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Delegation of JA Leaders Meet with Prime Minister Abe

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addresses the 2018 Japanese American Leadership Delegation in Tokyo.

TOKYO – The 2018 Japanese American Leadership Delegation (JALD) met with Prime Minister Abe on March 5 to discuss issues pertinent to the U.S.-Japan bilateral relationship.

Abe welcomed the ten-member delegation and thanked U.S.-Japan Council (USJC) President Irene Hirano Inouye for demonstrating continued support for Japan. The prime minister also emphasized that this was the 150th anniversary since Japanese immigrants first arrived in Hawaii, and expressed his joy that this year’s delegates would visit Yamaguchi, his home prefecture.

The delegation thanked the prime minister for his support of U.S.-Japan relations and of Japanese Americans.

They also met with Foreign Minister Taro Kono, who has spent time with every JALD class since the program’s inception in 2000. This was the first time that he met with delegates as the foreign minister, but as in years past, he brought along parliamentarians and encouraged networking among Japanese and Japanese American leaders.

These meetings were a few of the highlights of the 2018 JALD program, which provides opportunities for Japanese Americans to establish a meaningful role in strengthening U.S.-Japan relations. Other leaders they met in Tokyo included:

– MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi;

– U.S. Ambassador to Japan William F. Hagerty;

– Ambassador Masaharu Kohno, special representative of the government of Japan for the Middle East and Europe and special envoy of the government of Japan for Middle East Peace;

– Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Yohei Kono;

– Representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), Forum 21, Japan Foundation CGP and Japan-U.S. Parliamentary Friendship League.

The Japanese American Leadership Delegation met with U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty.

In ​Yamaguchi Prefecture, the delegates participated in a symposium titled “The Japanese American Experience: Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the First Emigration​ ​from Japan to Hawaii,” co-sponsored by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP), ​USJC and the Yamaguchi International Exchange Association, ​with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs​.​ Over 1​20 individuals attended the symposium, which discussed the journey of Japanese Americans ​(including Gannenmono, the first immigrants), the role of Japanese Americans in​ contemporary America, and how to promote diversity and inclusion in both Japan and the U.S.​ ​

The ten participants of the program are active in their communities, engaged in U.S.-Japan relations and committed to deepening ties between Japanese Americans and Japan. JALD is sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and organized by the U.S.-Japan Council, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to building people-to-people relations between the U.S. and Japan. For more information, visit

All smiles as the delegates share a meal.

2018 Delegates

• Sheri Bryant (San Francisco), vice president, Strategic Business Development and Marketing, Linden Lab

• Darcy Endo-Omoto (Honolulu), vice president of government and community affairs, Hawaiian Electric Company

• Monica Okada Guzman (Mangilao, Guam), CEO and managing director, Galaide Group, LLC

• David Inoue (Washington, D.C.), executive director, Japanese American Citizens League

• Denise Moriguchi (Seattle), president and CEO, Uwajimaya, Inc.

• David Ono (Los Angeles), news anchor, KABC-TV

• Lisa Sakai (Chicago), president and CEO, TransAgra International Inc.

• June Taylor (Denver), executive director and state personnel director, Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration

• Chris Uehara (Portland), assistant chief, Portland Police Bureau

• Laurie Van Pelt (Waterford, Mich.), director of management and budget, Oakland County, Mich.

For more information about the 2018 delegates, visit

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