 2004, added representation from Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Houston to the original seven regions. The November 2005 meeting included the ten regions and was co-chaired by the Honorable Makoto Yamanaka, Consul General of Japan at San Francisco, Kaz Maniwa, San Francisco, Chair of the California Japanese American Community Leadership Council, and Irene Hirano, President and CEO of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japanese American National Museum provided organization and support for the meeting.

Another key program of this initiative is the Japanese American Leadership Delegation sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership. Five Japanese American delegations of Sansei/Yonsei leaders have traveled to Japan beginning in 2000, with the next delegation slated for 2006.

The meeting concluded with the consensus of the participants that specific steps to implement the action plan would be taken at the regional and national level as appropriate, and that the participants would be regularly informed of the status and progress of the plan by each of the respective regions.

The list of attendees


Calvin Manshio, Attorney at Law, Manshio Law Firm, President, Japanese Mutual Aid Society of Chicago

Thomas James Migaki, Manager, Department of General Services, City and County of Denver

Robert Ichikawa, Attorney at Law, Kobayashi, Sugita & Goda
Colbert Matsumoto, Chairman & CEO, Island Insurance Company, Board of Directors,
Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

Linda Toyota, Development Officer, Holocaust Museum, Houston

Irene Hirano, President/CEO, Japanese American National Museum
Thomas Iino, Deloitte Touche, Chair, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center
Henry Y. Ota, Attorney at Law, Chairman of the Japan Business Team, Reed Smith Crosby Heefy

Susan Onuma, Attorney, Kelly Drye and Warren, Chair, Japanese American Association of New York
Michael Oshima, Attorney, Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP

Sho Dozono, President & CEO, Azumano Travel, Board Nikkejinkai of Oregon, Former Chair,
Japan America Society of Oregon
Grant Yoshihara, General Manager, Consumer Services, Northwest Natural, Executive Committee, Japan America Society of Oregon, Portland, Oregon

Diane Matsuda, Executive Officer, California Cultural & Historical Endowment
Kaz Maniwa, Chair, California Japanese American Community Leadership Council,
Chair, Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California
Paul Osaki, Executive Director, Japanese Cultural Community Center of Northern California

Ron A. Mamiya, Judge, Municipal Court of Seattle, President, Nikkei Heritage Association of Washington, Seattle WA
Kip Tokuda, Director, Family & Services Division, Human Services Department, City of Seattle,
former State Representative, Washington State.

Hideki Hamamoto, President, CEO, HH Trans Pac, former President Raytheon/Japan
Janet Nuzum, Consultant, Former Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Congressman Cal Dooley


Ryozo Kato, Ambassador of Japan to the United States
Hiroshi Furusawa, Director, Japan Information and Culture Center
Go Muromoto, Third Secretary
John Tobe, Advisor

Yutaka Yoshizawa, Consul General, Chicago
Yuzo Ota, Consul General, Denver
Makoto Hinei, Deputy Consul General, Honolulu
Yoshihiko Kamo, Consul General, Houston
Yoshio Nomoto, Consul General, Los Angeles
Yuko Kaifu, Consul, Los Angeles
Jiro Okuyama, Director, Japan Information Center, New York
Akio Egawa, Consul General, Portland
Makoto Yamanaka, Consul General, San Francisco
Takashi Oda, Advisor for Community Affairs, San Francisco
Kazuo Tanaka, Consul General, Seattle

Tomohiko Taniguchi, Deputy Press Secretary
Takashi Okada, Director, Public Diplomacy Planning Division, Public Diplomacy Department
Hirofumi Murabayashi, Deputy Director, First North America Division

Hideya Taida, Executive Director, the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership
Vice President, the Japan Foundation
Keiko Morito, Officer, Intellectual Exchange Division, the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership


The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, United States Senate
(c) Consulate-General of Japan in New York
299 Park Avenue 18th Floor, New York, NY 10171
Tel: (212)371-8222