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Japan PM visits one year later

The 2012 delegates with Prime Minister Noda and other guests. (Photo courtesy of Japanese American Leadership Delegation)


Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda welcomed the 2012 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) in a rare meeting between the country’s highest ranking government official and a select group of Japanese American leaders March 7.

Noda expressed his deep appreciation for the delegates’ contributions to U.S.-Japan relations, including their various assistances in the restoration and reconstruction of areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Prior to meeting with Noda, the delegation visited the Tohoku region where they toured the region with representatives from JEN, a Japanese NGO involved in the recovery efforts.

The delegates delivered hand-written messages of hope called “Genki Notes” from American children to Japanese still living in temporary housing during the tour.

They also participated in a symposium in Sendai titled “Empowering Civil Society for the Future of Japan,” sponsored by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership and the U.S.-Japan Council (USJC).

USJC President Irene Hirano Inouye has led each delegation since the program’s inception.

“Through its relief efforts, the Council found that the March 11th disasters served as a catalyst in the emergence and strengthening of the civil society sector of Japan,” Hirano Inouye said. “Many Japanese NPOs responded to a natural disaster in their home country for the first time and seek support from the government and business sectors going forward.”

Now in its 12th year, JALD provides an opportunity for Japanese American leaders to deepen their understanding of Japan by participating in intimate discussions with Japanese government, business and civil society leaders. The 2012 delegation met with Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, members of the Japanese parliament and business entities including Keidanren, Keizai Doyukai and Forum 21.

The 2012 delegation includes distinguished Japanese Americans from Hawaii, San Francisco, Seattle, Colorado, Chicago, Miami, Virginia, New York, Boston and Washington, DC.

The Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) is an official trip sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and co-organized by the U.S.-Japan Council, a non-profit organization led by Japanese Americans working to strengthen U.S.-Japan relations.

The U.S.-Japan Council’s latest initiative, TOMODACHI, is a public-private partnership that supports Japan’s recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake, and invests in the next generation of Japanese and Americans in ways that strengthen cultural and economic ties, and deepen the friendship between the United States and Japan over the long-term.

2012 Delegates:
Michael Bosack (Colorado Springs, CO)
Barbara Hibino (San Francisco, CA)
Shannon Hori (Miami, FL)
Neil Horikoshi (Washington, DC)
Janet Ikeda (Lexington, VA)
Mark Mitsui (Seattle, WA)
Susan J. Onuma (New York, NY)
Barry Taniguchi (Hilo, Hawaii)
Michael Tanimura(Chicago, IL)
Paul Watanabe (Boston, MA)

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